The Littlest Things

Walking around camp today, here are a few things I noticed. Girls were giving friends piggyback rides. Two girls lay down at the top of the hill, and like a log, rolled down, hair flying and screaming the whole way. Three 2nd-graders were building a small dam in the creek “to catch fish,” they told me. 16-year old Hi-Ups were hauling a bag of trash so big it took two to carry it. I saw girls cheering others as they successfully climbed to the top of the Alpine Tower. There were girls wearing simple costumes, gleefully being silly. Funny faces on the tennis courts and wide-eyed grins zooming down the water slide. Girls lounging completely relaxed on yoga mats, and others intensely concentrating while pulling an arrow across a bow. Friends being completely at ease with each other while doing a goofy dance.

porch needlecraft fun

It might sound strange, but this is the good stuff of camp. These simple examples of camp life, and many others, show a deep truth about your girls. They prove that in reality, your girls are bold, strong, curious and joyful. Your camp girls easily connect with each other, and understand each other. They’re being so incredibly happy and grounded.

The simple stuff at camp reveals a special humanity of being a kid, something inherent and amazing, but also, I would bet, something that’s more muted in their ordinary non-camp lives. We hear it all the time: girls saying “at camp I can be my true self. I can be me.” Of course, this implies that when not at camp, they’re not their “true self.” Hmmm… Coming to summer camp somehow provides a certain relief for kids, and that relief helps them be amazing.

If I had to explain it, I’d say it’s the culture of Rockbrook that has this power to enliven the deep humanity of being a child. The positive camp environment, percolating with enthusiasm and support, is perfectly suited to coax out these “trampled instincts” of children, as Emerson might have put it. That’s really what’s going on at camp. Yes there are activities— we’re making pottery, paddling boats, shooting targets, and so forth —but we’re also creating an intentional community where girls can develop their better instincts, free from the pressures of home and school. We’re outside a lot. We’re not competing. We’re not filtering reality through what appears on the internet. We’re immersed in a community where we feel we belong, feel valued and loved. Camp has that unique combination of encouragement and opportunity, contagious kindness and freedom to explore.

tiny camp girl shooting rifle

We hope that these amazing instincts hold, and your girls can exercise their “authentic self” after they leave Rockbrook. It’s certainly more difficult without the community support and context camp provides, but camp girls know first hand that they have these amazing powers and that they can be confident of their deep truth. Everyday at camp, they experience that truth, even in the littlest things.

All the Middlers (5th and 6th graders) came to dinner dressed in their swimsuits and water shoes, and with their towels draped over their chair, ate faster than usual. This is because they knew that tonight they were heading to Sliding Rock. By 7pm, 6 buses of very excited girls were making their way along the curvy road through the Pisgah National Forest to that famous part of Looking Glass Creek where it flows over 60 feet of gently sloping rock into a pool at the bottom. Generations of Rockbrook girls have made this trip and had this experience.

It’s a scream-inducing thrill! Sitting down into the rushing 55-degree water, scooting to the edge of the slope, and suddenly accelerating toward the dunking splash at the end— it’s uniquely fun. Our evening trip adds to the excitement because it’s a little shady and dark when we slide. We love going “after hours” because we can bring our own lifeguards and usually we have the place to ourselves. We completed the outing by stopping at everyone’s favorite ice cream place— some say “favorite on earth!” — Dolly’s Dairy Bar. Each of the girls selected a cup or cone of their favorite flavor, and enjoyed the chilly treat, chatting (which turned into singing soon enough) outside under the glow of Dolly’s colorful neon lighting. Chilly and still a little damp when we arrived back at camp, the girls headed straight to their cabins to get ready for bed.

camp kids outdoors

A Pleasant Pattering

Only rarely does it rain in the morning at camp. It’s often wet feeling in the morning because the humidity combines with lower temperatures to cover things in dew and immerse us all in fog, and of course we often have thunderstorms roll through in the afternoon, but by mid-morning the sun ordinarily clears things out. Today though, we had light rain falling off and on throughout the morning until about 4pm. If you are ever curious about the weather at camp, you can check the Rockbrook Camp weather station. It’s mounted on our office, and it continuously monitors and reports current weather conditions to the Weather Underground network. Checking the stats, it looks like we received 1.13 inches of rain for the day.

climbing wall girl
girls whitewater rafting splash

Many of our activities carry on normally when it’s raining: all the crafts for example. Most of these happen outdoors on a covered porch, like painting and drawing, jewelry making, and needlecraft, while other have their own dedicated open-air spaces, like pottery and hodge podge tie-dyeing. There are more raincoats (sometimes called “dewcoats” at RBC… “my dewcoat is up in my cabin” as the song exclaims) cast about, and there’s a pleasant patter in the air, but all this craftiness hardly slows down when there’s a “heavy dew.”

The climbers headed to the gym to hop on the climbing wall. Gagaball became dodgeball in the gym, and the tennis players worked on their strokes in the dining hall playing pingpong. The horse girls could still ride thanks to the covered arena, but we will reschedule zipline rides for a few cabins, and those who couldn’t shoot archery today will get a chance another day in the session.

Six buses of campers (about 80 middlers and seniors) spent the day whitewater rafting today on the Nantahala river. We drove over to find similar weather— clouds and some drizzle, but also moments of sunshine. Rafting, as you can guess, is inherently a wet and splashy experience, so a little rain doesn’t change much. The girls had a complete blast bumping down the river, yes occasionally falling into the water (an “out of boat experience”), and exercising their talent for screaming through the rapids. Between rapids they sang, took turns “riding the bull” (sitting on the front of the boat like a hood ornament), and happily posed and waved for photos. So much fun!

Nancy Barnum Carrier at Rockbrook

We’re not sure what tipped them off, but Our State magazine, the monthly print magazine that celebrates the culture and history of North Carolina, just published a short article about Rockbrook. The article, entitled “Back in the Day: When the Circus Came to Camp,” talks about our founder Nancy Clarke Carrier, and her family relationship to P.T. Barnum, the well-known circus showman. Nancy’s mother was Barnum’s granddaughter. Being from a circus family, Nancy’s home was decorated with circus artifacts, including a famous small chair, one made especially for Charles Stratton, better known as Tom Thumb. Girls attending Rockbrook in those early years were excited to see “Tom Thumb’s chair,” and even more so to sit in it. As we celebrate Rockbrook’s 100-year birthday, it’s fun to recall this unique circus connection to the history of the camp, and throughout our sessions play with circus ideas during special events.

The community of camp is deepening with each passing day. We’re seeing the girls relax more and begin to feel more comfortable at camp, despite all the differences in their experience compared to home— no parents, no air-conditioning, and no electronic entertainment, for example. Rain or shine, we’re sharing so much, spending all of our time together, and strengthening our connections to each other and to Rockbrook along the way.

summer camp rafting

Camp Beauty

Today was one of those beautiful days at camp. I don’t mean just the weather, though it was nicely sunny and warm, a true dose of summer. The beauty came from the people here and all the diversity of their interests, activity, and conversations. There’s something inherently beautiful about a group of children being curious, soaking up new experiences, and finding regular flashes of joy from simply being together. As we all scattered ourselves around camp today, the feeling of camp was revived. It’s a relaxed, joyful busyness. It’s learning things, but for the fun of it. It’s sharing experience with friends, laughing together and growing closer bit by bit. It’s delightful surprises, natural wonders, and the authenticity of being silly. A quick look in any direction, at just about any time of the day, is to be struck by amazing points of this camp beauty. I wish you could see it firsthand!

small child weaving on loom

Every activity was fully engaged today. The photo gallery again reflects that, all the adventure, creativity, sports, riding, and freedom to enjoy the lake. Together with their cabin groups, the girls rotated through 4 different activities, and three blocks of free time between our three meals and two snack breaks. By the way, I’d say our mid-morning “muffin break” is a highlight for many of us at camp. Today’s freshly baked surprise flavor was banana-coconut. Lunch brought us homemade tomato soup and “cheesy bread,” another camp favorite. Burgers and hand-cut fries, with lemon bars for dessert made our picnic on the hill extra delicious.

I should say a little something about mask wearing at camp this session because it might be confusing about our policy when you see photos with girls sometimes wearing masks and other times not. Whenever the girls are with just members of their own sleeping cabin (their “cohort”), they can remove their masks. They may choose to wear them, but whenever the cabins are not mixing— like during the scheduled activities, meals, and when inside their cabin —wearing a mask is not required. When within six feet of someone from another cabin, however, we are asking everyone to mask up. These encounters tend to be when larger groups are gathered for events like LIne evening programs, or during blocks of free time when the girls can visit friends from other cabins. Today I saw two girls chatting in the red rocking chairs on the dining hall porch, two girls from different cabins, and they were wearing their masks. This policy is fairly intuitive, and most of the campers seem to have no trouble remembering when to apply it.

big camp water slide

Let’s also mention something about mail at camp. Send it! Lots of it! …though no packages please…The USMail can be a little slow around here, but nothing beats a real letter in your mailbox. I know it’s hard to find the time, and emails are a lot easier (you can send those too), but your girls will really appreciate something more meaningful from you. The girls check their mailboxes right before rest hour, so what you send can inspire a letter in return. Parents love mail from camp too!

The girls are starting to settle in at camp. As you can see we’re all staying happily busy, and well-fed. Already, we’re making the most out of each day, finding that life in this camp community feels really good. There will bound to be a few bumps along the way, challenges that we will work on together, but there’s good to be found there too. We’re all here to help each other, encourage each other, and appreciate each other as we dig into all the fun. Stay tuned!

Horse Camp Kids riding

Blazing Excitement

It’s always exciting to start a new session of camp, exciting for the staff at Rockbrook and of course very exciting for the girls arriving. This summer, after skipping a year of camp and enduring the social restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, you can imagine this would be even more so. In addition, today we opened our longest, 4-week session which is chock full of the most enthusiastic campers, many of whom have been coming to Rockbrook for years. It’s true; all morning as we checked girls into camp, we saw a blazing excitement to get started with camp, smiling faces of gratitude from parents, and scores of fidgety eager girls. After all, we’ve been waiting a long time for this day, for camp to bring us together, to get us outside and playing, to let us be real again. It’s just exciting!

Our check-in procedure went well overall, despite a bottleneck later in the morning when the seniors began arriving. Thank you for your patience if you had to wait in line longer than you expected. And thank you for following our pre-camp precautions— all the forms, quarantining, and testing —all important. Our nurses were impressed by how organized and prepared everyone was with their medications. Here too, everyone seemed ready for camp.

NC Summer Camp girls

Settling into the cabins turned into a fun group project. Along with the counselors, the girls helped each other make their beds, arrange their trunks in the cabin and add extra touches like “fairy lights,” pillows and stuffed animals to make their new home a little more cozy. The girls start to get to know each other through this simple activity, and as they sit down for their “cabin meeting,” they already have ideas about how they will work together throughout the session. These cabin groups will be eating their meals together and taking their scheduled activities together, so the feel of the group is important to establish well. The counselors understand this and do a great job facilitating the discussion.

At lunch, we launched right into our new seating arrangement that takes advantage of our two new porches. To help maintain some distance between cabin groups while eating, and to increase the amount of outdoor eating areas, this spring we doubled the size of our dining hall porch and extended the gable-end porch of the Hillside Lodge, which is one of the historic stone activity meeting lodges in camp. We effectively doubled our dining space at camp! Both of these new porches are really nice places to eat too. As you look out, they feel like you are high in the nearby trees, breezy and cooler. “Treetop Dining,” we call it. For lunch, Rick and his kitchen crew served us a classic meal of camp comfort food, his homemade mac-n-cheese, steamed broccoli, and freshly cut watermelon slices. The girls loved this warm cheesy dish making a second helping completely natural.

Swimming buddy tag

Warm sunny weather in the afternoon made our “swim demos” a welcome opportunity to cool off. We ask all of the girls to demonstrate their swimming ability to our team of lifeguards so we know where in the lake (shallow end vs. the deep end!) they can safely swim. No matter what their ability, we have a way for the girls to enjoy the lake at camp. Everyone gets a buddy tag! Our mountain stream-fed lake is always surprisingly chilly, and can be shocking even for confident swimmers who are used to warmer water. But with some getting used to the “refreshing” water, most girls do well after a few trips to the lake. Everyday, except Sunday when there are special events happening, there are two “free swim” times, when girls can take a dip in the lake if they like.

Tomorrow we’ll get to apply all this enthusiasm and excitement as the girls fill their day with camp activities. We’ll be shooting arrows, climbing rocks, and riding horses right after breakfast. There’ll be action everywhere. Be sure to visit the online photo gallery, which is available after you login to your parent account. Each day, we’ll post photos of what’s happening at camp. While we can’t promise we’ll get a shot of every girl everyday, we’ll do our best to give you a sense of life at camp. Just as it’s a joy for these girls to be here, it’s a real treat to peak into this world from the outside. I hope you are looking forward to it!

Teen girls campers

Deeply Felt

Today marked the last full day of our first session. It’s always a bittersweet day as we wrap up longterm projects at camp, recognize much of what we’ve accomplished over the course of the session, and celebrate the new bonds of friendship we now cherish. We spent part of the morning packing and moving luggage. Many girls who rode enjoyed a barn party down at the Riding Center. We gathered in the gym to watch a performance of the play, a production that incorporated characters from Rockbrook and the idea of time travel. We also built a time capsule asking each cabin to select an item to add to the collection. Rockbrook girls in the future will probably be surprised to find stickers, bracelets, a surgical mask, and a yogurt container, among the representative items from 2021. After dinner, we assembled on the hill to hear campers and counselors share their thoughts and memories about the different activities at camp, “toasting” their favorites. Another busy full day of camp.

girl holding candle for closing campfire ceremony

As the evening arrived, the whole camp gathered for our traditional closing campfire ceremony, our “Spirit Fire.” It is now 100 years ago that the very first Spirit Fire was held on the big rock overlooking the Rockbrook lake. Like that first gathering, we lit a fire on that same spot to celebrate and reflect upon our time together at camp. We sang traditional songs, and listened to campers and counselors speak about what camp has meant to them. Many girls who were new to Rockbrook this year told how they were nervous arriving, but soon realized that camp was a place where they could be themselves, “imperfections and all,” and still be accepted, included, and loved. Staff members too spoke about being surprised how friendly Rockbrook is to even someone who has never been here before. Several speakers were overcome with emotion where they had trouble continuing. And soon, there were sniffles, and soft whimpers coming from the crowd.

This was a fitting way to end what was overall an emotional session. Camp this session was so deeply felt by everyone here, staff and campers alike. It was as if the pandemic had bottled up our need for human connection, and now at camp, as we re-experienced the joys of romping with friends in the real world, we could finally feel again. We could smile, hug and be hugged, relax and reconnect. The relief we all felt was so intense, many of us couldn’t help but get a little weepy with happiness. The Spirit Fire focused those feelings, but with a touch of sadness, since we knew that our time together this summer was coming to a close.

So thank you for being a part of this special place and special experience for girls. Thank you for recognizing the value of camp for your daughters, and thank you for trusting Rockbrook to provide the kind of summer haven they need. We look forward to seeing everyone again very soon.

camp candle ceremony around lake

A Banquet First

When the 9th graders arrived at camp, they knew their task would be challenging, but they didn’t really know the details of how COVID-19 precautions would affect their Banquet. “Banquet” refers to the all-camp party we hold at the end of the three main sessions. It’s a long tradition at Rockbrook for the “CAs” (9th grade girls) to plan and present this party for the rest of the camp, but also to select a secret theme for the decorations, costumes, skits, dance numbers, music and food. The girls pick their theme and work throughout their session painting decorations, gathering costume materials, and practicing skits and choreography. For the whole camp, anticipation and excitement builds for the banquet.

Camp Party Paintings
Camp Party performance
Costume Skit Dancers
Ca Camp Banquet Girls

So what was the banquet theme this session? It was titled, “It’s Da Rewind” (with the ‘D’ stylized like the first letter of the Disney logo) and was a multi-location presentation of Disney characters and stories loosely grouped into “classic” Disney, “modern” Disney, and “Disney Channel” topics. Having three topics came about because we wanted to keep the different age groups in camp (the Junior, Middler and Senior lines) separate, yet still give them each a banquet experience. The CAs devised a plan to have the lines rotate from one location to the next with each location having a “mini-theme.” And what a great plan it was! A banquet first!

One location was the Hillside Lodge where the campers met some modern Disney characters like Flynn Ryder from Tangled, Ana from Frozen, and Maleficent. This stop had the campers playing games: Disney trivia, corn hole, and a ball toss game. With music from the movies playing, the costumed characters helped each cabin take turns playing the games.

The other new location for the banquet was the gym, where Disney TV characters Troy Bolton, Sharpay Evans, and Hannah Montana were waiting to perform. The girls know and love the songs from these popular TV shows, so this fun dance show quickly turned into a sing along dance party. Dancing to favorite songs is always a big part of Banquet, so the campers were ready to party, making this great fun.

The third location was the dining hall where we met classic Disney characters Snow White, Peter Pan, and Beauty and the Beast. There was a short skit and a choreographed dance for all the characters. The food was served here too: “Troy Bolton’s Fav Mozzarella sticks,” “Peter’s Pan Pizza,” “Timon and Pumbaa’s Fruit grub,” “Ariel’s Kelp salad,” and “Poison Apple tarts” for dessert. Plus, like all banquets the tables were decorated with stickers, confetti, and of course candy. Painted paper panels, streamers, balloons and fairy lights helped make the whole setting festive and more fun.

After all the groups had rotated through all three locations, everyone came together outside on the hill for more dance songs and celebrating. This is also where the CA campers sang a song to their counselors, and afterwards the counselors to their campers. Similarly the Hi-Ups and their counselors sang their songs. This is another banquet tradition where these now tight groups express their gratitude and affection for each other. It was a sweet moment for all of us to witness, as the girls laughed and cried at different points in the songs, jumping up at the end to share hugs.

Overall the banquet proved that these girls can be creative under any conditions, adapt to new circumstances, and have a great time working with each other. Their dedication, pep and energy created a memorable celebration for everyone at camp. The first session banquet was a huge success!

End of Session Camp Party

1st Session Video Glimpse — 2

Robbie Francis, our amazing videographer, has another video for us this week, another 2-minute glimpse into life at camp.

It’s again filled with wonderful moments that beautifully capture the feel of Rockbrook. Each time you watch it, you’re bound to notice something new— mostly kids relaxing and having fun outdoors, but also heartwarming expressions of friendship. It’s fascinating!

Take a look, and let us know what you think.

Click here for the video Or see below.

Rain or Shine

As the Rockbrook song goes – “dry or damp, we’re always having fun at camp.” This Sunday was no exception. Even with the leftovers of a tropical storm moving their way through, campers and staff alike were all smiles and greeted the day with that signature RBC pep and cheer. While some activities needed to be amended – both chapel and assembly on the hill happening in the gym – camp is all about flexibility and this was our day to practice that.

The day started with a chapel on friendship, where the junior and middler lines came together to remind us just how special the friendships we form at camp are. The most common analogy is the chocolate chip cookie friend; a friend who we may not see often, but when we do, we feel just as warm and gooey as a chocolate chip cookie on the inside! Camp, while only lasting a few weeks, offers campers the time and freedom to make some of their truest friends. Free from many of the societal expectations of the outside world and scaffolded with the trusting and fun space counselors provide, campers are able to relax and make these chocolate chip cookie friends with ease.

Our day rounded out with some unexpected sunshine and a Rockbrook surprise: Prom Night! Part of the fun and trusting environment Rockbrook provides includes lots of Rockbrook surprises. Costumes, fun, and camp magic are the three ingredients for success when it comes to a Rockbrook surprise. These surprises are special events thrown by counselors and other staff members and come as a surprise to our campers. 

Each line had their own special prom location decked out with streamers, twinkle lights, tunes, and of course, costumed counselors! The juniors created their own handmade corsages out of tissue paper while the middlers and seniors showed off the dance moves they’ve been learning in the Dance activity. Dances at camp are a must, and the carefree environment of camp gives campers the freedom to dance like nobody’s watching!

A Centennial Celebration

This year is the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Rockbrook Camp, and so throughout the summer we are celebrating this milestone with special events, all culminating in a reunion for our alumnae in August. It’s been fun to think back over all those decades of girls coming to this haven in the wilderness and joining the very special community of camp. With this long history, there are now 4th generation campers coming from families whose mother, grandmother, and great grandmother also attended.

camp girls braid train
camper dipping candles
find the 100 ducky game
sarah carter giving rockbrook history tour

This afternoon the whole camp celebrated our centennial with games, activities, and special events. Dressed in their best Rockbrook gear, with as much red and white (our camp colors) as possible, the girls traveled together as cabin groups to different stations throughout the camp.

The first was called the “100 club.” It challenged the girls to complete several tasks 100 times: 100 bounces of a tennis ball on a racquet, 100 egg tosses between cabin members, 100 steps balancing a board on your head, 100 rotations of a hula hoop, and creating 100 braids collectively in the group. It turns out doing anything 100 times in a row without stopping can be tough. Let’s just say, we did break a few eggs in the process today, but with a couple of tries, every cabin hit the 100 mark on each challenge.

The second station was more creative. It asked each group to decorate a plaque to commemorate Rockbrook’s 100th year. Girls also wrote “thank you” letters to camp. Using paint, pens and markers, the campers wrote about their favorite things about Rockbrook. We will collect these and publish many of them in our annual “Carrier Pigeon” yearbook.

The third station had the girls making candles by hand, dipping lengths of wick into melted wax. While they took turns dipping, counselors offers small face painting designs… cardinals were a popular design. Also in that station, other groups made “bag ice cream.”

Meanwhile, down at the lake, the fourth station divided the groups for an exciting relay race using our floating “corcles.” These little round boats are big enough for one person. The girls used kick boards to paddle them across the lake and back, racing as fast as they could. Also at the lake, we tossed in 100 yellow rubber ducks and challenged the girls (a few from each cabin) to find a specific duck with the number “100” written on the bottom…. not a needle in a haystack, but close!

The last station rotated the groups down to the Carrier house where Sarah gave everyone a quick lesson on the history of Rockbrook. She showed them several artifacts that belonged to our founder Nancy Carrier (who grew up in that house), old scrap books, the original green uniforms girls wore while at camp, and several framed vintage photos. Sarah and other camp alumnae have just written a book about the history of Rockbrook, so she is currently our resident expert! There was also watermelon and yard games to play on the front lawn of the house.

For dinner Rick and his crew chose a traditional menu: Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. The baker made delicious centennial cupcakes with a buttercream frosting for dessert. Those went fast!

The highlight of the day was the cool fireworks show we enjoyed after dark. Ordinarily we shoot fireworks once a summer on the 4th of July, but we thought we should celebrate Rockbrook’s birthday with just as much enthusiasm. We had fun pop music playing, and as the girls danced and sang along to the music, they cheered as each colorful explosion lit up the sky above the lake. It’d been a while since most of us had seen a fireworks show making it even more enjoyable. Happy Birthday Rockbrook!

camp teen friends

Just for Fun

Part of the joy of being at camp is having the freedom to do things just for the fun of it. It’s one part of what we mean in the Rockbrook mission statement by “carefree summer living.” We know that most children feel certain pressures at home and at school, perhaps to be productive (like adults) or efficient (also like adults). Camp is a special environment where girls are allowed to put aside those adult-like cares and concerns, and revel in the fun of this community of friends, active and outdoors.

shaving cream girls

A good example of this is a shaving cream fight, like the ones we held today for the three different lines (age groups). There’s no real serious purpose to the event. It’s girls in their swimsuits, a sunny patch of grass, a can or two of plain shaving cream per person, and the overall goal of smearing the slippery foam all over oneself and the others nearby. For some the goal might be to cover every inch of your body with the stuff. For others, it might be to completely lather your hair and then make crazy hairstyles. It’s also a chance to sneak up and surprise a friend with a handful of cream splattered on her back. You see, all of these are simply for fun, messy, slightly mischievous fun. Today we also pulled out a long piece of plastic to make a slip-n-slide. It turns out, bodies covered in shaving cream slide extra fast when sprayed with a little water from a hose. Again just for fun, but really big fun the girls.

camper dance class

“Just for fun” applies to a lot of the activities at camp, even ones that for some can be taken very seriously. For example, dance can be a serious endeavor for some girls, one that includes hours of training, rehearsals and performances. Dance can be someone’s profession! Our dance activity at camp is more lighthearted. It does include learning specific dance moves or a choreographed routine, but it’s intentionally a little silly. It’s meant to accommodate a range of talents and experience so everyone can feel good giving it a try. Not a great dancer? We want to prove that dancing can be fun no matter what your sense of rhythm or timing. Feel a little awkward on the dance floor? When something’s just for fun, you don’t have to be “good” to enjoy it. Encouragement and support in a non-competitive community make trying something new all the more enjoyable, no matter how it turns out. Girls who are serious dancers have told me they love dancing at Rockbrook precisely because it’s not serious. They love being free to experiment and be silly (since that’s not as celebrated ordinarily in their dance world). I’ve heard this same comment about tennis and swimming too. Even though they need to be serious at times, kids also need to do things just for fun.

summer camp sewing project

All that being said, what happens at camp is not “just” fun. The experience of being here is not simply some kind of fleeting entertainment. As I’ve said before, camp is “fun that matters.” In addition to the outward physical skills developing at camp— learning to sew, to do a cartwheel, to play gaga ball, to shoot a bow and arrow, and so forth —girls are improving their self confidence by accomplishing so much independently from their parents. They’re becoming more resilient as they deal with manageable setbacks or disappointments. They’re definitely improving their social skills living so closely within this small community. Perhaps most importantly, they’re discovering more about who they are and feeling good about their authentic selves. Wrapped in a thick layer of big fun, there’s a lot of really important, long-term personal strengths developing at camp as well.

good girls friends at camp