Today we opened our June mini session and welcomed 85 campers to Rockbrook to begin their 2-week session. It was an exciting morning for everyone, certainly for the girls arriving because they were finally starting their time at camp, but also for the current full session campers and staff already here because they now had a new group of friends to meet and play with while at camp. About half of the girls arriving today were brand new to camp, so for them this morning, and later during their camp tours, as they discovered each activity area or feature of Rockbrook— the huge rock face for climbing above the camp (Castle Rock), the water slide at the lake (“Big Samantha”), the zipline, horseback riding rings (and the tunnel under the road that leads to the riding area), all the tabletop and floor weaving looms in Curosty, and the crazy intensity of the dininghall, for example —ratcheted up their eagerness to get started. A quick assembly of the whole camp on the grassy hill got everyone singing a few camp songs, and gave each Director, Line Head, and the Hi-Ups a chance to introduce themselves.
For Lunch, Rick and his fantastic kitchen crew prepared a camp classic: tacos. With bowls of homemade guacamole, salsa, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, refried black beans, and ground beef, as well as stacks of crunchy taco shells on each cabin’s table, the girls broke records making their own tacos. One small Junior camper bragged that she ate 5 tacos in all!
The mini session Seniors and Middlers spent their rest hour at lake hearing about how our “Tag System” works and demonstrating their swimming ability for the waterfront staff. Every girl who chooses to do water-related activities at camp (swim at lake, a rafting, kayaking, or canoeing trip, for example) must feel confident in the water, be able to swim comfortably for about 150 feet and tread water, unassisted, for one minute. We ask each camper to demonstrate this ability, and if successful, will receive a round plastic tag, identified with her name, to be placed on the tag board. The tags help the lifeguards know who is swimming when they are moved to different sections of the tag board. It’s a great system that’s been well established at Rockbrook for years.
The main event of the day, which began around 3:30, we held down at our grassy sports field. And like all great Rockbrook events, it combined costumes, special snacks and food, games, prizes, music, and dancing, all revolving around a theme. It this case, it was a “Pirate Carnival.” Chase, our Program Director, planned and organized the event with about 30 other staff members helping with each game. With beautiful sunny, warm weather, the girls arrived to find a variety of games—tossing a ball through a hoop, finding a piece of gum in a bowl of flour, a ring toss, bobbing for apples, a water gun and ping-pong ball challenge… all with fun pirate prizes like a gold earring or tattoo. Also, they could go and have a facepaint design, toss a cup of “slime” (think green, oozy water made from jello powder, flour, water and food coloring) at someone, have their fortune told, or decorate an eye patch. We also had two inflatable games, an obstacle course that seemed entirely too bouncy, and an elastic, running game where a strong bungee cord pulls you back when you run a short track. Two stations making cotton candy and another passing out snow cones kept everyone energized throughout the afternoon.
As you can see from these three examples (click the photos to see a larger version), costumes were also a big part of the fun. I’d say the majority of the girls chose to sport some kind of pirate gear like a bandana, eye patch, face-painted mustache, or golden earring. If not, then a bathing suit felt just right. This really was a perfect event, with every camper running from game to game, maybe stopping to toss the corn hole bean bags, or swivel a hula hoop for a minute. We sang along to the music, danced together, and laughed a lot having a blast for, gosh almost 2 hours! It was the kind of big camp fun we love around here, and we’re just getting started!