Feels Just Fine

The intense summer heat the southeast has been experiencing has crept up this wooded mountain too. While not quite record setting, we’ve been only a couple of degrees shy of that, and everyone’s been remarking lately about the heat and humidity. Fortunately, Rockbrook is at an elevation of 2,250 feet above sea level, and that helps temperatures drop at night. So while we have broken into the 90s a bit in the afternoon, we are enjoying 60s in the cabins while sleeping. Add to that the many opportunities to cool off in our mountain-stream fed lake (the “Free Swim” periods before lunch and dinner, for example), and all this summer heat feels just fine.

Gaga Jump Girl
Cool Swim Girls at Summer Camp
Friendship Bracelet Maker

It’s hard to say exactly, but a very high percentage of the girls here, both campers and staff members, have water bottles that they carry around throughout the day… even more so, now, with this extra warm weather.  Well, It might be surprising, but with more water bottles around, we also see more friendship bracelets because they are often tied to the bottle’s handles. These are not simply campy decorations, though I suppose they are that too. No, these are unfinished friendship bracelets, now being carried around, always at-the-ready for a little more knot tying. The water bottle handles make perfect fixed points for tying the strands, yet also a great way to bring that fixed point with you on the go. Most girls will have more than one partially completed friendship bracelet dangling from their bottle, having several open projects because they have multiple friends in mind to receive them. There are a lot of friends. Camp is just that way.

The mastery being revealed these days at the Ga-ga pit is marvelous. With many hours of practice sharpening their skills, there are girls playing who are so agile, they are consistently in the game the longest. They leap from one foot to the other avoiding the ball, easily anticipating what each bounce will bring. It’s amazing to watch these girls play such a fast-paced game, and it’s equally exciting for them to play too.

Camp Super Heroes
Captain America

Since the very first day of camp this session, the CA campers (our 9th graders) have been planning a surprise party for the entire camp. After secretly choosing a theme for their party (their “Banquet”), these girls have since worked everyday to design decorations, music, costumes, skits, dances, and special food —all revolving around their theme. Their theme? Superheroes! The girls dressed as their favorite hero, 16 different ones. In addition to Spiderman, Batman and Ironman, we had Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, and Batgirl to even things out. They performed a skit that assembled thes powerful women, and another that featured the Avengers (Hulk, Hawkeye, Thor, and Captain America). The meal included “Superman Skewers” (fresh strawberries. blueberries, bananas and pineapple), “Power Sticks” (celery and carrot sticks), “Pop! Chicken” with Steak Fries, and “City’s Rubble” (Oreo puddling with gummy worms) for dessert.

Dressed in their new blue RBC t-shirts, everyone at camp danced and sang together between the skits and choreographed dances, as plenty of candy (and pop songs) fueled the whole event. So much stimulation— happy excited friends, food, music and dancing —it’s easy to see why the Rockbrook Banquets, including this one, are a highlight of every camp session. They are awesome!

Cmp Super hero costume party

Never To Be Forgotten

Summer Camp Friends

Today was the final day of camp for our 2014 season, and looking back, recalling all the excitement and action of the past 10 weeks, we’re so grateful for the experience. It’s been a truly remarkable summer. We could point to many reasons for this, and while it’s tempting to list accomplishments or the successful special events that populated our weekly calendar, I think the most delightful aspect has been the bonds of friendship we all gained with the wonderful girls, staff members and directors who comprised our camp community. It was the relationships we formed that will keep this summer unforgettable. Here’s how Lucy Maud Montgomery put it.

“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

Thank you everyone for contributing your enthusiasm and energy, your care and kindness, to our time together. Thank you parents for sending your girls to camp. We will miss you all. We’ll miss laughing and playing together, supporting and encouraging each other. We’ll miss you, friends, but also look forward to next summer when we can be together again.

Top 10 Reasons Every Rockbrook Girl Misses Camp

Every Rockbrook girl knows the bittersweet feeling that comes along with leaving camp at the end of the session.  We’ve had such an awesome time meeting new friends and trying new things, and leaving it all behind seems impossible.  The friends and memories made keep camp on our minds all year long.  We all know the truth behind the words, “The summers fly by, but the winters drag on.”  So, in an attempt to lessen the pain of children being “campsick”, this is an ode to every Rockbrook girl who misses her days in the heart of the wooded mountain.

The Top 10 Reasons Every Rockbrook Girl Misses Camp

simple creek

1. Simple Days

I know what you must be thinking- camp isn’t SIMPLE!  No way!  We do fun things all day and wear crazy costumes to lunch and paint our faces and dance in the dining hall!!  Allow me to clarify: camp is really the only place where having fun is our main job.  We don’t have to worry about finishing our homework, making it to basketball practice on time or keeping up with our Facebook page.  It’s nice to escape the pressures of home and just enjoy ourselves.  At Rockbrook, time slows down, life is easy, we find fulfillment in the simple things — wearing crazy costumes, painting our faces, and dancing our hearts out.
 

muffins

2. Muffins by Katie

Our awesome baker, Katie, is the best of the best, the cream of the crop, at the top of the totem pole when it comes to making muffins.  Whether it’s a fancy mint chocolate chip recipe or a more simple funfetti or blueberry muffin, we can’t get enough!  Katie’s muffins are just what we need after first period, and muffin withdrawals are no joke after we leave camp.  Check out this video that shows just how important muffin break is at Rockbrook.

For EB

3. Counselors like this

We all know what it feels like to have that counselor.  You know the one I’m talking about — she makes you feel special because she truly cares about you.  She’s interested in you and is there to make your camp experience the best she can.  She’s cool because she understands that camp is cool.  She’s like a fun older sister, like the most awesome baby sitter you’ve ever had.  Most importantly, she’s a role model and a friend.

girls-friendship-bracelets

4. Friendship bracelets
Chevron.  Twist.  Totem pole.  Diamond.  Ladder.  No matter how old we are, making friendship bracelets is a hobby enjoyed by Rockbrook girls far and wide.  We spend countless hours at camp making bracelets for our friends.  The only thing better than receiving a friendship bracelet is giving one.  Free swims and twilights spent on the hill making friendship bracelets are when we make some of our best memories- memories that stay with us long after our bracelets fall off.

sophie dolly's

5. Dolly’s Ice Cream

I’d be lying if it weren’t included on the list.  I’ve heard Rockbrook girls describe Dolly’s as the “best ice cream place in the world” on more than one occasion.  Whether you choose to order our very own flavor, Rockbrook Chocolate Illusion, or to go a different route, chances are you won’t be disappointed.  There’s no doubt that Rockbrook girls are missing Dolly’s this time of year.

little jrs

6. Friends like these

Camp friends are the best friends.  Ask any Rockbrook girl, and she will tell you that this is true.  It is because at camp we get to know one another for who we really are.  The relationships that we form are based on real feelings, not on superficial things.  At camp, it doesn’t matter what brand our new shoes are, or if we have the coolest new cell phone.  It doesn’t matter if we are big or small, tall or short.  What matters is how we treat people, how we make them feel.  Camp friendships are built to last a lifetime.

laughing

7. The songs

“Are you a camel, a good looking camel, and say, have you got a hump?”

“The rosy mist of the morning, veil it anew at dawn, like a fairyland of beauty…”

“I wish I was a honosorarius a ratamatatamy, a ha-ha-ha.”

“(Insert all lyrics to Oh I Was Born here)”

Yes, the Rockbrook songs are filled with silly lyrics like these.  We all know that we’ve randomly started singing these songs at home or at school on more than one occasion.  There’s nothing like singing along to a good Rockbrook song in the dining hall or around the campfire.

grace and elley

8. Moments like this

Camp is silly.  Camp is carefree.  Camp is FUN.  Ask any Rockbrook girl where her happy place is, and I bet she thinks back to a moment like this.  A moment in which nothing matters but the present and time stands still.

harlem shake

9. The Rockbrook (Harlem) Shake

Things like this happen at Rockbrook.  A lot.  They are wild and magical and unheard of everywhere else.  We miss having the opportunity to dress up in crazy costumes and dance with all of our friends.  This video of the Rockbrook Shake reminds us just how wonderful camp is.

spirit fire

10. The Spirit of Rockbrook is real and we know it

There is a feeling that we get as Rockbrook girls — one that we can’t really describe.  A feeling of belonging, a feeling of certainty, a feeling of self-worth.  It’s this feeling that causes us to miss each other throughout the year, that causes us to yearn for the days of summer.  We know it’s real, because we’ve never felt a love like this.  It’s this feeling that assures us that no other camp is like our own, that no other place can do for us what this one has.  It’s the Spirit of Rockbrook, and it’s with us always.

North Carolina Beauty

Girls hiking to Tennent Mountain NC
Black Balsam Mountain NC

This part of North Carolina is home to the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River. These are the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Southern Appalachian range and include the Great Smoky mountains. While Rockbrook is located along the eastern slope bordering the French Broad River Valley at an elevation of 2,600 feet, the highest peak in North Carolina is Mount Mitchell which stands at 6,686 feet. New Hampshire and Maine also claim tall peaks— Mount Washington (6,288 ft) and Mount Katahdin (6,268 ft) — but NC claims the number one spot. Among the highest peaks in North Carolina are two that are a short drive from Rockbrook: Black Balsam Knob (6,201 ft) and Tennent Mountain (6,056 ft).  And for a group of Rockbrook girls, these peaks were a hiking destination today.  At this elevation, the experience is one of looking out, and down at the hills and valleys below.  At the same time, the sky feels very close because clouds are all around, above, below and right beside you. It’s a strangely stark, other worldly, almost numinous experience.  Being in this part of North Carolina is literally so awe-some, the girls were (almost) left speechless! You can see that today the weather was rather unsettled with bands of clouds and even rain in the valleys blowing by, making the whole hike even more dynamic and dramatic. Very cool!

Jewelry Making Porch Activity

Meanwhile back at camp, where it was surprisingly wetter with a slight drizzle falling, all of the regular craft activities were bustling. All those colorful projects! Tying and dying. Twisting and pulling. Painting and marking. Gluing and sewing. Weaving and hooking. Here is a photo of the girls making Jewelry on the Hillside Lodge porch. This is a wonderful setting with red rocking chairs and a big broad table to spread out on. The girls have now progressed to even more complex friendship bracelet patterns— double chevron, arrowhead, heart, basket weave, and diamond, for example.  With so many friends at camp, and family members at home who will enjoy a camp-made gift, there’s always a good reason to make another friendship bracelet.  Take a look at the image on the our camp videos page to see how they can stack up!

Flowers of Rockbrook

The last few days at camp seem to have exploded with color for both the camp flower beds and the forest itself are blooming beautifully. It doesn’t hurt that we’ve been having regular light showers and periods of sun for the last couple of days.  In the forest, there are exquisite clusters of tall and broad ferns, tall pink Ladyslippers, and Painted Trilliums surprising us along the trails in camp with spots of color and pattern. The flower beds at camp— along the dining hall, in front of the Junior Lodge, the canoe planter by the lake—and all the planters around camp are even more full. This photo is just a sample of the amazing work Pam our gardener has done, and continues to do, to keep Rockbrook’s setting so lovely and blooming. I hope you have time to wander around when you arrive to pick up your daughter in a few days.

Zeal for Dressing Up

Bracelet Making Girls

This morning we woke to a gentle, though steady, rain. It’s really been the first time during this spell of wet weather that it’s rained consistently for more than 45 minutes or so. Most of the “real rains” have been at night, but the radar this morning showed this cell would be with us a few hours, yielding not a stormy kind of rain, but continuous little drops, almost like a beaded curtain of water. It was a morning of rain coats, ponchos and rubber boots… And mostly indoor activities. All the crafts activities, all seven of them, have their own studio, whether it’s inside one of the historic log cabins or on a covered porch, so they were unaffected. The gym became livelier with the archery and riflery girls joining the action, and the dining hall accommodated tennis players for a board game. For horseback riding, the campers had a horse grooming party, staying dry inside the barn.

girls yoga partner pose
camp kids doing partner yoga pose

The yoga classes that meet in the Hillside Lodge continue to be well attended. MK, our yoga instructor, seems to have an endless supply of poses and relaxation exercises for the girls. Today she had several partner poses to present. One was a simple back-to-back twist pose, and another was called the “Child and Fish” pose. With relaxing music playing, MK tries to create a calm atmosphere, even if the girls tend to giggle at each other trying each new pose. It’s a lighthearted activity that celebrates process and initiative rather than some notion of perfection. Being together, feeling good, and having fun are the goals; doing yoga, in this case, is the means.

Girl River kayaking

A group of Senior girls headed out to the Tuckasegee River today for a whitewater kayaking trip. Being a dam-controlled river, the recent rains haven’t affected to it as severely, making it still safe to run. The water was a little muddier than usual (though the “Tuck” is always a little muddy), but all the named rapids were perfect and there were still plenty of eddies to catch and play in. In fact, the water level made the river slightly easier to paddle because several ordinarily shallow sections were now more forgiving. One highlight of the trip was a brief stop to jump off the rock right blow the Moonshot rapid… A little swimming to get even more wet!

At lunch, as the rain subsided and yes the sun broke through the clouds for an afternoon back outside, Frampton announced the afternoon was to be “Disney Day” and that everyone should break out their Disney-related costumes, especially for dinner because it was Disney Restaurant Night. This is a special dinner where the counselors transform the dining hall into a themed restaurant, in this case into anything Disney, using posters, table ornaments and other decorations.

Kids camp wearing disney clothes
Kids dressed in disney costumes
Camp counselor dressed as mini mouse

The costumes were amazing! And the enthusiasm for dressing up really showed as I’d say 95% of the campers and staff members were made up in some way or another. Just a little face paint, a goofy hairstyle, or handmade sign taped to your shirt was plenty good, even as some girls shown in complete Disney Character costumes. Lilo and Stitch, Chip and Dale, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, super heroes (from the Incredibles), monsters (from Monsters, Inc.) Winnie the Pooh, Fish (from the Little Mermaid), and more princesses than I can count came to life at Rockbrook singing their lungs out during dinner and posing on the hill afterwards for a few photos. Ever seen a frog play tetherball with a mouse? It happened last night!

It’s so wonderful to see these girls, young girls and teenagers alike, have such zeal for dressing up like this- bent over with laughter and asking for their picture to be taken so they can scrunch up their faces into an even sillier look. It shows that they are proud and self-confident, they feel safe and cared for, and they are surrounded by friends, completely free of other social pressures (no boys!). What a wonderful community for them.

Camp girls dress up in Disney clothes