Smiling Set the Tone

George Peterson Workshop

Today we were lucky to have George Peterson present a woodworking workshop to our campers. George is a professional artist who lives here in Brevard with his two daughters (who come to Rockbrook) and his wife Margaret (who also attended Rockbrook as a girl). He is a woodworker, carving, etching and painting both sculptural and functional pieces of wood. He’s been producing art for more that 25 years and has shown his work in galleries around the world (in Japan recently, for example) and across the US. Take a look at his Website and you can see the bowl he turned for the White House, plus several other photos of his amazing work. He makes gorgeous stuff.

Girls Woodworking results

George and Margaret have held wood turning workshops for us in previous summers. This year, to try something new, he invited our groups to his studio and demonstrated how to take chips from old skateboards and make cool pendant jewelry. The skateboards are made from layers of different colored wood, so when cut at an angle, the chips become multicolored. Then, using a vibrating carving tool, the girls cut patterns and groves giving their pieces even more texture and interest. George helped them use a drill press to drill a couple of holes and a metal brand to burn the letters “RBC” into one side of each piece. Another option was to hammer in a couple of steel or copper tacks, adding some shine to the jewelry. A little sanding polishing and buffing, plus a dip into clear mineral oil shined everything up and really accented the different colors and textures of the carvings and metal. The girls learned about using the different tools, and ended up with a really nice handmade piece of art they can wear proudly.

Time enjoying all the regular activities filled the day, with girls chatting on the back porch of Curosty doing needle point, while others flew by on the zipline course. A leisurely hike to Rockbrook Falls (one of the big waterfalls on the RBC property) and another more difficult hike to the top of Castle Rock, the massive rock cliff high above the dining hall, were also options this morning. Rehearsals for this session’s camp musical, which the girls will present next week on Wednesday, are happening during both Free Swim periods (before lunch and dinner). And, of course we’ve been loving the fresh baked muffins every morning between activity periods. The “Confetti” flavor today was a huge hit.

Swing dance partner
Happy square dancing girl

The big event of the day, however, was the dance we had with the boys at Camp High Rocks, located just a short drive away from Rockbrook. All of the Middlers and Seniors made the trip (in 12 vans and buses!), while the Juniors stayed in camp for a campfire with storyteller Susan Huter. Instead of a disco-ball, pop music dance, the High Rocks boys hosted a square dance outdoors on their tennis courts. Now you might think that this sounds too old fashioned to be fun for a group of 11- to 16-year-old girls. In fact, several of our campers expressed that same sort of doubt in the van ride over, but once they gave it a try, heard the music, and realized that everyone was inexperienced and prone to “mess up” the moves, the girls found they were having a great time. There’s much less girl/boy pressure in this setting. It’s more lighthearted, friendly and conversational. Laughing and smiling set the tone. A short break for cookies and peach lemonade helped recharge everyone partway through, and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye and ride back down the mountain to Rockbrook. I think most of the girls would agree, even after their initial hesitation about square dancing, the whole evening was friendly and relaxed, and terrific.  It is nice to see that even these modern, technology and pop culture fueled, girls can enjoy something as traditional, humanly simple, as square dancing. That’s another great thing about camp; it’s a wonderful reminder of how something basic can also be delightful.

Square Dance Kids

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