Open the gate! It’s time for camp to begin! Yes, as we welcomed our first session campers this morning, we officially launched Rockbrook’s 2017 summer season. The cabin counselors had just finished their week-long orientation and training, and were eager to finally meet their campers. The maintenance crew had just finished up a few improvement projects (more about that later), along with the regular grass cutting and sweeping (so many porches!). The kitchen staff had fired every oven, stocked the pantry and walk-in cooler, and was set to reveal its daily scrumptious surprises. The nurses had stocked the first aid kits (more than 30 of those!), prepped the infirmary ward, and reviewed the health histories of everyone attending this session. Keeping an eye on all of it, the directors checked off a few things on “their list” and answered questions as everyone made their last-minute preparations. We were ready.
With all this preparation, it’s easy to understand how we are all so excited for opening day. You probably got a good sense of that when you drove in this morning and saw the smiling faces, cheering counselors, and bubbling, buzzing activity on the hill. As campers arrived and raced from their cars, the atmosphere built all morning. Once again, about 80% of the campers this session are returning girls who attended Rockbrook in the past, so these families recognized the quick check-in procedure and happily spread throughout the camp helping get the cabins settled. By 10:30am we already had 100 campers in place, and already making a friendship bracelet, taking a hike to Rockbrook Falls, and pairing up with old and new friends to explore the camp a bit. The whole morning seemed relaxed and natural as the camp came alive with all these excited people.
Rick our long-time kitchen manager and head chef wowed us all with his homemade mac-n-cheese for lunch. A few girls chose the gluten-free, vegan version he also made, but everyone seemed more than pleased with their warm, heaping slices of this comfort food… even more so when the temperature dropped and it began to rain while we were eating. That was perfect timing for a little rain to arrived because we could finish our meal and the girls could return to their cabins for their first cabin-meeting while the rain passed. That’s the typical rain event around here; a storm moves through and fairly soon afterwards passes by and we’re back to brighter weather. By the way, if you are ever curious about the weather at camp, we have a fun new way for you to check it. We installed a weather station in the heart of camp that measures temperature, humidity, rain and wind and then reports that real-time data to several online weather sites, the most popular being Weather Underground. Go to this link for Rockbrook Camp Weather information and forecasts on the web. Along with current conditions, there are historical graphs and radar maps there too. If you have an iPad, here is an app that shows all of this data with a slick graphical interface (You’ll need our station ID: KNCBREVA27).
With the rain cleared, the rest of the afternoon and evening unfolded smoothly. Cabin groups toured the camp, enjoyed get-to-know-you games, and learned, or re-learned, several camp songs. An Austrian Went Yodeling! Meanwhile, whole age groups arrived at the lake for their aquatics orientation. There the lifeguards introduced our tag system and explained how our “swim demonstration” works. This year, all of the campers receive color-coded “swim necklaces” that correspond to one of three swimming abilities: Blue, which indicates a swimmer with no restrictions, Green, which requires a life jacket if swimming in the deeper section of the lake, and yellow for those girls uncomfortable in the water and who should stay in the shallow area of the lake with a life jacket on. Our swimming staff is quick to encourage girls to work on their swimming skills and perhaps advance levels, but for everyone the lake is a refreshing, fun experience.
The other important task for the day, again focused on orienting the campers to the camp, our activities, and to each other (!), was to learn about this summer’s activity offerings and instructors. The campers will be selecting their activities this evening, so they must first learn about the options. This brought us all to the gym where the activity instructors presented skits and songs describing the offerings. We all sat in our Crazy Creek chairs on the floor and laughed and clapped for the staff performances.
Camp is ready; the staff is excited and ready, and now the campers are more than ready for the action to begin. Let’s get to it!