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.

Being a Camp Leader

Leadership for Summer Camp Kids

One important mark of leadership for the staff at Rockbrook is their ability to model personal character for the girls at camp. We strive to hire cabin counselors and activity staff members who exemplify good character and thereby can serve as role models for the campers. It means a lot to children to see others they admire make good decisions. It’s just a crucial part of building character— having positive relationships with others who embody exemplary habits and attitudes. When we talk about “leadership” at camp, this is what we mean: being that sort of exemplary person.

But what is exemplary character, how do you recognize it, and how do you encourage its development? We’ve found the approach taken by the Josephson Institute to be extremely articulate and practical. It’s “Six Pillars of Character” is a well thought out resource. Essentially, the “pillars” are fundamental principles and values that serve as a core for ethical decision making. They are: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.  Without appealing to religion, politics or ideology, we strive to realize these six values in our camp community.

There’s a lot of good stuff in all of this, so go learn more.

RBC in the Press

Summer Camp Girl FriendsWe bumped into an article the other day by Anne O’Connor entitled, Is Summer Camp Good for Her?  It’s a great discussion of why traditional overnight summer camps offer so much, and how many “specialty” camps (e.g., computer camp, soccer camp, etc.) often lose track of important social benefits.  The article quotes Dr. Chris Thurber. He says camps are not about “the equipment or specific attractions— it’s the friends.” He claims, “it’s much more valuable to have social skills and a friendship base than to be an expert soccer player.”

What caught our eye was the quote in the article from a Rockbrook dad describing the value of the camp friendships his daughter made over the years. He also describes the skills she developed as well. “When they have to be independent, when they have the responsibility for planning their days, their self-esteem goes through the roof,” he said.

Camps— so good in so many ways! 🙂

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.

What Youth Camps Teach

Youth Camp Girl Educational ActivityAs a summer youth camp, Rockbrook’s mission is to be

“a haven for girls, a place of their own, where they can explore the beauty of nature, try new things, enjoy carefree summer living, and make some of their very best friends.”

And of course, camp is all about the fun, the super silliness of it all, too.

But it’s also more than all that, because camp is also a place where you learn a ton. Camp is definitely educational, and in the very best sense of the word. It teaches you how to be more independent, more creative, braver, and more socially adept. Camp helps you learn new ways to get along with others, to trust the people around you, and to feel good about what you do. It’s really true; youth camps help young people learn about themselves.

When you add the sort of caring spirited people that work at Rockbrook, you begin to understand how summer camps can be one of the most valuable educational experiences around.

Camp is a Refuge

Cute Little Camp Girls

We hear this a lot, actually: that camp is a refuge.  It’s a place where girls can escape the busy, sometimes overwhelming pace of their regular lives.  For many young kids, each day is a bombardment of stimuli, new information and entertainment.  There are school responsibilities, social demands, and activities at home all demanding attention.  Increasingly, parents have noticed that the intensity of their children’s lives is making them more anxious, fearful, and worried.  There’s so much going on, it’s difficult for kids to really connect with the people (family and friends) around them, adding even more to the burden of handling everything on their own.  Everything around them seems to be shouting, and sometimes it’s just too much!

Thank goodness for camp.  It really can be a refuge, a huge relief from all of this.  Simply being outside, unplugged from rapid-fire electronic stimulation, is a powerful antidote.  Having daily opportunities to engage creative talents, physical challenges, and deep social/personal relationships is so welcome, kids just blossom in a camp setting.  It’s the greatest gift to simply have time to relax, to play in the creek, dress a little silly, or chat with a friend in the porch rocking chairs. The environment of a kids camp is a powerful healthy response to the extreme busyness of ordinary life. It always has been, and these days, it seems like it’s needed more than ever.

The Youngest Equestrian Riders

Young Horseback Riding Girls

Can the youngest children at camp take horseback riding?

Absolutely, yes! The youngest girls at Rockbrook, who are 6 years old, are some of our most enthusiastic riders down at the equestrian center. Camp is a great place to develop girls’ interests in horses, even to take their very first ride. Rockbrook has several experienced, gentle ponies, perfect for these young beginning horseback riders, and our staff is well qualified to teach beginner lessons. There’s lots to learn— what to wear, safety rules, grooming, tacking up, how to mount, riding position, communicating with your horse, and so much more— but step by step, you’ll progress through it all.

Equestrian Riding is fun and rewarding: yes, even for the youngest girls!

 

Learn to Knit at Camp

crafts with girls knitting

Can I learn how to knit at camp?

You sure can!  In fact, knitting has become one of the crafts at camp girls are really enjoying.  You might think it’s old fashioned or something that only your grandmother would do, but knitting is really cool!  And it’s not that hard to learn.  With some basic pointers and a little practice you’ll be able to make a simple scarf, or even something more difficult like a hat.

The younger girls particularly like using the “Nifty Knitters.”  These are special round, handheld looms that make knitting tubes really easy (there’s one on the shelf in the background in the photo).  They are a fun way to see how knitting works and to make quick progress on a project before moving on to using knitting needles.

Knitting is one of those great crafts girls can easily do at home.  It can easily become a life-long activity to enjoy for years to come.