Take a casual stroll around camp at any time, and you’ll get a good sense of how this is the good life. You’ll see happy girls everywhere. You’ll meet caring and engaged counselors, and find genuine enthusiasm spilling out from every activity area. It’s remarkable how quickly this spontaneous spirit has appeared. At archery you’ll see it when the girls cheer for each other after a shot hits the target. You’ll discover it at the Alpine Tower when a camper makes it to the top platform. Among the weavers in Curosty, it’ll be clear from the conversations bubbling up while the girls work the looms. The poses at Yoga, the canoe strokes at the lake, the backhands on the tennis courts, the careful protocols and aim at the riflery range—together, there seems to be a natural rhythm to camp now. It’s fascinating to see all this supportive energy and the connections it’s forming.
Here’s a photo of two girls on a trip to the “Nest.” What’s the nest? It’s a special spot up in the forest above camp where a group of girls can hang up hammocks. You get there by hiking up the hill along the trail to Castle Rock. Partway up, you will find a unique cave-like feature where the rock overhangs and creates a large, dry area. We have drilled multiple rock hangers into the rock there, providing enough space for up to 14 hammocks to be strung in different directions. Along with a book, journal or friendship bracelet making supplies, and a water bottle, each girl carries a hammock and set of straps to this spot. The hammocks are a fun challenge to set up, and the cave-like feature makes this a great spot to relax and enjoy the forest, comfortably in the shade and fully sheltered from the rain. This is another of the trip options available for the girls, and something unique to the Rockbrook Camp property.
Down in the woodworking shop the girls are working on cutting boards. It’s a multi-step process that begins by measuring a plank of wood and cutting it into a rough shape using a hand saw. For these small cutting boards, the next step is to use a rasp to round its edges. In this photo you can see what will become the finished board clamped in a bench vice. Sanding and finishing will come later. It’s wonderful to see these kids explore these skills and enjoy the process of working with wood.
Tonight we took our first trip of the summer to Sliding Rock, and it was a great one. It involved all of our vans and buses to transport 90 of us up and into the Pisgah Forest. With our own lifeguards on duty, we slid two-by-two down the 60-foot natural water slide formed by Looking Glass Creek. The campers loved it! They screamed, cheered, and smiled as they slid down the rock. The water at Sliding Rock averages about 55 degrees, so you can imagine the eye-popping feeling of that last plunge into the pool at the bottom. It’s a classic mountain experience that we love at Rockbrook. Most girls were able to slide three or four times before our daylight faded and it was time for us to gather all our things and head to Dolly’s Dairy Bar for the last stop of the evening.
Of course, we all look forward to this treat. The ice cream really is top notch, and after tasting it, most everyone agrees with what one camper exclaimed, “This is the best ice cream in the world!” Whether it’s Rockbrook Chocolate Illusion or another camp flavor, a frozen sweet treat after riding down a waterfall is the perfect way to end the night. It was a little late by the time we got back to camp, but as the girls headed up the hill to their cabins, I could tell they were happy and content. Where else can they feel the chill of a mountain stream and the warmth of true friendship at the same time? That’s right— at camp.