In Memoriam: Ellen Lensing

Ellen Lensing

It is with great sadness we report the passing of Rockbrook Alumna Ellen Lensing.  Ellen passed away on June 22 at the age of 92.  Phyllis Shaw sent us a beautiful email that captures the spirit of Ellen:

“I am very sorry to report the passing of Ellen Lensing, age 92, last night June 22.  Her passing is truly the end of an era for my generation of Rockbrookers.  None of us feels old enough to be the front line!

Ellen worked with Jerky in the office and was a counselor on senior line.  I have known her since I was 16 years old.  She lived a remarkable life of teaching (she had a PhD in business), mentoring, serving others, traveling all over the world, camping, hiking, etc.  Finally at age 89, she decided not to get ON her roof to clean her gutters!

Her health declined in very recent years prior to her moving to Milwaukee to live with her sister two years ago.  She was a remarkable embodiment of the Spirit of Rockbrook.  We will miss her dearly and remember her always.”

Polar Bear Swim at Camp- Brrr!

Swimming at Summer Camp
Swimming at Rockbrook, 1925

One of the most common memories shared with us from our former campers is their recollections of  Polar bear swim in the chilly lake at camp.  Campers would get up at the rising bell, and with their counselors would run down to the lake for a quick dip.  What a refreshing way to start the day!!

We found a great write up about Polar Bear in our Rockbrook Memories Book.  Jerkey, a much beloved Rockbrook director would lead the girls in their morning plunge.

“Much of the fun at camp that summer stemmed from Jerkey’s leadership.  I can see her now as she led us during those wee hours of the early morning in a series of setting up exercises before we jumped into that icy cold pool.  Somehow, even in my shivering state, she made it seem glorious thing to do.”

You will be glad to know that the Polar Bear tradition continues today and that the camp lake is as chilly as ever!!  As the camp song states: “Polar, polar, polar bear, you can be a part of it all, if you dare!”

Rockbrook Camp Council

Sunset on the Hill

We had a nice conversation the other day with Belinda Strickland aka “Sparkie” who was a camper at RBC in the 1960’s.  She told us that one of her fond camp memories was being chosen to be part of the Camper Council. The Council met weekly with Jerky and discussed lots of topics including the upcoming special events for the week.  Most of us here in the office had not heard of the Camp Council before.  What stories or memories do you have of the Council?  If you have any information on the Council or any other stories you would like to share we would love to hear from you!