A Magical Day

“Stupefy!” “Expecto Patronum!” “Petrificus Totalus!”

And so began The Wizarding World of Rockbrook Camp, or the day when camp magically turned into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! After lunch, campers returned to their cabins, and for Harry Potter fans, their dreams came true: their acceptance letter to Hogwarts (finally) arrived! They were witches and were invited to spend the afternoon taking classes along with the rest of their house. Each girl was sorted by cabin into one of the Hogwarts Houses: Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.

We made our way to potions first, and we mixed phoenix tears with unicorn hair and put it in a vile to save for later. Theme music from the Harry Potter movies blasted in the background, setting the tone and putting us all more in the spirit.

After learning so much in our potions class, we headed down to our Common Room where we drank butterbeer and spent time preparing our uniforms (coloring ties) and listening to Hogwarts History (reading the Harry Potter books). It was a relaxing way to spend time before the next part of our adventure.

We then meandered down to the gym where we took part in important adventures such as rescuing Dobby (clothing relay), Quidditch practice, and walking like a spider. The cabins competed against each other and saved the day every time!

Following our adventures, it was time for another class. We went to Wandmaking where wands chose us and then we spruced them up with paint and a nice handle. Then, a charms professor taught us a few spells, and we practiced them on each other. First, we practiced unfreezing people who had been subject to “petrificus totalus” (by making them laugh) and then we practiced the rest of the spells with a rock-paper-scissors type game.

Afterwards, we looked up and we heard voices of distress—it was Harry Potter flying across the sky (on the zipline) as Voldemort was chasing him! They came down to where the campers were sitting on the hill and dueled—Harry Potter won and we all cheered!

It was then time to attend dinner in The Great Hall. With lightning scars (tattoos), floating candles (posters) and owls overhead (bird cages), we enjoyed a feast. While we were eating, we sorted each other into houses based on cards on each table that listed the personality qualities of each house. We also talked about what patronus (spirit animal) would protect us. The entire day had felt magical, and it continued through announcements when Sarah Carter (filling in for Professor Dumbledore) warned us not to go to the third floor corridor or into the Forbidden Forest.

For evening program, the seniors had a different kind of magical experience: it was coffee house! Coffee house is basically open mic night. With a crackling fire in the background and rich hot chocolate in hand, the girls watched their friends perform. Some girls performed songs like “Those Magic Changes” from Grease, “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse and “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae. Everyone sang along with songs like “Riptide” and “A Thousand Years.” Other girls performed poems, some that they had written themselves.

My favorite part about coffee house is the amount of support that each girl who performs receives. The entire line cheers for each girl with the bravery to go up and share their talents. Cabins shout, “She’s from Cabin 5!” and girls stand on the benches, giving wild applause, after their friends perform. Counselors begin to tear up as they are so proud of their campers’ performances and talents. The combination of talent, support, and warmth makes coffee house an unforgettable evening that somehow epitomizes the magic of camp for teenagers. In every way imaginable, today was a truly magical day. We were transported into a different world, but also remembered to be grateful for the camp world we have the privilege to be a part of.

Where Everyone Has a Place

Ever since Harry Potter Day, I have been thinking a lot about personality. In the context of Harry Potter, it comes down to which house would I be in? The brave and chivalrous Gryffindor? The friendly and loyal Hufflepuff? The intellectual, witty Ravenclaw? The ambitious, cunning Slytherin? Of course, personality is not so neatly cut between these categories (and that is never how it was originally intended in the series). Still, the diversity of personalities at camp is possibly its greatest treasure. Rockbrook, in particular, is a place where girls from many personalities can fit right in and feel at home. Girls are free to be honest and bold, or shy and peaceful; there are times when outgoing and loud girls let their personalities shine, but also times for quiet contemplation. Today’s agenda displayed how Rockbrook is able to play to all kinds of interests and personalities, and how everyone can find a part of the day that fulfills their needs.

Everyone was looking forward to today, a day that allowed us to sleep in and get some needed rest as we prepared for our final week at camp. We awoke at nine and then went to breakfast in our pajamas. Krispie Kreme donuts were placed on our tables, a favorite Sunday tradition, and then we went back to cabins to get in whities and get ready for chapel.

We stood in a horseshoe shape and raised the flag before quietly reflecting on the walk to chapel. Chapel is one of my favorite spaces and times at camp. So often, camp is loud: singing in the dining hall, cheering on friends on the hill. During chapel, though, we find a peaceful place to reflect on an important theme of camp. Today’s theme was bliss, or the light continuous feeling of happiness. The senior line led chapel this morning, so two girls played guitar as girls filed in. Then, they led song such as ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ (complete with kites as props), ‘Unwritten,’ and ‘Wildflowers.’ The girls spoke about what bliss meant to them and how it related to life at camp.

After chapel, we cleaned cabins and tried to get our belongings organized. Sunday provides a perfect opportunity to reset for the week ahead. Then, we gathered on the hill for another Sunday tradition, Assembly on the Hill. This is a time that is loud where girls and cabins get recognized for their efforts throughout the week. All of the lines sing their line song loudly and then line heads present cabins and individuals with awards. The Mop Award is for the cabin that has the most points from inspection, and the Spirit Award, Manners Award, and Bend-a-Back Award go to individual campers who have been examples of spirit, etiquette, and going above and beyond for others. It is a challenging decision because there are so many reasons every camper could earn each award! Then, all of the mermaids and bull’s-eye club members were honored. Assembly on the Hill is a great time to show your cabin pride and so many girls cheered loudly for their friends as they were honored!

This afternoon, we had Miss RBC. This is a time-honored Rockbrook tradition where cabins gather together to present a short skit, song, or dance in front of the rest of camp. This year, we have asked campers not to use background music (they couldn’t use an iPod) so they had to be more creative and come up with their own music. Their talents were amazing—some cabins performed skits about life in the dining hall; some cabins danced and stomped; some made Rockbrook versions of songs (“We started as Pen Pals, and now we’re besties” was substituted for “So here’s my number, now call me maybe”). This was an event where every girl could get involved. Girls have a lot of practice planning performances because they plan skits most nights during evening program. In our cabin, many girls love dancing, so they were able to patiently teach everyone a dance that everyone agreed on in record time! The performances were met with enthusiastic response for every cabin, and we were all thoroughly entertained while listening to a representative from each cabin answer fun questions like “If you had a pool of Jello, what kind would you jump in and why?”

For twilight tonight, we had a very special event: a string trio and quartet from the Brevard Music Center came to Rockbrook and gave us a performance as we ate dessert! One of the musicians talked about the different periods in musical history (baroque, classical, and romantic), and they played examples of each. Girls had the opportunity to ask about the instruments and the experiences of each musician. Sitting there listening to beautiful music after an action-packed and energy-filled day could not have been a better end to the day. Many girls loved the opportunity to listen to fine music and get lost in their own thoughts as inspired by what was being played. It was a calmer, more contemplative (yet still interactive) way to spend the evening, and it made me appreciate how everyone could take something beautiful away from this day.

We lived a lovely day today. Chapel and the string ensemble gave us time to be contemplative and reflect on all of the action we have lived. Miss RBC and Assembly on the Hill gave us times to be loud and enthusiastic, basking in the spirit of camp. In the coming, final days, we will find other activities that meet our needs. Activities like curosty, needlecraft, and yoga give us a calm space to center ourselves whereas sports and games, swimming, and climbing give us more opportunities to live out loud. At Rockbrook, some girls like to have conversations in small groups whereas others love big groups and being the life of the party. Some girls love crowds and spirit, and others love the calm peace of nature. Most girls love both, which is great, because Rockbrook is able to provide an atmosphere that suits every type of girl and that celebrates every type of personality.

Harry Potter Loves Rockbrook

Tally Singer, long-time Rockbrook girl and assistant director this past summer, lives and works in LA during the off-season. She’s worked on movies like The DaVinci Code, and other Ron Howard productions. Recently, she saw Daniel Radcliffe and friends. Here’s the poster they signed for all us girls at Rockbrook!

Signed Harry Potter Poster daniel radcliffe autograph

Halloween Costume Ideas

With Halloween approaching, everyone’s thinking about what costume to wear and camp is a place with a highly-concentrated amount of costume ideas! It’s typical to change clothes more than once a day to dress up for things like Granny Bingo, ’80’s Dance Party, Harry Potter-themed Birthday Night, twin day, and lots of other happenings. Here are some stellar costumes from this year:

Dana's as a Senior Ladies' Auxiliary Member

Love the Glasses!

Collen, Jess and campers as Dr. Seuss characters

Mandy and Jessi as Hawaiian tourists