Staying Cool, Focused and Relaxed

First I have to tell you about today’s muffins.  They were amazing!  Liz created yet another one-of-a-kind masterpiece flavor: peanut butter and jelly.  I’m pretty sure they didn’t teach this recipe at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork Ireland where Liz was trained, so she deserves all the credit.  A classic camp flavor turned into a fresh baked muffin.  YUM!

Girls camp waterpark climbingAs most everyone on the east coast is experiencing record-breaking temperatures this week, we have found plenty of ways to stay cool at Rockbrook. First of all, temps are still falling into the 60s at night, and stay cool most of the morning as it takes a few hours for the sun to come up over the hill.  In addition, the lake has been a very popular spot in the afternoons. Even if the campers don’t have swimming as one of their regularly scheduled activities, everyone can go for a dip during one of the two open “free swim” periods each day. That’s also when we open the “Toy,” “Aqua Ropes Course,” or “Water Challenge Course.” As you can see, it’s quite the obstacle. Campers first try to climb up the outside edge, grabbing the ropes, and stand on the top rails.  From there they grab the dangling rings and go hand-to-hand from one ring to the next.  There are five in all.  It’s really tough to reach all five rings (see how it’s sloping uphill?), so we reward anyone who can with a special treat, usually a trip to Dolly’s.  Missing means just a big splash!

Kids learn photography tips at summer campIn the photography activity, former camper and now star counselor Jane, who is majoring in Fine Art Photography at The Corcoran College of Art & Design in Washington, DC, is helping the girls learn how to take better pictures. To make this more fun, she’s planned several games that send the campers scurrying around camp looking for certain color pallets, shapes (e.g., letters), or textures. She’s challenged the girls to take 20 photos of a single small object making sure each is different. She’s also helped them learn a bit about stop motion photography, and make short motion clips using play-doh. We’re planning to show these short movies to the whole camp on Sunday night before the movie.  Several are quite good!

camp girls taking yoga class at RockbrookJessi’s yoga classes are very popular with the senior girls. She offers them as special extra activities once or twice each week.  With yoga mats and towels in hand, they meet in the upper Hillside Lodge to spread out across the wood floor. Jessi plays nice, relaxing music as she leads the girls through a serious of stretching exercises and yoga poses. The class lasts only about an hour, but that’s plenty for the girls to have a workout. Everyone feels great afterwords… a little more relaxed, limber, and calm. Staying so very busy and active at camp, practicing a little bit of yoga like this is really nice.

All in one day, the RBC girls can stay cool swimming in the lake, focused in photography class, and relaxed doing yoga! 🙂

Knitting Camp Girls

knitting camp girl wearing a hat she made

“Like your hat Maddie.”

Knitting! It’s just one of the fiber arts activities available at Rockbrook each and every camp session.

With so many arts and crafts opportunities, you get to make some pretty cool stuff when you come to camp… like this hat for instance. Maddie knitted it when she first got to camp last summer, and from then on was rarely seen without it. A camp arts project that she used every single day!

It’s true; knitting has become an increasingly popular activity at camp. The Rockbrook girls are learning that it isn’t all that difficult (once you master the basic stitches!) to knit, is really a lot of fun, and is so satisfying when you see what you’ve made. Some girls describe the feeling of it, the process of twisting, looping and tying yarn in patterns of knots, to be relaxing, even meditative.

It’s the kind of thing that can become addicting.  As soon as you finish one project, it’s easy and exciting to imagine and start another.  In the long run knitting can then continue after camp at Home. It can become a life-long hobby!

P.S. That’s Looking Glass Falls in the background.

Camp — A place for girls to grow

Weaver Baskets at Summer CampBack in 1998, Kellogg’s produced a television commercial that, quite unintentionally, reminds us why a girl’s time at summer camp can be so valuable, why it really can fuel tremendous personal growth. The commercial shows a little boy reciting a “declaration” of sorts about what children need.

“We the children need the following:
We need encouragement.
We need to laugh.
We need inspiration.
We need to be read to.
We need to have self-esteem,
Love and security,
Adventure,
Discipline and Freedom.
We need to make mistakes,
Ask questions,
To imagine.
We need to win,
And sometimes we need to lose.
We need to be hugged.
We need family, friends and even foes,
And heroes.
We need nourishment.”

It’s just amazing how camp is one of those unique places that provides almost all of these ingredients. With its wide ranging program of activities, caring staff members, traditions and overall philosophy, summer camp satisfies these needs for children. We’ve often said it at Rockbrook; “camp is a place for girls to grow.”

Here’s the commercial.

Outdoor Programs for Girls

Outdoor Girls at Summer CampThere’s something really special about spending most of your time outdoors. When you’re a girl who goes to school all day, rides around in a car between things, and maybe lives where the weather is a little “tough” most of the time, it’s a rare thing to be outside. Because it’s so rare, it feels so liberating to have regular outdoor experience, to romp through a stream, feel a warm breeze, hear the sharp clap of thunder, get muddy 🙂 and just plain explore all the wonders of nature.

There’s a lot to say about how this time outdoors is extraordinarily good for us, but it’s perfectly fun too. Summer camp, of course, is one of the best places to find all this. It’s a place where you can recharge and balance out what we’ve been missing most of the year. Just thinking about it, makes us smile with anticipation!