Hey is that sunshine? It sure is! Late this morning, the last bit of drizzle and cloud cover broke up to reveal gorgeous blue skies and (finally!) a bright warm sun. It felt like a celebration. The girls poured out into the sunshine, eager to get back to their outdoor activities. The lake soon had girls swimming, wading and floating about, the Alpine Tower saw girls climbing and doing tricks on the rope when lowered down, and the tennis courts filled with girls smacking forehands and backhands. I have a hunch that every towel in the camp is wet or at least damp at this point, but now we can begin to dry things out in the sun. Plus it will only be a couple of days before the laundry goes out. Thankfully!
Another exciting celebration surprised the girls right after lunch: the arrival of the Dolly’s Trolley and what we call the “Biltmore Train.” In past years, this tradition of an outdoor ice cream extravaganza, where the girls can have multiple scoops of ice cream, involved our counselors hand dipping the cones, but now that our favorite ice cream shop has a truck, we thought it would be a special treat to have the trolley come to camp and serve a few of the delicious Dolly’s flavors (like “Rockbrook Chocolate Illusion” of course). Part of the fun of the Biltmore Train, is the train of campers it creates as the girls get back in line for a second, even third scoop, assuming their cone remains (mostly) intact. The girls eat their ice cream, retaining as much of the cone as possible, and then join the end of the train to receive another scoop. Eventually, the cone disintegrates, creating a natural end to the refills. As the girls made their way back to the window for another scoop, it was fun for them to try a new flavor, and since it was Dolly’s ice cream and they were enjoying it with their cabin mates on the sunny Rockbrook hill, this was the best Biltmore Train ever.
After dinner, a few counselors announced that during “twilight,” the period of free time before evening program starts, they would be having a dance party in the gym— an impromptu, all-girl dance. Like all announced twilight activities (there’s a different one every night), this was optional to attend, but there must be some pent-up dance energy around here, because almost the whole camp ran down to the gym ready to dance. It seemed like everything in the camp came to a stop so we could all jump around and sing to a few songs. It lasted only about an hour, but was a great expression of exuberance and community joy… So fun and exciting for the girls. You couldn’t help but smile to see it!
Finally, I want to pass along an article that was recently published in the New York Post by Eric Spitznagel, “What your kid needs to learn at summer camp.” And here’s a hint; they don’t need to learn “career-path skills” that will “give them a competitive edge” back at school. The article claims kids benefit most, not from a specialty camp like a “STEM Camp,” but from a traditional summer camp experience, like what Rockbrook provides your girls. The gains here are more fundamental. A traditional camp teaches children core “building blocks for lifelong resilience.” It encourages campers to develop aspects of their character, in particular those that define their relationships with other people. As I’ve put it before, “camp is about heart.” The article provides a few interesting examples of how a traditional camp experience can have a profound effect on a young person. We’ve seen it many times over at Rockbrook, so it’s nice to read this kind of endorsement.