Camp Gymnastics Instruction

Gymnastics Instruction

Elaine Trozzo is returning this summer to head our camp gymnastics instruction program. Elaine has taught gymnastics for the Transylvania County (NC) Parks and Recreation Department for 14 years. She has coached a competitive gymnastics team for 3 years, and has served as a gymnastics competition judge for 4 years. She has been certified by USA Gymnastics and holds the National Safety Certification in gymnastics. This will be Elaine’s sixth year as the head of Rockbrook’s camp gymnastics instruction.

Also returning are some of our awesome gymnastics counselors from camp last summer. You’ll see Karen and Abby down at the gym. We’re also happy to introduce Jess Watrin. She has many years of gymnastics experience and will be one of our gymnastics main instructors.

Yea Gymnastics!! 🙂

Riflery Camp for Girls

Camp Girls Rifle Targets

Hey what’s your score? How’d you shoot? When girls select riflery as one of their camp activities, they first learn the basics of shooting. After some practice, camp girls develop their marksmanship skills and begin to shoot more evenly. When they can consistently hit higher scores, they can pass through a series of NRA ratings and earn special “Light Rifle Qualification” awards.

On these official targets, a bullseye earns a score of 10. That means the ordinary round of five bullets can total 50 in all. One “course” is 20 shots (4 rounds of 5 bullets) for a total possible score of 200. So if, from the prone, or lying down, position, you can shoot two courses that score 100, that earns you the “Pro-Marksman” rating. If you improve and can shoot two courses of 125, you earn the “Marksman” rating. And it goes up from there: 3 courses of 150 earns “Marksman First Class,” 4 courses of 165 earns “Sharpshooter,” and 6 courses of 180 earns the “Expert” rating. Wow!  That sure would take a lot of practice!

Learn more about these ratings over at the NRA website.

Adventure for Girls

Girls Climbing Camp Adventure

Girls of all ages get at least a taste of adventure while at camp. Even the youngest girls (who, having finished kindergarten, can be as young as 5 years old!) are able to gear up and climb our 50ft Alpine Tower. Even before leaving the ground it’s an adventure— fitting the helmet, tightening the harness, clipping the rope to everything, and learning the belay commands. This kind of outdoor adventure camp activity introduces girls to a few technical details of climbing while at the same time providing a nice balance of physical and personal challenges. It’s balancing up little holds and remaining calm and focused despite a fear of heights.  All good things!

Crazy Games and Fun!

Crazy Painted Camp Kids

Whoa, what’s going on here!?

Is it a craft project gone horribly wrong? The results of a crazy painting game?  A strange spa treatment of some sort?  A super intense outdoor food fight?

Nope.  It’s actually a glimpse into one of our all-camp afternoon games we played last summer.  This one was a camp Olympics.  We divided all the girls into four countries (teams) and gave each a different color: red, green, glue and yellow.  As you can see, red was China.  All the teams then competed in all sorts of field games and races.  We had the crab walk, an obstacle course, an egg toss, a 3-legged race, a hopping race, and so many more.  Lots of running!  Cheering! Excitement!  Crazy Camp Fun!

These three girls showed a little too much enthusiasm, it seems, with their team colors.  Everyone painted themselves a little bit, but this might be a little over the top! 😉

Hiking Girls

Girls Adventure Hiking Trip

Let’s not forget hiking! All the girls who come to Rockbrook can count on a hiking and camping adventure. It’s not required or anything, but just about everybody takes a special trip out of camp to spend a night camping out in the forest, either at one of our outposts (at the Nantahala River or nearby camp below Dunns Rock) or in the nearby Pisgah National Forest. Even the youngest campers look forward to being outdoors, sleeping in their sleeping bag, messing around with their flashlight 🙂 and of course, making s’mores over the campfire.

Hiking and camping like this is big fun for the girls, but more than that, it reconnects them with nature. Away from the ordinary distractions of being inside (home, school, car), they settle down and become more aware of the world around them. This makes it easier to appreciate the people around them too, and thereby to make friends. It’s amazing, but hiking and camping provides an almost magical context for girls to enjoy being with each other while at the same time growing socially.

Camp Tie Dye Crafts Forever

Tie Dyeing Shirt Camp Craft ActivityIt just wouldn’t be camp without a new tie dye t-shirt! In one of our camp craft activities called “Hodge Podge” we learn how to make the coolest shirts by folding, twisting and binding plain white t-shirts with rubber bands (lots!). The goal is to get creative with the patterns you make crinkling the shirt. Maybe a fan shape, a spiral, or a bullseye would work. Then with squirt bottles of different color dyes, you add colors to certain spots for even more variety. It pays to think about which colors are next to each other since the dyes soak in and blend a bit on the shirt. After leaving the shirts overnight, it’s so much fun to unwrap them and see how your design worked out. You can imagine that camp girls gather quite a collection of shirts over the years!

Want more info about tie dyeing as a camp craft activity? Here’s a “how to tie dye” page.

Summer Pottery Program

Summer Pottery Arts ProgramThe Rockbrook pottery program continues to be a very popular activity at camp.  Both  pottery studios always seem to be humming— girls sculpting, pressing or decorating something, and instructors zipping around to give pointers, prepare materials, or plan a kiln firing. All this action means that there are some pretty cool things being made too! There are multi-colored tiles, sculpted miniature animals, giant coil pots (like the one in this photo), and delicate wheel-thrown cups and bowls.

One really cool project is to take a smooth flat slab of clay and press natural forms into it so that they leave intricate textures. Little twigs, leaves, and tree bark, for example, all leave amazing patterns. You can then use the slab to make a vase or some other vessel.

It’s easy to see why the Rockbrook summer pottery program is so well loved.  There’s almost an endless variety of pottery projects to make, great satisfaction seeing how they turn out when glazed and fired, and the fun of being with your friends throughout.

Kids Gotta Love S’mores!

Let’s talk s’mores… Don’t you just love ’em?  You know how to make them.  Take two graham crackers and a piece of plain milk chocolate, roast a marshmallow on a stick over a fire, and make a chocolate marshmallow sandwich with the graham crackers. Some people like their marshmallow golden brown and gooey, while others are fine burning the marshmallow a little bit to make a charred skin. Either way, they are an excellent sweet treat out around the campfire and one of every kid’s favorite outdoor activities.

Did you know that nobody knows for sure who invented s’mores? The first recorded recipe appears in a Girl Scout book called Tramping and Trailing published in 1927, but s’mores were certainly around before that. For example, Moon Pies, which are also made of a cracker, marshmallow and chocolate, were first produced in 1917.  It’s a bit of a mystery, but it’s fun to think that making s’mores has been an outdoor activity kids have enjoyed at Rockbrook since the very beginning.