It’s been a long standing practice here at Rockbrook to ask parents for feedback after their daughters attend a session of camp. It helps us understand what went well, areas where we can improve, and aspects of camp they particularly appreciate and value. We’ve learned a lot over the years and made improvements based on this feedback.
A recent parent comment caught my eye because it was a little unusual. One mother said she believes Rockbrook’s size, it’s intimate feeling, was important to her child’s success at camp. When this mom was “camp shopping,” she explained she wanted the best small girls’ camp, a camp where her daughter would feel cared for, not just be taken care of “like by a babysitter.” It’s true we have intentionally kept Rockbrook the same size for years, even when we could be adding cabins and accepting more girls. We know there is something special about joining a small community like this where you know most of the people you see, and have regular opportunities to deepen your relationships with them. Too small would limit what we do and who we can meet, but too big would be worse, likewise limiting the quality of our relationships and reducing camp to mere supervision and entertainment (again like what a babysitter provides).
This mom put her finger on one of the things we value most at Rockbrook— getting to know each other and caring for everyone through kindness and generosity. She attributed it to our size, and while that’s important, we also strive to hire and train our staff accordingly, and to set that overall tone throughout each session of camp. Like an essential current flowing through the camp community, the deep relationships, the quality of the friendships, we have with everyone makes camp life meaningful, emotional, and beautiful. We’re so pleased it’s a powerful component of every Rockbrook experience.
This afternoon, a van of girls had the chance to visit the working studio of Ann Dergara for a print making workshop. Ann is a professional sculptor, painter and print maker who lives here in Brevard, and today she was teaching the girls about “monoprints.” Using a clean plate of plexiglass, she demonstrated how to apply different layers of colorful ink, add subtle textures and then imprint the design to a sheet of paper using a large rolling press. After the demonstration, the girls eagerly jumped into making their own monoprint. Since only one print can be made from each inked plate, the results are unique pieces of art. When each piece emerged from the press, the girls clapped and cheered to see their work come alive. We saw proud artists today!
Here’s one last thing I’d like to share. It’s a large poster of paper we saved from one of our weekly staff meetings. Ordinarily held on Sunday evenings, these meetings gather all the cabin counselors for discussions of how things are going, further training, and an opportunity to enjoy time together. You can see (click the image for a larger version), this sheet asked the counselors why they love their campers. Here are some of the responses:
- They are silly, enthusiastic and super sweet.
- They LOVE camp.
- They’re nice to each other.
- They are inclusive.
- They have such amazing passion and inspire me everyday.
- They are confident.
- They are always looking out for each other.
- They get along so well and are the coolest gals around.
- They are learning.
- They are so funny, kind, and thankful.
- They make me laugh.
- They are proactive sorting out their interpersonal problems.
- They challenge me and help me grow.
- They aren’t afraid to be goofy.
It’s so great hearing how much the counselors admire their campers, how the girls here give the staff’s experience more meaning, emotion and beauty. It’s amazing how proud the counselors are of the campers, how impressed they are by them, and how thankful they are to be their friends at camp. For the staff too, one of the richest rewards of camp is the quality of the relationships formed here. So clear and so cool!