It’s the latest from Robbie Francis of Go Swan Filmworks. Late last week, Robbie spent a day filming at camp, and with his careful editing, has again produced a fascinating glimpse into camp life. You’ve seen the photos in our daily online gallery; now see (and hear) camp in action.
At less than 2 minutes, I think you’ll really enjoy watching.
Robbie Francis of Go Swan Filmworks spent another day this past week filming at Rockbrook, capturing some of the sweet interactions at the heart of our camp community. And now we have another of his fascinating 2-minute videos to enjoy.
Take a look! There are moments of accomplishment, true affection, spirit, and of course sheer happiness. Be sure to turn up the volume to enjoy the sounds of camp too.
Robbie Francis of Go Swan Filmworks spent another day this week filming at Rockbrook, quietly roaming the camp with his camera capturing some of the action. And now we have this fascinating 2-minute slice of life at camp to enjoy.
Take a look! There are moments of pride, heartfelt affection, joy, determination, and of course sheer exuberance. It’s hard not to smile while watching it.
During my time as an archery instructor this summer, I have noticed in some campers an expectation of high performance during their time on the range. Archery is a sport that requires an understanding of basic from when shooting, such as keeping your elbow up when you pull the bowstring back, keeping your feet parallel and a shoulder length apart, and keeping your arms straight. Often, if a shot does not land as expected campers can be quick to say “I’m not good at this” or “this is not for me” even after one or two tries. Admittedly, I have been this camper myself, and as I’ve transitioned from camper to counselor I have grown to recognize these kinds of perfectionistic tendencies in both myself and in campers.
Perfectionism, “a refusal to accept any standard short of perfection,” can be taught and internalized in children in many ways, especially in school where high achievement, high grades, and high standardized test scores are the expectation. Standards such as these are not inherently bad and can lead to greater success, but there can also be consequences that oftentimes lead children lacking confidence if they feel they aren’t achieving as well as they think they should be.
Camp is a place for girls to leave perfectionism behind. It is a place where mistakes are understood as a part of the process of life and learning. Without the added pressures from high expectations, campers live their camp life to the fullest, and in the most fun ways possible— and giving girls the confidence to decide for themselves how they want to spend their days here.
As a camper, I always felt at ease during my summers at camp. The pressures of home and performance never affected what I did here, and I was always supported in my endeavors, even if I felt I had made mistakes. Making something because I wanted to and not for anyone else was also a freeing feeling. Now as a counselor, I try to give campers the same support and ease. In pottery, when we make slab mugs some campers will say “I don’t like how this turned out, can I have a new slab?” to which my fellow instructor and I reply “just flip it over and start again!”. Even if the camper does not like what they’ve made at first, trying something new or turning a mistake in an intended design can make a piece look even better.
As a counselor, one of my favorite things to do is watch evening program camper skits. Certain nights the cabins on each line are given a wacky theme to create a skit around such as “Christmas in July” or “Moana meets Frozen”. Skits are a wonderful time for campers to let their creativity shine, design and wear funky costumes, and learn how to work together as a group. The campers never fail to come up with hilarious and out-of-the-box performances, and seeing the girls cracking up at their own antics during the skit and laughing together afterwards is always a delight. There is no right or wrong way to create a skit— no way to make it “perfect” —and I believe that is why the campers have so much fun making and performing them.
To conclude, at the start of this past rotation in Archery I was teaching a girl who, after a few arrows missed the target, claimed “I’m just not good enough at this.” However, as my co-instructor and I gave her a few tips and she got more used to shooting the bow, her aim became more accurate. At the end of class that day, four of her five arrows hit the white of the target and she cried with joy “I got them on the target! Look! I did it!” and she received congratulations and cheers from the other girls in the class. Today, that same camper got a bullseye! She was astonished and proud and we all cheered together. It was a great improvement from the first day of class, when she had expected a great shot on her first try. With guidance, practice, and confidence girls can do anything they set their minds to, and here at camp it is known that mistakes are just a part of learning.
There’s a comment I hear fairly often, I’d say several times a year— “I wish Rockbrook had a summer camp for adults.” Sometimes moms, and more rarely dads, look fondly on the camp experience their daughters are having, and can imagine themselves enjoying it too. It’s remarkable that this adult desire to experience camp can arise simply by witnessing camp life from afar. The photo gallery, occasional highlights videos, our social media posts, and this blog all paint an attractive picture, one that proves camp is great for the girls themselves, but also somehow is evocative for adults too. So how about it mom and dad? Do you want to go to camp?
On one level, I suspect most adults would say no. No thanks! Living at camp is too difficult and requires too many compromises we grown ups have come to happily avoid. Sleeping in a room with nine or more people, having the weather as a constant personal companion, relinquishing all technology (no smart phones, television, or news updates!), accepting limited food options, and being physically active most of the day, all sound like “roughing it,” and would most likely be unpleasant for the average adult. In these ways and others, camp is fun for kids, but most adults won’t get a kick out of bug juice, so to speak.
Perhaps the activities are what make some adults yearn for camp. They too want to shoot an arrow and a real gun, climb the high ropes course tower and a real rock, swim in the chilly lake and fly high in the trees on the zipline course. Many of the activities at Rockbrook look intrinsically rewarding— throwing a pot on the potter’s wheel, finding a weaving rhythm on one of the vintage floor looms, tying and dying a t-shirt, for example. What a nice change it would be from our mundane 9-5, to raft the Nantahala River, backpack and camp in the Pisgah Forest, or simply enjoy the mountain view high up on Castle Rock. For some adults, camp looks enjoyable because they could try all these activities that are ordinarily difficult to experience otherwise.
That seems too simple though, too much like an amusing holiday. Rockbrook parents know that camp isn’t just entertainment. In fact, some of what we do here isn’t fun at all, and yet the girls will tell you they love camp despite the chores, the bugs, and the challenges of being away from the comforts of home. As we’ve said before, campers embrace the difficult aspects of camp life because they are strengthened by the positive community culture of Rockbrook. Being included in a community of kind, caring and generous people helps ignite confidence and nurture resilience in everyone. The scary stuff just gets easier when you are so constantly and genuinely supported for who you really are.
Again, I believe it’s the special community here that explains why the girls at Rockbrook tend to feel so happy and relaxed throughout the day, breezily chatting and comfortably enjoying each other’s company. That’s why they make their best friends at camp. When you start with a collective spirit of positivity, and include regular moments of silliness and celebration, almost every day becomes a chance to laugh together, sing together, and grow closer no matter what the activities. There’s a certain presence that springs from all of this throughout the day. Life at camp feels somehow more real and more meaningful, rich with opportunities. At Rockbrook, we spend our days in ways that are simply very, very good.
In some ways then, we adults long for camp days because we recognize their inherent good. As the routine working world demands we maximize productivity and efficiency, camp represents a place where we can put our relationships with people first, a cultural haven defined by values that foster wonderful details and beautiful surprises. Just as it is for our children, we’d like to experience these same sorts of camp days. After all, we know there’s a life well-lived to be found among camp days. A camp like this… for adults… that would be nice.
This is the fourth year that Robbie Francis of Go Swan Filmworks is visiting camp to film and present a series of highlights videos.
We’ve had great feedback from parents about Robbie’s past productions. He can film for one day and beautifully capture much of the action, and many of the sweet moments at camp. In under two minutes, you can really tell how these Rockbrook girls are loving camp.
Robbie filmed this past week and now we have his first video of this session. Once again, he’s made something special, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Robbie Francis, our amazing videographer, returned to camp this week to film another of his wonderful highlights videos. In just under two minutes, the video beautifully captures the feel of our days at camp. Each time you watch it, you’ll see something new— a new caring interaction, a genuinely happy and peaceful smile, or the simplest expression of friendship. It’s fascinating!
Take a look, and let us know what you think. …or use that share button! 🙂
We’re thrilled to have Robbie Francis of Go Swan Filmworks visiting camp again throughout the summer to film and present a series of highlights videos.
For three years now, we’ve had great feedback from parents about Robbie’s videos. After filming for one day, it’s incredible how he captures all the action at camp, what life here sounds like, and a sense of how happy the girls are. And all boiled down to just two minutes!
Robbie filmed on Wednesday and now we have his first video. As usual, it’s great fun and I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Today we saw more evidence of just how quickly your girls have taken to life at camp. It’s just the first day of activities, and everywhere we look, both the new and returning campers are having a great time with each other. At all the craft activities, hands were busily creating, weaving, painting, pressing clay, trying new friendship bracelets, and decorating all sorts of things. There were balls bouncing on the tennis courts, in the gym for basketball, and out on the gaga ball court. Girls climbed all three sides of the Alpine Tower while others took wild rides through the trees on our zipline course. Girls stretched and posed in the yoga class and made up improvised scenes in the drama activity. Dozens of arrows and .22 caliber ammunition were (respectively!) shot at archery and riflery targets. The sound of the diving board thumping and water splashing all day meant the lake saw lots of action too. Camp life was buzzing with action.
Add to that an absolutely perfect day of weather— brilliant blue skies and sunshine all day, no rain, low humidity and a high temperature barely above 80 degrees —and being here in the mountains was wonderful. Did you know that you can always check the weather conditions here at camp by visiting our weather station on Weather Underground? On our station page you can find real-time and historical data, as well as weather forecasts for our area.
Today was also the first day out on the water for our kayak camp girls and their instructors. The girls practiced their “wet exit” maneuvers (escaping from a kayak after it turns upside down) in the lake yesterday as a refresher, and spent time double checking their boats before loading a van and trailer with other paddling equipment, camping gear and food for their first two-day river trip. These girls already knew each other from camp last summer and had already spent a good amount of time paddling together, so right away they were excited to be set for the next week of river trips. Their plan is to paddle a different river everyday, so we’ll keep you posted about their progress.
Describing all the action, the activity that enlivens camp, like this might give you the wrong impression. The busyness is not stressful or burdensome. Just the opposite; there’s a carefree element to it. The girls are relaxing as they play. They’re loosening up while getting to know each other. They’re not rushed from one thing to another. Our daily schedule builds in free time and snack breaks (our famous muffin break in the morning, for example), and has an easy pace. We eat great food, get plenty of rest, and spend the majority of our day outside. There’s time for conversation all day long, time for silliness, dressing up, and a good laugh with friends. A camper told me today that she loves camp because “it’s so chill.” I think she’s noticing and appreciating the relaxed pace of life at camp, especially in contrast to life at school.
I suspect that’s true for lots of girls at Rockbrook. However ironic, they love the relaxed feeling along with the variety of action built into the rhythms of camp life. What a great way to recharge and enjoy yourself. Your girls are already thanking you.
So called “camp people” always struggle to convey why they love camp so much. “Non-camp people” see the cool activities, beautiful settings, and can imagine all the fun each day brings, but they often don’t understand the deep emotional bond campers feel toward their camp and toward each other. There’s a whole episode of This American Life devoted to this very topic, in fact.
Well, here’s something else that can help: the last of our highlights videos (1:58) for this summer. Robbie Francis of Go Swan Filmworks returned to camp to film last Saturday and has produced this delightful window into the culture of Rockbrook, the giggles, encouragement, contented smiles, and engaged living we all enjoy.