For Rockbrook today, it was a big day of whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River. The day before, Frampton, our Program Director, went around to each cabin and asked if the girls wanted to go rafting, either by first spending the night at our Nantahala Outpost or by going over to the river for just the day. Not too surprisingly, there was a flood of interest from the Middlers and Seniors (Unfortunately, Juniors are too young to meet the requirements of our Forest Service permit- the only girls camp to be awarded a rafting permit, by the way). These trips are high adventure for the girls. Getting ready at the river’s put-in, our team of Rockbrook guides outfitted the girls with PFDs, helmets, and paddles, and presented an important safety talk about how to paddle, stay in the boat, and what to do if you fall out. The girls learned the “Whitewater Swim Position,” for example, a technique of floating in whitewater where you face down stream and put your toes up out of the water (i.e. not standing up). The Nantahala is a popular introductory river providing just enough excitement over the eight miles of rafting it offers. It has a nice rhythm of more technical rapids- Patton’s Run, Delbar’s Rock, and the Falls -easier Class 1 rapids, and calm stretches when there’s bound to be a splash fight or a chance to jump in the cold water on purpose, just for the fun of it. Overall today we sent 82 people down the river. The weather was warm and sunny, and everyone had an excellent day.
Meanwhile back at camp, all of the activities were humming along. Girls were learning to read a map and compass, work a pair of knitting needles, dance new steps, paddle kayaks and canoes, shoot an arrow accurately, whirl a confident cartwheel, and tie some very complicated friendship bracelet knots. Everywhere at camp, girls are happy and busy! Between the morning activities, we have really been enjoying that lovely Rockbrook tradition, daily freshly-baked muffins, with blueberry, smore’s, lemon poppyseed, and cinnamon streusel varieties making appearances lately. What a treat!
If you read a list of the different things your girls can do while at Rockbrook, it would be too simplistic to think of these options like a restaurant menu, as items for sampling. Certainly the girls can try a wide range of activities, learning from and enjoying those experiences, but is that it? Is camp like a great meal that’s wonderful at the moment, but with no lasting good? Not at all! In fact camp provides amazingly powerful ways for girls to grow, in addition to being non-stop fun. The exciting activities of Rockbrook are the backdrop, almost like a container, for really important social, character, humane, practical and physical growth for our campers. I wrote about this in an earlier blog post about helping children grow (I hope you have time to read it), but it’s worth remembering that camp matters to these girls in profound and lasting ways. I’m confident you’ll see it when your girls return home. They’ll be just a little bit taller, in the best of ways.
Finally, we had an action packed all-camp activity after dinner tonight called “Gold Rush.” The girls came to dinner dressed in western costumes, and were surprised to learn that they would have to scour the camp searching for gold (gold plastic wiffle balls hidden in close to 100 different places). Each cabin had to stay together in their search. To make things more interesting, also stationed around the camp were “Bandits,” counselors who could steal a cabin’s collected gold if they couldn’t answer an RBC trivia question or perform a challenge task like sing a certain song. After an hour of so, we tallied the score to identity one cabin from each age group who would win a special prize. We also awarded prizes for costumes and enthusiasm, so in the end, we capped the game with everyone winning something. Good summer fun.