The Rockbrook zip line and swinging bridge is a special camp activity we offer like other adventure trips (e.g., backpacking, kayaking, and canoeing). The girls sign up for it whenever it’s announced in the dining hall, like today after breakfast. This means skipping one of their regularly scheduled activities, but riding the zip is such a thrill, almost everyone does it at least once while they’re here. The girls meet the instructors at “Hiker’s Rock” to gear up with their harnesses, helmets, and special dual-wheeled pulleys. They then hike up into the woods behind the dining hall to the start of the swinging bridge. This is a 100-foot long suspension of steel cable, rope and wooden planks, hung between two huge boulders about 60-feet in the air. The bridge is challenging— some might say “scary” —because it wobbles as you walk on it, but also because we intentionally removed several of the planks leaving gaps to balance across. Once on the far side of the bridge, now perched high on a rock ledge, the girls take turns clipping their pulley into the 450-foot long cable that stretches across the camp, passing in front our new office building and ending on a wooden platform. It takes some courage to step off the ledge, but as the girls feel the ride’s acceleration, they’re immediately smiling, often screaming, and having a great time.
On the flat area near the gym, the archery instructors have been helping girls improve their shooting techniques. There are a few safety rules on the archery range to learn first (e.g., the shooting commands), but then there are tips about how to stand, to draw and hold the bow, to aim, and to release. Archery requires proper balance, breathing and concentration too, so the girls have plenty to work on! It’s exciting when someone gets a bullseye and thereby has her name announced at lunch as joining the “bullseye club.” These girls are really getting good!
Meanwhile, nearby inside the gym, Elaine Trozzo our longtime gymnastics coach has been working with the girls on the balance beams, both the high beam and low beam depending on the skill she’s teaching. She’s going over basic walking techniques with the beginners, but also helping a few girls improve their jumps, turns and dismounts. Elaine does a great job keeping her classes fun and informative by combining drills and games. She always begins with a few minutes of stretching to warm up, and lately has been finishing with runs on the mini tramp with girls taking turns doing tricks like flips and tucks onto the landing pads. It’s nice to think how the skills developed in gymnastics— strength, balance, and flexibility, for example — easily translate to other physical activities and sports.
Like dancing… for, despite a passing band of rainy weather after dinner, tonight we were all excited to dance with the boys of Camp Carolina. We actually held two dances, the Juniors and Middlers staying here in the Rockbrook gym, and our Seniors loading up eight buses and vans to make the trip over to Camp Carolina’s dining hall for their dance. We also offered an alternative activity for those girls who thought dancing wasn’t their thing tonight. These dances are fun for the girls because they are mostly about jumping around with each other, being silly and singing to the music. The boys are almost simply a backdrop (though perhaps less so for the oldest girls). Several of the more popular songs have well-known choreographed group dance moves like the “Cha Cha Slide,” or even that classic, “YMCA.” Overall, this evening was a chance to dress up a little, maybe get your hair “just right,” and enjoy a night of playful dancing.