It seems like the weather is on everyone’s mind these days, everywhere except here at camp. While it’s been hitting triple digits for many cities in the southeast, Rockbrook has defied the forecasters and just today crept into the nineties. In fact, if you ask our Rockbrook girls about camp, they probably won’t mention needing air conditioning or feeling burdened by the humidity. That’s probably in part because it still very predictably cools off at night, reaching into the 60s, and making it comfortable sleeping conditions in the open-air cabins, but it’s also because, from the girls’ perspective, what we’re doing at camp -all of the adventure trips, in-camp activities, and special surprises- fills the day so completely. We haven’t slowed down one bit because of the weather. If anything, the girls are more fully engaged- shooting, riding, climbing, painting, hiking, tying, decorating, floating, and zipping all day long. It’s incredible to consider that all of it is happening simultaneously!
Another reason the girls seem oblivious to the weather is how well we all are eating thanks to Rick’s kitchen magic. Each meal brings out a surprise item, whether it’s the freshly baked chocolate chip scones for breakfast, the secret-recipe guacamole that accompanied our famous “taco lunch” yesterday, or the mountain of homemade smashed red potatoes he prepared with chicken tenders and green beans for dinner. He has also been serving an endless supply of fresh fruit at every meal- awesome strawberries, local sweet blackberries, watermelon, peaches, and of course bananas and apples available 24/7 out on the dining hall porch. Oh, I should mention the wild muffin flavor we had today: oatmeal, date, pistachio. Maybe a little on the healthy side, but I heard from several girls they liked them just fine.
You may have noticed that Rockbrook is an accredited camp, that we have agreed to meet or exceed more than 300 industry standards as defined by the American Camp Association. Among summer camps in America, these define the best health and safety practices for all aspects of a camp’s operation, facilities, programing, and staff qualifications. This accreditation requires an on-site visit to demonstrate and/or document compliance, and today was Rockbrook’s ACA visit (“inspection,” though they don’t like to call it that!). You’ll be pleased to know that our two visitors were very impressed with Rockbrook. After touring the entire facility, examining most of the activities, and reviewing a 5-inch thick folder of documents describing our policies and procedures, we sailed right through everything. This isn’t too surprising since we’ve done this well for years now (We were one of the first camps in the area to become ACA accredited back in the 1980s.), but it’s nice to strut our stuff a little and receive this kind of praise.
Wrapping up the day, local master storyteller Gary Greene visited camp for a campfire program of songs, stories and skits. As the sun set across the valley and the campfire crackled, the Middlers and Juniors joined Gary singing a few songs and acting out characters in a couple of his stories. Gary really knows how to focus a crowd, even when it’s about 100 little girls all under 12 years old! Meanwhile, the Senior girls were holding an “open mic” coffee house in their lodge. This was a chance for girls to sing or play an instrument, recite a poem, perform a dance or tell a brief story with their friends. Every performance, no matter how poised or polished, was wildly received with the whole line whooping and clapping at the end. To me that was another example of how supportive and encouraging the girls at Rockbrook are toward each other, how much they’ve grown closer and become good friends. For the typical teenager, that can be a big deal… To be accepted and included, in an important way, loved by her peers. Camp is a community with that power and that spirit. Seeing it action is always a real treat.