A Colorful Extravaganza

It’s the 4th of July! As the sun rose behind the hill and the morning fog begin to lift, the girls were surprised to hear, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” yelled from the riding staff while on horseback. That staff woke and decorated their horses for this fun tradition of riding down the cabin lines for a unique wake up call. The whole camp then assembled around the flag pole to raise the colors, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and sing “America the Beautiful.” The Hi-Ups had decorated the dining hall with all sorts of banners, streamers, and other red, white and blue decorations. The campers were ready with their own colorful outfits as well, so when we gathered for breakfast, it was a multi-layered extravaganza of those three colors.

horses in camp morningCamp girls 3-legged relay racenewspaper swimming relay raceAfter a regular set of activities in the morning, which were made even more fun and colorful given all the red, white and blue being worn, our 4th of July celebration kicked into an all-camp series of contests and relays. We first squared off for a pie eating contest, with campers and counselors from each age group trying to be the first to gobble up a small apple of cherry pie.

All the girls next took turns racing to be first in relays at the lake and in the gym. There was the crab walk, the wheel barrow, and the three-legged race relays, dizzy-lizzy bat relay, a hula hooping challenge, and a hilarious egg toss. Another funny relay was the costume race where each team had to put on several articles of clothing and then race to let another team member remove and wear those same clothes.

At the lake, the athleticism and spirit of the day continued with more relays.  There was a classic swimming relay, and another where the girls used kickboards and kicking to move through the water.  We had to have a greased watermelon race also. There was the sponge relay across the water and another fun challenge that got the girls swimming with one arm as they held up a newspaper to keep it dry. All this action meant the snow cone machine ran constantly as we all cheered for our lines.

You can see from this last photo that another part of the event was a chance for very elaborate face painting, again using those three familiar colors. Legs and arms (and in some cases both!), as well as faces were their canvases. As the afternoon rolled on, it was hard to find someone without some kind of red, white and blue proudly displayed.

Dinner was out of this world good!  Rick had spent the last three days slow roasting beef brisket to make barbecue sandwiches.  He had corn on the cob, fresh cool watermelon, homemade coleslaw to round out the plate.  Following and old RBC tradition, he also served cans of Cheerwine chilled in the creek near Curosty. For dessert they brought out “spirit pies,” small, individual pies of whipped cream, a strawberry, and blueberries decorating the top. Light and delicious!

The finale of the day came after dark when all the campers brought their Crazy Creek chairs out to the hill for a dance party and fireworks show.  Chase passed out glow sticks for everyone, and with fun, dance music pumping, the 30 minutes of amazing fireworks really topped the day.

camp girls with faces painted

A Huge 4th

Campers awoken by horses near their cabinsToday, the 4th of July, was an absolutely HUGE day at camp. First of all, I can’t help but mention the weather because it was beautiful— clear blue skies, low humidity, and a high temperature of 79 degrees. It was downright chilly in the morning (about 62 degrees) when we had a very special wake up call. The seven riding staff members, dressed in their best red, white and blue, rode horses up into camp and, on cue, down each of the lines yelling “The British are coming! Wake up! Wake up!” (a reference to Paul Revere’s ride in April of 1775). Awoken by the sounds of hoof beats and these warnings, and dressed in fleeces or wrapped in blankets to stay warm, the whole camp assembled on the hill around the flagpole where the Hi-Ups raised the flag and led us in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and singing “America the Beautiful.”

On a day like this, you know what to wear… anything and everything red, white and blue. Last night a group of counselors stayed up late and decorated the dining hall with streamers, balloons, table decorations and flags. Also a surprise for the campers, we had red, white and blue hats, headbands, temporary tattoos and bead necklaces on the tables for everyone to embellish their own costumes, and boost their patriotic spirit.

Camper dressed for 4th July Camp Girl in Red White Blue USA Flag in Hair of Girl Camper

In the dining hall, for both breakfast and lunch, the girls couldn’t help but further express their enthusiasm for the holiday by singing songs like “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Firework,” and Yankee Doodle Dandy.” At one point a whole cabin stopped eating to yell “Happy Birthday America!” followed by cheers from everyone else. These girls do have spirit!

Camp girl making a USA basketCamp holding USA flag on ziplineA tour of the camp activities this morning proved this spirit was high everywhere, with patriotic  decorations being more normal than not. For example, at the creek by the Curosty cabin, Melanie and the girls were weaving red, white and blue baskets. Feet soaking in the creek with the reeds and plenty of sunshine brightening the scene, the girls produced some really cool baskets. At the zipline, Rita brought along small flags for the girls to wave as they flew down the cable. Zip after zip, the blur of red, white and blue was spectacular to see. Over in Hodge Podge, the girls were likewise leaning pretty heavily on 4th of July colors for their tie dye t-shirt designs.

Following Rest Hour, we continued this theme with everyone joining in for an afternoon of group relays down on our grassy sports field. We first divided all the campers and counselors, mixing the Lines, into three groups. Each took a color— yes, again red, white or blue —and using tempera body paint and the how they dressed, built a unified team, complete with a rallying chant or cheer.  Split like this, the camp made up three teams of approximately 95 people.

Camper running sponge race Campers running 3-legged race Camper carrying egg on spoon racing

Once assembled on the field, again with simply superb weather, Chase and Grace organized at least a dozen different relay races matching representatives from each team. While 10 or so girls from each team competed in a relay, the others cheered them on. It was exciting to watch classic relays like the 3-legged race, the egg (on a spoon) carry, and the crab walk. We also had teams square off for an egg toss, a water balloon toss, and a cracker eating race. Other groups raced across the field carrying an orange under their chins, and others carrying a water-soaked sponge trying to fill up a bucket.  Interestingly, even though these were races, and it was very exciting for your team to win a particular relay, nobody paid much attention to the overall score. In the end, who “won” seemed irrelevant to the girls. I think they were having too much fun to worry about that sort of thing. Finally, all that racing around warmed us up enough to make the final surprise feel really great. Richie borrowed a fire truck from his Volunteer Fire Department and using the water cannon, created the largest sprinkler you’ve ever seen. He shot a spray of water about 40 feet in the air so the girls could run around and shower off a bit under it.

Cookout food at camp 4th picnicEating cookout picnic on Hill at summer campDinner tonight, taking great advantage of our huge charcoal grill, started with hamburgers, hotdogs and grilled chicken, plus homemade coleslaw, corn on the cob and freshly sliced watermelon loading down our plates. Then, tapping into another camp tradition, the girls also enjoyed a cold soda that was chilled in the stream. The hill in the center of camp makes the perfect place for an evening picnic as it slopes to present a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Topping off the meal, Katie (with some help from the Hi-Ups) made us all patriotic cupcakes— red, white and blue, each with a tiny American Flag stuck in the top. It was such a nice evening together… great food, perfect weather, fun music playing, and so many of our very best friends.

A huge fireworks show at Rockbrook CampCamp girl with statue of LibertyLeah surprised everyone after dinner by dressing up like the Statue of Liberty, complete with a crown, matching green-copper-colored dress and torch. This then led to girls wanting to have their picture taken with our Lady Liberty. It was a spontaneous photo shoot with the Statue of Liberty. And she was so nice! 🙂

As night fell, anticipation grew for our fireworks show, the finale of the day. All the girls and their counselors pulled out crazy creek chairs on the hill so they could have a view of the sky above the lake where we launch everything. Armed with flashlights and glow sticks, and bopping along to the upbeat music Stephanie and Chase had selected, the girls cheered after every colorful blast.

This has been one of the best 4th of July celebrations at camp in recent memory. So great in fact, it’s hard to think of a way that it could have been any better.

 

4th of July… Camp Style

Watermelon PicnicThe 4th of July began with everyone waking up to the sound of horses running down the cabin lines, and the equestrian staff yelling “The British are coming; wake up; wake up!!” Dressed in festive red, white and blue, the riders and their horses made quite a scene. The entire camp stumbled out of their cabins and made their way to hill for a quick flag raising ceremony, ending with everyone reciting the pledge of allegiance.

The rest of the day we enjoyed our regular camp activities… crafts, outdoor adventure, sports, horseback riding.  Then for dinner, Rick prepared an excellent cookout of burgers, corn, chips and watermelon.  We all sat and ate on the hill, and since we had some music playing, sang and danced too.  It was a nice way to spend the  evening.

Capping off the day, everyone gathered again on the hill for a great fireworks display. For about 20 minutes bangs and colorful flashes in the sky entertained us before turning in for the night.  Overall, it was a great day of all-camp activities and holiday celebration fun.