Sometimes it’s easy to forget that while girls are jumping (in the lake), sewing (pillows), climbing (rocks), shooting (arrows), and acting (in improvisational drama games)… all up in camp, down by the river, they are also riding— horses, of course. Managing our riding program this summer is Kelsi Peterson who comes to us from the Equestrian program at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC where she is the show team coach. Directing the Rockbrook riding program is quite a job with 29 horses, 2 barns, 60 acres of pasture, and 6 staff members all needing attention, not to mention all the campers wanting to ride. Kelsi does a fantastic job with this, taking particular care placing every camper in a mounted lesson that matches her experience and riding ability. For those extra-excited campers, Kelsi and her staff also teach a regular class we call “Stable Club” where the girls learn— mostly by doing —how to care for the horses. Baths and brushing, hoof care and feeding, and mucking out stalls, there’s always a lot to know and do!
The girls taking ceramics are advancing through the different hand building techniques, experimenting with coils and slabs to make some pretty cool animal sculptures. Michele, who is our Head ceramics instructor this summer, is encouraging the girls to use their imaginations and create whatever comes to mind without much concern about what something is “supposed” to look like. They are learning that different color glazes and finishing tools can really make something unique. In addition, it’s been a big hit for the girls to learn wheel-thrown pottery techniques. Michele has been explaining and demonstrating all the steps to throwing a pot on the wheel: centering the clay, opening it up, pulling up the walls, and cleaning the top. Each of these can require some practice to master, so it’s a great feeling when the girls are successful at each point. Most of the girls are really excited to give it a try and likewise determined to master every skill. We are all looking forward to the end of the session when all of the kiln firings are done and the finished, colorful pieces emerge.
This afternoon, Clyde led a group of Junior campers on a hike in the nearby Dupont State Forest to visit several of the county’s largest waterfalls. With a snack, water bottles packed, and with cameras set and ready, they were able to reach both Triple Falls and High Falls while out hiking. This area of the Forest has recently become popular thanks to the first Hunger Games movie, part of which was filmed at the base of these waterfalls. Today the water level was a bit higher than normal making the crashing sound of High Falls a little louder and the spray you feel on your face at the base of the falls all the more surprising. It’s a powerful feeling to be that close to such a huge waterfall.
After dinner, during that hour of free time we call “Twilight,” tonight we held a drumming workshop in the Hillside Lodge. Our friend Billy Zanski from Asheville arrived loaded down with different sized drums and led the drumming session for any of the campers who chose to attend. He taught us several basic Djembe rhythms and the girls played along taking turns on the Dundun bass drums. Several of the songs included a call and response chant while others easily inspired several of the girls (and counselors!) to get up and dance along. The whole session illustrated that even for young girls, drumming, contributing to a group musical experience like this, is something really enjoyable.
Finally, today was “Twin Day” at camp, so if the girls felt compelled— and a great number did —they would dress together as twins. This meant switching the the left shoes, or wearing the same t-shirt, or in this case dressing as “Camp Carolina Boys.” I think I spotted several princesses too. You just never know what these girls will come up with!