Two things come to mind when considering meals at Rockbrook. First, there is the food. Obviously, eating the fantastic meals Rick and his crew prepare for us is the ostensible reason we gather three times a day in the dining hall. For example, tonight everyone was giddy with excitement because dinner included a special Latin American dish, authentic Tamales. Made with finely ground corn, lime, oil and stock mixed into a paste, then combined with meats, peppers or cheese as fillings, each tamale is hand-stuffed into a corn husk. The kitchen crew shredded the chicken and cheese, made a Guajillo red sauce and a green salsa, spending hours stuffing, folding, and then steaming all of the Tamales. Such a delicious treat!
Beyond a time to eat excellent food, our meals are also events. They are special times when spontaneous fun is bound to happen. A whole cabin might come to lunch dressed for a beach party or ready to perform a song or short skit they invented. Naturally, there’s always a silly song to sing, often with hand motions, clapping or even banging on the table. Occasionally, we’ll have a dance break, where everyone stops eating, jumps up to boogie down to a recent pop song. Today lunch included Chase giving everyone in the dining hall a chance to “Spin the Wheel” of Fun. You can see the wheel in this photo, but it’s basically a clicker that when spun lands randomly on one section (think of the game show “Wheel of Fortune.”). Our wheel has things like “Candy” and “Muffins,” but also “Dress a Director” (devise a crazy costume for a Director to wear at the next meal), “Joy Ride” (ride around with Chase in the golf cart), and “Polar Bear” (jump in the lake early before breakfast). We spin the wheel only occasionally making it very exciting when we do. The whole camp stands up, and then using a series of criteria (for example, though these vary every time: hair in a ponytail, visited Europe, wearing green, have blue eyes, etc.) girls sit down or remain standing until only one person is left. When that lucky person finally spins the wheel, the whole dining hall holds its breath with anticipation and explodes with cheering when we find out the result. Spinning the wheel is a blast for everyone, even when it’s just one person spinning.
One of the climbs on Castle Rock, the big outcropping of granite above the dining hall on the Rockbrook property, is called “Dragon Tail.” It’s a short climb (maybe 25 feet), but is quite difficult because it requires a strenuous climbing move called a “layback.” You can see it in this photo. The climber lays back pulling an edge of the rock with her feet out in front of her. Dragontail is even more challenging because it requires you to switch from the layback position to a very small edge at the finish. For our intermediate and advanced climbers, it’s a tough, but exciting route.
The Hi-Ups took an impromptu waterfall hike today in the Dupont State Forest. We hiked about 4 miles altogether and along the way stopped to check out Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls (where this photo was taken; click it for a larger version). This part of Dupont Forest has become a very popular tourist destination, so recent improvements have made it easy to view these Falls from a distance and climb down to the base where you can feel the powerful, constant spray created by the falling water. It can be challenging to make your way over the slippery wet rocks— two girls slipped slightly, completely sinking one foot in the water! —but with extra care, we all made it past each obstacle… and now have some fantastic photos to prove it!
At the end of the session, on Wednesday afternoon (8/13), the campers will present a musical based on the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (which was in tern adapted from the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl). With auditions complete, now the main cast members are rehearsing during the first free swim periods before lunch. This photo shows them meeting in the Hillside Lodge and sitting in a circle while reading through a scene. The story of Willy Wonka has lots of characters (all those Oompa-Loompas!), some that sing, others that also deliver specific lines, and a few supporting roles. The directors have reserved a few of these roles for the mini session girls who will arrive on Sunday, making sure that we will have a full cast for the performance. Members of the tech crew have also started painting scenery, just as the vocal soloists are rehearsing their songs. It’s going to be a great show! If your daughter is one of the performers, our office will contact you so that you can make plans (if possible) to attend the camp’s performance (we nevertheless will also distribute to everyone a video recording of the performance).
Two other special events happened today, both of which were spontaneous, optional for everyone, and really fun for the girls who chose to attend. When cool, misty weather arrived during second free swim, the lifeguards announced a “Winter Wonderland Party” instead of swimming. Inside the Hillside Lodge, they built a glorious fire in the fireplace, had hot chocolate to drink, and broke out marshmallows to roast for s’mores. They played winter holiday music, cut snowflakes from colored construction paper, and had a wonderful time together, cozy in the Lodge. After dinner, during the “Twilight” period of free time, Kelly the camp gardener held a “Garden Gathering” down at the flower and vegetable garden. She introduced the girls to the plants growing and let everyone pick a few things. Soon we had a nice basket of carrots, squash, green beans, and a few cucumbers. Several girls also made bouquets of flowers to decorate their cabins back up in camp. It’s marvelous to stand next to a sunflower towering high above you, or to reach into the ground and pull out something you can eat. By the end, the girls were loaded down with produce and a true appreciation of gardening.
Here’s Amelia showing off what she gathered from the garden.