We opened our June mini session this morning and welcomed 70 more campers to Rockbrook, joining the full session girls who arrived last week. About half of these were first-time Rockbrook girls, so for them today brought a particularly energizing mix of new faces, and waves of new sensations— the babble of the streams, earthy smells of the forest, and the whoops and cheers of the counselors. For the returning campers too, opening day is full of delight. You can feel the excitement all morning long, partly because it’s been pent-up for months now (in some cases all year!), but also because it’s so deeply felt. This is camp, and these girls are ready! Now with the dining hall full, and every camper and counselor charged with energy to spare, we have a powerful Rockbrook session underway.
As the mini session girls arrived, the full session campers and their counselors held a brief “Chapel” program focused on the theme of “Encouragement.” The Senior Line campers wrote and led the program. It included songs, like “Lean on Me”and “You’ve got a Friend in Me,” as well as quotes from Henry James about being kind, Maya Angelou, and others. It was a nice opportunity to think about why encouragement is so important and why it’s so valued here at Rockbrook for its role in forming a close community of people. Encouragement is simply a part of our camp culture.
After lunch and a brief break for Rest Hour, the whole camp enjoyed a very special afternoon event held on the lawn of the Clarke-Carrier House in the center of camp. This house, which predates the camp, was the childhood home of Rockbrook’s founder, Nancy Barnum Clark Carrier. Also known as the “Rockbrook House,” you can see its location on the camp map, and read more about its history, but it has a wonderful terraced lawn that was perfect for our event: a Renaissance Fair.
The event was amazing. It had more than 11 different activities for the girls, music, food, and thanks to everyone’s creativity, very cool costumes to bring the scene to life. There was an inflated jousting game, a water balloon catapult, a “photo booth” filled with Renaissance-inspired props, crowns to decorate, and wax candles to make. Down the path a little ways, there was a fairy garden, complete with bubbles and twinkling lights. There the girls could join a drum circle. Also nearby, counselors were painting faces, and braiding hair with flowers, leaves, and ribbons for decoration. A fortune teller offered to give advice and a henna tattoo artist decorated campers’ hands with small designs. There was plenty of food to enjoy as well, including roasted turkey legs, hunks of baguettes, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones and cups of ginger ale. With so many options available, the campers had a blast going from one area to next. Some carried giant turkey legs, while others nibbled cotton candy. The costumes, face painting and decorations, plus the music and the backdrop of 100-year-old boxwood bushes and the historic camp house, all added up to make the afternoon unforgettable.