It’s a highlight of the summer, the largest opening day of a session with 210 campers, 78 staff members, parents, grandparents, a good number of little brothers and siblings all arriving at Rockbrook this morning for the start of our second session. More importantly, today is a highlight of the year for many of the campers arriving, because they’ve been waiting since last summer to return to Rockbrook, to see their camp friends, to take a deep breath of the woodsy mountain air, to sing their favorite camp song in the dining hall, and to get busy with all the fun activities of camp. And for new campers, today is a highlight simply because it is their first day of their time at camp. The directors, Sofie, Chase, and Grace, the program staff and the superb group of cabin counselors assembled this session are all equally excited to welcome everyone to camp. You could feel it as girls and their families arrived all morning; this is a amazing bunch of people and we all are pumped up for a great session!
Throughout the morning, those campers who arrived early jumping right into things by taking a hike to Rockbrook Falls, the largest waterfall on the camp property, learning to make a new patterns of friendship bracelet, greeting a couple of the camp horses, brushing up on their tetherball skills, or simply getting to know each other relaxing in one of the many red porch rocking chairs around camp.
It was easy to guess this year’s t-shirt color because just about everywhere today you saw girls wearing the same heather green. Likewise, the girls all proudly wore their wooden name tags. These tags, following a long Rockbrook tradition, are thin slices of dried Mountain Laurel strung simply on a piece of vinyl lanyard, but each is designed and decorated by every camper’s counselor and is presented right when the girls arrive at camp. Some girls add to the decoration and collect them as souvenirs of their years at camp (so many wooded camp name tags hanging in girls’ rooms at home!).
After a comforting lunch of Rick’s homemade, baked macaroni and cheese, salad and fresh fruit… and pausing to sing Happy Birthday to Katie …the girls gathered in their cabins for brief meetings. These are opportunities to get to know all of the cabin mates, but also for the counselors to discuss cabin chores, the daily camp schedule, and important safety rules. Next, everyone began a rotation between camp tours, swimming demonstrations, and games in each age group’s lodge. By this time the weather had turned cloudy and a slight drizzle was falling now and then, not thunder or lightning, but the occasional burst of raindrops that would last for ten minutes or less. This made our swimming demonstrations a bit chillier than usual, but you would be surprised how this barely slowed down these girls. With encouragement and support from their counselors, coaching from all 8 of the lifeguards, reassurance from Sarah and the other directors, and cheering from their cabin mates, most girls easily earned their swimming tags and were quickly wrapped in towels chatting wildly about how “freezing” the lake is.
Just before dinner, the entire camp assembled in the gym to enjoy an introduction to all of the Rockbrook activities presented by the counselors. Each team of instructors took the stage to perform a skit or song related to their activity. In most cases, if their activity involves special equipment, it was featured in the skit. In this photo, for example, we have the paddling instructors singing and dancing decked out in spray skirts, helmets, and PFDs. We’ve found this to be a great way for the campers to meet the activity instructors, get a glimpse of their enthusiasm for their activity, see some of the cool craft projects available, and understand what’s involved in each activity…all in preparation for the time tonight when they will sign up for their first set of four scheduled activities. There are always fun new aspects to the activities (this year, the new Nature Nook out in the woods, for example), so this assembly gives both new and returning campers ideas about what they’d like to do while at camp.
As we settle in here at camp, I hope you begin following along by checking the online photos available each day in your parent account, reading and sharing these blog posts, liking our Facebook page, and even following us on Twitter. There’s always a lot going on at Rockbrook, and these are the ways you can keep up a bit.
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