Ineffable Power

At times I feel like I’m preaching to the choir when I write these blog posts about Rockbrook. I believe many of the people reading already know that there’s something special about camp, that the girls love it and look forward to it all year long. They already know about the priceless benefits of camp for the children lucky enough to experience it. For something that’s been around this long— more than 100 years! —there must be a power at work. But for the benefit of our new friends, let me preach a minute.

summer camp cheering kids

Today, as we opened our second session, this ineffable power appeared again. We could see it on the faces of arriving campers when they popped their heads through the open sunroof of their car. It was bubbling up when campers squirmed in the backseat, antsy to get out of the car and get started. It almost threw off sparks when two camp friends screamed and ran toward each other to hug after being apart since last summer. More subtly, new campers could sense this special power when they met their smiling counselor and immediately felt included in the cabin group. It took very little time for everyone to zip off with a group of friends, eager to catch up and begin exploring the camp.

This power springs from one thing really; it comes from the people at camp. It’s not the fun activities, the adventure trips, the amazing food, or the beautiful camp setting that creates all these feelings. No, camp boils down to the people, to the friendships and positive relationships that are fostered here, and to the Rockbrook philosophy guiding them. Many of the older campers realize this. We could change almost everything else about camp, and as long as our friends were with us, it would still be magical. They will tell you; what they most look forward to about camp is being with their friends.

using a camp chair as shelter from the rain

The first all-camp event provided even more proof of this. We gathered under the big walnut tree on the hill for a quick assembly. As we met some of the key people at camp, learned and sang a few camp songs, and were welcomed to Rockbrook by Sarah, the group seemed surprisingly comfortable and excited at the same time. They were quick to clap and cheer, to jump up and sing louder when their line song began. This session seems to already have that special enthusiasm for camp. And wow! It’s only getting started and is bound to get stronger.

The rest of the day was filled with a yummy homemade mac-n-cheese lunch, swimming demonstrations, name games, camp tours, activity skits, cabin meetings, and selecting activity schedules. It was a good full day. Tomorrow, we’ll launch into all the activities, get out of camp for some adventure trips, clap and sing over delicious scratch-made meals, and continue building the friendships that define this unique community.

It really is true: “There’s a power to camp.” We’re all very excited to dig in and show you what that means!

summer camp swimming girls

As Close as Possible

As we go about our days here at Rockbrook, having a blast with all the dress-up shenanigans, singing everyday multiple times, and finding ourselves laughing and smiling more than ever, it’s easy to forget the deep emotional undercurrent that fuels all this excitement. Spend a little time here, among these great girls, and you’ll soon sense there’s something special brewing, something much deeper and meaningful than the fun you see in the photo gallery. I believe it can all be traced to the power of kindness, caring, and generosity that defines our camp community. These positive vibes are what we mean by the “Spirit of Rockbrook.” They are a force that takes hold, brings us closer together, and makes life at camp the haven we all love.

summer camp buddies together
binded summer camp friends

This became especially clear tonight during our closing “Spirit Fire” campfire, the ceremony that’s closed every camp session at Rockbrook since its first in 1921. Dressed in our red and white uniforms, we gathered inside the Hillside Lodge instead of outside in the drizzly weather. We were able to all squeeze inside in front of the massive stone fireplace and its blazing fire, with the girls arm and arm, heads on shoulders, all as close as humanly possible.

The program alternated between singing traditional songs like “In the Heart of a Wooded Mountain,” and individuals standing to reflect aloud on their experience over the session. They poured their hearts out, talking about the friendships they’ve made and the newfound confidence they’ve discovered during their time at camp. One senior-aged camper described Rockbrook as the only place where she’s felt so much love from everyone around her. With emotion in her voice, soon many of us found ourselves choked up and in tears. The speeches all marveled at how good it feels to be at camp, how everyone here is kind and supportive, how you can be your true self without fear of being judged, and how friends made at camp are special.

Tears and softly checked crying became contagious as we thought about our camp days this summer ending and we realized we would soon have to say goodbye. This was our last night together.

camp candle ceremony

Sarah spoke last and expressed her hope that we would recall our time at camp throughout the coming year, that we could find ways to live the “Spirit of Rockbrook” at home— to be a little more kind, more brave, more silly, and an easy friend to those around us. She said she was proud of everyone and how much they’ve grown in the short time together at camp.

The program ends with everyone sharing part of the Spirit Fire by lighting a small white candle. Sarah and the other directors first light their candle from the fire, and then pass it along to each camper’s and staff member’s candle. Ordinarily, everyone would circle the lake, but tonight the rain led us to make a circle of candlelight on the hill. With a little drizzle still falling, we sang a final song before heading to our cabins for the night.

The whole evening was a beautiful celebration of the session, and the joy we felt being here at camp together. Everyone has grown a little and we hope has deepened their Rockbrook Spirit. I think you’ll see it in your girls, and you’ll be proud too.

summer camp closing ceremony

A Knight to Remember

It’s the night I’d say everyone at camp looks forward to. It’s the kind of once-in-a-lifetime event that can’t be recreated and is remembered by some for the rest of their lives. It’s a community celebration, a culmination of detailed plans, and a recognition of the many friendships formed over the course of the session. It’s banquet night, the unveiling of the surprise party and themed dinner presented by our 9th grade “CA” campers.

This session’s banquet theme gathered Renaissance characters and scenes transforming the dining hall into a fairyland of woodland folk, royalty, and city folk. The girls went all out decorating every inch of the walls in the dining hall with painted scenes. They strung ivy and small lights overhead in the rafters, along with streamers and stars. They arranged the dining hall to make a wide open dance floor in the center where they could perform skits and choreographed dances.

girl surprised by camp party

One of the most exciting moments comes when the campers enter the dining hall and first see the CA girls dressed in their costumes. With fun, upbeat music playing, the counselors enter first, followed by the campers from oldest to youngest. The CA girls create two cheering lines and welcome everyone to the banquet in character. Unveiling the surprise, the costumed characters, plus the elaborate decorations filling the dining hall, makes for an amazing entrance. Everyone smiles, and can’t believe their eyes. Especially for the youngest girls, it’s a wonder-ful thrill to be met like this. And with a theme like this, it was truly magical.

In the banquet we found a King and Queen, crowned and robed. Dressed in long gowns, there were seven princesses, complete with tiaras and glitter. Woodland nymphs with pointed ears and flower headbands, plus four colorful fairies roamed about. There was a Satyr with horns too. From the town we met a jester, 3 milkmaids, a witch, bards, and knights. We watched a plot unfold where a princess was eaten by a dragon, the knights on a mission to save her, the witch helping with spells, and a dance battle to defeat the dragon. Later with the help of the fairies, they were able to return home. Each act of the plot included fun dances performed by the characters.

The fare served also aligned with the theme. They presented “Jousting Sticks” (fruit kabobs, mini corndogs, and mozzarella sticks). The main course was “Dragon Legs” (chicken legs) with “Dragon’s Blood” (gravy), “Medieval Mash” (mashed potatoes) and “Victorious Veg” (peas and carrots). For dessert, there were “Kings Chalice” drinks (root beer floats) and “Fairy Wands” (cake pops). With some candies added as table decorations, this was a feast.

Throughout the evening, between each act of the skits, and while the meal courses were being served, everyone enjoyed dancing and singing along to favorite pop songs. This was a chance to sing as loud as possible and dance with complete freedom with your camp friends. Smiling and laughing like never before, mostly because everyone by now feels so at ease at camp, this was pure exuberance. Whenever a new song came on, the whole dining hall jumped up and danced. It was about as much fun as you can imagine. Banquets are like that, and this was a fantastic example.

rockbrook camp renaissance

Learning to Figure it Out

When I think back on my time at Rockbrook as an eight-year-old camper, there’s one moment that has remained clear across the many decades. I was hiking up the hill from horseback riding, and I stopped for a minute. Standing on that hill, I realized that I had no adults telling me where to go or what to do. No one was urging me to hurry up or change clothes. The feeling of freedom at camp was intoxicating. At the age of eight, for the first time I felt totally in charge of myself. And I really liked it!

relaxed summer camp girls

One of the things that makes Rockbrook Camp unique is that campers of all ages are responsible for getting themselves to their own activities, just as I did years ago. That may seem like a minor detail, but it’s much more than that. It puts the camper in charge of their self throughout the day, which is a significant and sometimes new thing for them. Counselors and staff are always around to help give directions and escort a wayward camper, but for the most part, moving between activities and showing up on time is their responsibility.  

Personal responsibility extends to life in the cabin as well. As a counselor, I remember constantly picking up the wet towels and bathing suits of my campers (grumbling in aggravation), until my wise co-counselor pointed out the error of my ways. After a few days of unhappy shimmying into cold and clammy bathing suits, my campers had figured out how to hang up their own wet items. Amazing how that worked! Sometimes it’s a new experience for campers to choose their own outfits each day and keep track of their own belongings. Sometimes that means there’s a lot of stuff on the “lost and found” table. But they always figure it out in the end (and hopefully wrote their name in their clothes!) 

confident camp girls

Campers are also given several hours each day of free time, with plenty of options as to how they can spend them. From my vantage point on the hill, it’s so much fun to watch kids wander around camp, perfectly happy alone or in small clumps. Some will race to the tether ball and start a heated competition. Others sit by the stream, quietly knotting friendship bracelets or reading their books. From a distance, I can hear the splashing and laughing at the lake of cheerful swimmers. 

Just like me as an 8-year-old, campers at Rockbrook Camp regularly have the autonomy to dwell on what they feel like doing in that moment and just go do it! They love the personal freedom and will have deep consultations with each other about the best ways to spend their free time each day. From my perch, I hear things like “Should we go swimming?” “No, I don’t feel like changing into my bathing suit, let’s go sit on the rock and talk.” “I’m going to go finish my art project.”  All these little snippets of conversation add up to kids realizing their own independence and exercising it.  

Watchful counselors and staff members are always making sure campers show up for activities, behave in a safe manner, and take full advantage of all the fun things available at camp. But as much as possible, they stay hands-off when it comes to campers making their own decisions and exercising responsibility. After all, that’s the whole point of going away to camp! Sometimes that means a yucky wet bathing suit or missing the first half of riding because you had to go back for your boots, but you learn and grow each time.  

— Miranda Barrett
Camp Mom, Former Counselor and Camper

happy summer camp friends

Hello from Woodworking

In the woodworking shop at Rockbrook Camp, at the woodworking activity, our goal is to get tools into the hands of campers and empower them to transform a block of wood into something beautiful and useful. At times we come up with a project for them to complete and at others they give us the ideas. One junior camper came up with an idea for a secret box that we ended up using as one of our project ideas. We had sections of branches from a tree that were cut in about 5 inch sections. I had no idea what I was going to use them for. A toothbrush holder, a pencil holder? These ideas will not take three hours to complete. So, I asked a junior camper. Immediately she says we need to cut off the top to make a lid and to hollow it out to make a secret box to put little things in. Perfect. I’m terrible at coming up with ideas, but decent on improving on existing ones. I thought if we attach the lid with a dowel so it swivels to the side to expose the hollowed out section that would prevent the lid from being lost. She approved and now we have Mallie’s Box! Campers learned to use both manual egg beater drills as well as electric drills and improved their sanding skills.

Cutting boards are a big favorite. I believe this was one of the first projects when woodworking began at Rockbrook Camp and the expectation has been set. “What are we doing?! Cutting boards?!” Most of the time we get to say yes. For this project students select either a piece of maple or cherry for their board. They get a pencil and are instructed to draw the shape they’d like their cutting board to take. We encourage them to be creative and to look at the wood to give them ideas. Does it have a knot in it that could be made into a focal point? Is the grain making an interesting pattern? We try to encourage campers to use what the wood gives them instead of imposing their will on the wood. It’s an organic material and every piece is unique. If you try to fight the wood, it almost always wins. The campers have truly embraced this. One board had a knot in a corner that one woodworker turned into an eye. Knots are surrounded by circular swirls of grain that created in the mind of this camper the body of a fish. She shaped her board in the shape of a fish around those swirls and the eye gave the board what is certainly the image of a fish. Beautiful. Students cut out their boards using an assortment of tools including hand planes, rasps, files and the bandsaw. The finishing touch is sanding before we apply a coat of oil that helps protect the board from cracking but also brings out the colors in the wood. A phenomenon began where campers would take their boards in between sessions with them so they could sand them wherever they are. I’ve been told they find it relaxing. I do not find sanding relaxing, but to each their own. Campers were spotted playing tetherball while sanding, waiting for the shower sanding. I even spotted one camper in line waiting for food while sanding away at her board.

These projects provide us with the opportunity to understand how to shape wood using different tools. They help us understand that wood, at times, has a mind of its own and sometimes you just have to go with what it gives you. Patience, creativity and understanding go a long way in the wood shop! We’ve been using a variety of hand tools to achieve our designs including Ryoba, coping and flush cut saws, hand planes and spokeshaves as well as rasps and files. Students also have the opportunity to use egg beater-style hand drills along with electric drills. The shop is equipped with a bandsaw and drill press that some older campers get the chance to try, as well. Campers’ skills have come a long way and they’ve made beautiful things. We hope they’re inspired and continue to explore the wonderful world of craft!

—Laura Shay, Woodworking Instructor

summer camp wood shop

First Session Video Snapshot – Part Two

Robbie Francis of FrancisFilmworks visited camp again this week to film and has produced another short video for us. He spent the day filming, worked his editing magic, and now we have this wonderful snapshot of camp life. The video does a beautiful job of depicting the mood at camp this session… so much action and so many happy girls!

Click below to watch the video…. and let us know what you think.

Deep Childhood Joy

Let’s talk about a shaving cream fight. This is a special event that brings all the campers together, no matter what their age. It’s equally popular with all age groups too. So when we announced that there would be a shaving cream fight tonight during our “twilight” time, the girls roared with excitement. At the sound of the camp bell, everyone interested in joining in the messy fun would meet down at the landsports field dressed in their swimsuits.

We were ready when the girls started to arrive— about 150 cans of plain shaving cream, a couple of water hoses, some fun pop music pumping, and a big sheet of plastic for a slip-n-slide (because that’s fun too when you’re already slippery!).

The point of a shaving cream fight is not complicated, and the girls somehow know instinctively how to go— spray the contents of your can of the white slippery foam both on others and on yourself. Then race around smearing, wiping, splattering and rubbing the shaving cream into everyone’s hair, on their backs, and ultimately everywhere. Beyond that, the goal is to have fun, be silly and enjoy the wild mess of it all. It’s as simple as that.

There are no teams, and this is not a competition where we pick a winner at the end like some games. So it’s not much of a “fight” really. It’s more of a group event, almost like a dance, since it’s just as much fun to be attacked as it is to splatter others. Part of the fun is surprising someone, sneaking up to them and planting a blob right on their back, shoulder or leg… as you race away grinning, and secretly hoping, but also looking out for, someone who will do the same to you. There’s no score: just the fun of playing the game.

By the way, have you ever noticed how not keeping score makes playing a game more fun. That matches up perfectly with our camp philosophy.

The whole event is absolutely hilarious! Once the spraying begins, you can’t hear anything except shrieks of delight and laughter. We all (yes, counselors and directors too!) quickly begin to look pretty funny, our hair sticking up, with white beards and mustaches, if not completely foamy. There was one little Junior tonight whose entire head was one blob of shaving cream!

camp shaving cream play

A shaving cream fight feels liberating too. It’s a little mischievous and outrageous, but still sanctioned, even celebrated at camp. It’s a harmless way to go a little crazy, while at the same time laugh and play with your friends. Outside of camp, you’ll never see girls having this kind of deep, affirming fun, the kind of laughter that makes you pause to take a breath. A shaving cream fight like this taps into the deepest kind of childhood joy. Among friends, there’s nothing like it. Just ask your camper when you get a chance.

Is there something to learn from a shaving cream fight? Perhaps. It’s certainly proof that letting loose with your friends feels really good— laughing with abandon, not caring how silly you look, embracing the energy of it all.

Here we know each other so well, it’s easy for these Rockbrook girls to relax into who they really are. This community of support and encouragement opens up a quality of experience that’s hard to match. Even in something as simple as a shaving cream fight, that connection makes a real difference. No wonder this feels so great.

shaving cream fight at summer camp

Skits and Skills at Camp

A strawberry, two clouds, a concerned citizen and a newscaster are all racing around in the Mountainside Lodge at Rockbrook. They stop twirling long enough to host a pretend newscast about the weather, which seems to involve strawberries falling from the sky and a cloud-dance. And a LOT of giggles. After five minutes of zipping back and forth, blurting out lines, and more giggling, they dash back to their seats, basking in the applause of their audience. 

true summer camp friends

An uninformed observer would be completely baffled as to what just happened. But here at Rockbrook Camp, cabin skits are a staple of camp life. They’re an opportunity for campers to try out life skills, be completely silly, and make memories with their new friends. 

Evening programs begin as the sun sets behind the mountains and the crickets warm up for the night. Each age group of campers gathers in its respective lodge around camp. This brings campers together to meet new friends and touch base about the day they just had and talk about the new day ahead. Cabin skits also play a big role in the evening activities. The “themes” for skits may vary, but they generally involve each cabin getting their “assignment,” racing off to their respective cabins to self-organize, and then coming back to deliver their big performance to the group.

There are dozens of different types of cabin skits, and new ones are always being created by enterprising counselors. Things like creating silly advertisements, hosting a pretend TV program, building a plot based around a random cabin item are performed regularly. After campers dash off, costumes come out of trunks, items in the cabin are put to creative use, and imaginations run wild. “Scripts” are jotted down on scraps of stationary, and “rehearsals” involve heated discussions and occasional flashes of emotion as campers decide on a plot, roles, and props for the big show.

summer camp dance class

Being at camp is an opportunity for campers to learn and hone all kinds of life skills. Cabin skits are one such opportunity, and counselors deliberately stay hands-off during the planning. Each group is assigned a “director,” a role that rotates over the course of the camp session so everyone can have a turn. Beyond that structure, it’s up to them to self-organize, plan, and create. This can sometimes be difficult or frustrating, especially for younger age groups and different personality types. Listening to the ideas of others and compromising, especially when you believe YOUR idea is “best” can be a tough skill, even for adults! There’s also a fixed amount of time to plan, and as the clock ticks down the voices from cabins grow more intense.  

As they say in show business, the curtain doesn’t go up because you’re ready; it goes up because it’s time! Counselors summon cabin groups back to the lodge, with excitement and anticipation crackling in the air and an assortment of wacky props hidden behind backs. To nervous giggles and shuffling, the first group takes the stage in costume, and the skits begin. 

summer camp gaga ball game

While minor details like “plot” and “dialogue” are not always clear, what is clear is how much fun the campers are having, and how they’ve come together as a group for each performance. Together, they face the experience of public speaking, acting, singing, and producing. They learn how to work together, listen to each other, and respect different opinions. The final result is always magnificent, even if the casual observer leaves confused why the strawberry ran off stage and the clouds jumped up and yelled “tah-dah!” and the newscaster put a cowboy hat on and started singing a Taylor Swift song. The only thing that matters is that campers are learning and growing and creating. They know it, and their cheering audience knows it too. 

Each cabin takes their turn, with each performance growing more exuberant and costumes more outrageous. Meanwhile, unnoticed, the sun quietly slips behind the mountains and the volume of the crickets begins to compete with the actors. The air temperature drops a bit, and evening softly descends on camp.

Our actors take a final bow, to the cheers of the fellow campers. After a round of the goodnight circle and milk and cookies, it’s time for teeth-brushing, pajamas, and a good night’s rest. After all, tomorrow is another day full of new skills, new friends, and more wild imagination. And definitely more wacky costumes.        

Miranda Barrett
Camp Mom, former camper and counselor 

summer camp kids costumes

Waffle Hunting

We began today with another chilly misty morning as campers and staff made their way to the dining hall for breakfast. Excitement soon filled the air as we saw what was for breakfast….waffles!! Some also noticed a banner on the wall, a few tables and chairs missing, and even a kayaking paddle where the missing table should have been. It seems the Hi-Ups had pranked the CAs. Here at Rockbrook we have a few rules about pranking. The first, along with everything else at Rockbrook, is that it must be kind. Second, the prank must be something that can be undone (e.g. nothing broken or ruined). And third, the group who pulls the prank must be willing to help undo it. In this case, the Hi-Ups moved the CA’s dining hall tables and chairs to the lake! When the CAs arrived, they were surprised to see their breakfast was being served waterside! Lots of waffle hunting and laughter ensued.

three girls holding their finished tie dye t-shirts
summer camp flower children

Morning activities kicked right into high gear as campers and staff walked to their first period activities ready to finish out the three-day rotation. Later this evening they’ll be signing up for their next set of activities. A couple of lucky cabins took a tour on our zipline and high ropes courses. They all had a wonderful time going across all three ziplines while shrieking with happiness! Today’s muffin flavor was blueberry chocolate chip. While most enjoyed the combo, a few picked out their blueberries to have a classic chocolate chip muffin.

At lunch, we announced several special trips: Sliding Rock, Dolly’s Dairy Bar, and Pucker Up Berry Farm. Cabins roared with cheers as they heard their cabins being called for some of these fun adventures. Lunch ended with mailboxes being emptied, cabin photos being taken, and the start of a relaxing Rest Hour.

Cabin Day is usually an activity done together as a cabin and is planned out by the counselors. Today, the Senior Line (our 7th-9th graders) did something a little different; they had a line-wide cabin day! The counselors worked hard prepping a unique game that mixed the campers, dividing them into 12 different groups that would compete in the game.

The game was a battle of sorts where each group had “tools” they could use to score points against others. These “tools” were sections of pantyhose filled with flour! Tied into small balls, there were black pantyhose balls and white ones too, each worth different points. A team would score points whenever they hit someone on an opposing team with one of the balls. Needless to say, the girls enjoyed firing these balls at each other on the hill. And since they were all dressed in dark colors, the white flour left a mark when hitting someone. The prize awarded the group with the most points was an ice cream treat.

In addition to trying to cover one another in flour, teams walked around camp to find counselors who had special tasks for them to complete in order to earn other candy treats. Some of the tasks included answering trivia questions, building a human pyramid, and various hula hooping challenges. The Seniors roamed all over camp making new friends from other cabins and having a grand afternoon.

Meanwhile, we had cabins watercoloring at Rockbrook Falls, down at the archery range playing games, climbing the alpine tower, and tie dying some t-shirts. By the end of cabin day, everyone looked happy to have spent time with their cabin mates. After dinner, another large group of campers and staff headed off for a chilly evening sliding down the rock— at Sliding Rock, that is! Dressed in swimsuits and ready to slide, the girls sat down in the stream at the top and slid the 60 feet into the pool at the bottom. It’s a classic summertime mountain thrill, and these Rockbrook girls loved it! And of course, Dolly’s was the final stop of the evening. Another action-packed, happy fun day at camp!

—Casey Blair

North Carolina Sliding Rock kids

Doing the Monster Mash

Today began with a group of girls getting up early because they were heading to the Nantahala River for a day of whitewater rafting. With their towels, water bottles and change of clothes packed, we had a simple breakfast of cereal, yogurt and fruit before loading the three buses and vans and taking the 2-hour drive to the river. Midway, we stopped for a bathroom break and a quick muffins snack.

girls camp rafting trip

It was another fabulous day of weather for rafting— sunny, low humidity, and warming temps throughout the day. Each of our rafts holds between five and 8 people plus one guide who sits in the back navigating past the different river obstacles. The rapids in the Nantahala all have names and unique characteristics that make them a fun challenge. There’s Patton’s Run, Delbar’s Rock, The Bump, and the finale, the Nantahala Falls. The fun of rafting comes from combining special adventure safety gear like the helmet and PFD, the power and intensity of fast moving whitewater, the surprising jolt that comes from bumping into rocks along the way, and the invigorating shock of the cold water splashing. But perhaps the biggest reason rafting is so much fun comes from doing it with your friends. It’s the social aspects of rafting, the hilarity of being splashed together, and screaming with delight when the boat hits a wave. This all adds up to the kind of fun that’s uniquely thrilling and memorable.

Meanwhile back at camp, campers were enjoying the whole range of activities, from zip lining to weaving, from shooting archery to playing tennis. In the WHOA activity, which stands for Wilderness Hiking Outdoor Adventure, the girls were learning about fire building and then roasting marshmallows over the fire. In pottery, campers were shaping their coils and slabs of clay, while some worked on centering on the potters wheel. Here too, the beautiful weather inspired everyone to enjoy walking around camp, for example to the dining hall for muffin break.

After dinner it was time for some dancing! We held an all-Rockbrook camp dance in our gym, a special event that brought all the campers from every line together—Juniors, Middlers and Seniors. It’s always super high energy and the campers get really into belting out their favorite songs. Music and dance is universal, and I feel that these dances really unify our Rockbrook community.

camp costumes in blue

Tonight’s particular dance was aptly titled “Monster Mash,” going along with the theme of the day, “Not So Scary Halloween.” At Rockbrook we love any opportunity to dress up in a costume, so for the entire day campers were able to dress as they would on Halloween – a “Summerween”, if you will. There were a variety of costumes, the ones that caught my eye being: a banana, a friendly ghost, and Uncle Fester, the bald, kooky uncle with the pale skin and dark eyes from the Addams Family.

The dance was a magical scene: faeries dancing with witches dancing with princesses; red, green, and white lights sparkling across the gym floor, Brevard’s own DJ Dogg playing a mix of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”, Justin Bieber’s “Baby”, and many songs by the ever popular Taylor Swift.

One thing I love about Rockbrook dances is witnessing younger campers dancing with their older peers. Several times throughout the evening campers of all ages formed into a dance circle, campers taking turns to rush to the center to show off their best dance moves, the onlookers clapping and cheering words of encouragement to their brave counterparts. The Rockbrook spirit of support never wanes! I personally enjoyed getting to dance with various campers and counselors, in particular with my friend Emma who was dressed just like me as Wednesday Addams, another character from the Addams Family who is known for wearing all long black braids and black clothing, and an ever present dour expression.

camp conga line dance

It’s not a Rockbrook dance without a conga line! I watched from the sidelines as it formed, growing longer with every second as one by one campers joined in. It was hard to resist myself and I quickly latched my hands on to the shoulders of a counselor. Those hesitant to jump into the sprightly formation were given the opportunity to join, the dance line pausing for a moment as campers were happily let in. There were other moments of campers participating in group dances, for example to hits like the “Cupid Shuffle” and “Soulja Boy.” At one point DJ Dogg stepped out from behind his DJ deck to lead the camp in a dance and song that recently went viral called “The Git Up.” Some of the moves included two stepping, sliding to the left and right, dropping down low, spinning, and shoulder shimmying. Towards the end DJ Dogg returned to his turntables and handed it off to the campers to take the lead. I was very impressed by how quickly they were able to do it! My personal favorite group dance is the “Cha Cha Slide”, which I have done at many dances. It also includes sliding to the left and the right, as well as stomping your feet, clapping your hands, and hopping.

There was just as much fun happening outside the gym as there was inside. There were campers enjoying a friendly game of tetherball, some peacefully reading on the steps of the gym, and quite a lot gathered around the gaga pit to witness a fierce round of the dodgeball like game where players aim to strike each other out with the gaga ball in hopes to be the last one standing. I also witnessed a few junior campers chasing a camper fully covered in a green and white sheet, her costume being a bush. Rockbrook campers are very creative!

—Naomi Penner

girls camp dance