Who does not remember the excitement and nerves that came with your first summer camp dance? Multiple generations of Rockbrook Girls have participated in this summer ritual. The dances originally were held in our Dining Hall (see photo above) but are currently held in our Gymnasium. They are usually held once or twice a session, the dates of which are a highly guarded secret. The Hi- Up campers get to announce the dance to the camp and the reaction is quite loud and boisterous. It is a very light and fun experience with everyone dancing together, laughing and being silly. For those who are not interested in participating we also offer a separate activity that is equally fun! Feel free to share with us any camp dance stories that you have- we would love to hear them!
Juniors dance! The dance activity, which meets in the Lakeview Lodge, is popular for every age group at camp. Partly this is because Lindsey has come up with different, age-appropriate, dances for the Juniors, Middlers and Seniors, but also because the girls are really learning some cool moves. One wall of the Lodge is lined with mirrors making it easy to watch as Lindsey demonstrates a certain dance sequence, and for the group to watch themselves as they try it as well. As they master each dance move and string them together, they’ve got a great show. In fact, during the intermission of the camp play performance, each age group will perform their dance for the rest of the camp.
Today was another day that included several tours of camp, families who visited Rockbrook to tour it so they could see the camp and meet some of the people here— the directors, the counselors and the campers. It’s always a delight for us to show folks around Rockbrook. Families are certainly impressed by the camp’s buildings (the stone lodges for example) and grounds, and they are excited to learn about the wide variety of activities we offer, but it’s particularly nice when they pick up on the feeling of life at Rockbrook. My favorite comment today was, “Everyone seems so happy and friendly.” It’s true; as you walk around camp, you can’t get far without someone greeting you and saying hello. It’s just easy to make friends here, so that makes Rockbrook stand out as being friendly too.
The equestrian staff organized a fun event for the campers that combined, like a lot of things around here, music, dancing, dressing up and a heap of imagination. It also, however, included some horses because it was a pop music “air band” and “lip sync” competition based on different horses playing the parts of pop stars like Katy Perry, Lady GaGa and Taylor Swift. The girls dressed the horses with paint, ribbons, beads, braided tails, glitter and even lipstick, and then came up with a dance for each. The campers then were the backup singers for each artist (horse!) as they performed for the “judges” (Audrey and Sarah). It was very fun for the girls and very cute to see.
After dinner tonight, we played a camp-wide game of “Clue.” Like the board game, there was a mystery to solve that involved the players, in this case all the cabin groups, moving from room to room collecting clues. For us, the cabin groups tromped all over the camp looking for clues. They went to the tennis courts, the gym, the store, the different lodges, and so forth. At each place a character from the game (a counselor dressed as Mrs. White, Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard, etc.) would first require the cabin group to accomplish a task like inventing an RBC cheer, or everyone telling a joke, or untangling a human knot. After successfully completing the challenge task, they were given the clue that would send them on to the next location. Ultimately, after performing all the tasks and solving all the clues/riddles, the groups were led back to the dining hall for prizes and treats. Wow, what a game! It required great cabin group cooperation and imagination, and got the whole camp moving. Big fun on a Saturday night.
Receiving mail at camp is a huge deal to the campers. Everyday, someone from our office drives to the Brevard P.O. and wheels out a shopping cart full of cards and letters addressed to the girls at RBC. Even with our “no package” policy, there are usually a couple of hundred pieces per day! Then during lunch, we sort the mail and deliver it to the campers’ mailboxes so it will be ready once they’re dismissed from lunch. It’s always so exciting to check your box and see something there. Part of this excitement, I think, has something to do with the simple (mostly) technology-free living we enjoy at camp. Being away from screens and the external stimulation they provide, camp is more immediately interactive. It emphasizes real relationships and sensuous experiences, but is also completely “here and now” and relies very little on the outside world. Receiving mail reminds us of what’s going on outside in the “real world.” It provides some reassurance that everything is fine back home and it’s OK being at camp. Mail shows us that the folks back home are just as excited we are about us having this much fun at camp. Oh, and can you see why a real, hand-written letter is vastly superior to a “quick email?” Mail can really mean a lot!
Today was a perfect summer day (warm, dry and sunny) for a perfect camp day (packed with action, plenty of giggles, and bright-eyed surprises). Clyde, Kristen and Abby took a group of Middlers out kayaking on the French Broad River. Jeff and Leslie took a big group of Juniors hiking to John Rock in the Pisgah National Forest. Thalia offered one of her very popular yoga classes to the seniors. Everyone paused for a cinnamon streusel muffin. And then it was back to weaving baskets in the creek near Curosty, working on backhands on the tennis courts, flips in gymnastics, and climbing to the top of Castle Rock. There always seems to be time to squeeze in a quick game of tetherball too. During the free swim time before dinner, the new water slide was running nonstop.
Tonight’s evening program marked the return of Auction, a special all-camp event we haven’t had in a few years. This session we went traditional and decided to make it a “Western” themed event. This meant all the girls came dressed in their best western garb… cowboy hats, boots, overalls, hair bows, bandanas and plenty of plaid. Each cabin sat together in the dining hall and was given a handful of RBC bucks to make bids on mystery prizes. Jerry, our Director Emeritus, ran the event as the auctioneer. Some of the prizes were sweet, like a cake or ice cream treat, while others were a little less exciting, like a tray of veggies or new toothbrushes. There’s plenty of suspense once a cabin won a bid, and just as much laughter and cheers when the prize was revealed. It’s funny how there were enough prizes for every cabin to win both a yummy and a silly prize… 😉 Good fun.
Going around camp today, visiting the different activity areas, you could tell that the girls have really settled in and begun to make camp “a place of their own.” That’s a phrase from the Rockbrook Camp mission statement. It’s an attempt to summarize one of the real values of a camp experience for young girls, and it’s part of the magic of why campers love their camp. The ingredients are simple: really good people who are eager to make friends, broad opportunities to be creative, sporty, and adventurous, and a caring environment where everyone can relax and be themselves. Combine these with the girls making their own activity selections, having plenty of free time to enjoy the wonderful natural beauty of Rockbrook, and simply enjoying time with their friends, and we have something special, something very different from home and school (where parents and teachers call most of the shots), and something truly their own. This is their camp and they love it.
Of course, at camp a big group of girls can get pretty goofy and really let their silly side come out. Singing crazy songs outrageously loud in the dining hall, dressing up in a costumes for dinner, and making up skits with cabin mates are quite ordinarily part of the fun around here. This photo of an evening program cabin skit shows a little of that. Each cabin group is given a topic and challenged to come up with a group skit that they’ll perform for the rest of the age group in their lodge. It can involve singing, dancing, acting and audience participation, but whatever it is, the funnier it is, the better. A lot of the fun is working together to create the skit, as well as performing it for your friends.
This afternoon we had our Wednesday “Cabin Day.” This is a special day when after a morning of regular activity time (where the girls follow their individual activity selections), each cabin group sticks together for some special group event. Today, cabin groups were hiking to Rockbrook Falls and Castle Rock, building campfires to make S’mores, playing games in the gym and on the landsports field, cooling of by playing in the creek, and even making smoothies with the help of the kitchen. The mini session senior cabins took a trip to Sliding Rock, had a picnic and capped everything off with a stop at Dolly’s for a sweet treat. Dinner was some of Rick’s homemade fried chicken and warm yeast rolls. Good stuff. On cabin day, there’s always a lot going on!
Oh! I forgot to mention the muffins today… White Chocolate Raspberry. They were awesome!
At camp, there are cookies every night! It’s a long standing tradition at Rockbrook for all the campers (and counselors 🙂 ) to have a cookie and small cup of milk at the end of the day. Everyday the kitchen crew makes a batch of homemade cookies— chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, cinnamon nut, peanut butter, or maybe sugar cookies. Which kind is a daily surprise. When the evening program is finished, a couple of staff members from each line grabs their bag of cookies and jug of milk from the kitchen and sets it all out for the girls.
It may seem a little strange to have cookies right before bed, but it makes a nice little snack to get you through the night. Don’t forget to brush your teeth before hitting the hay. Maybe read a little in bed, and the next thing you know you’ll be waking up to the morning bell. Ahhh camp..