Publishing Traditions

This session, an old Rockbrook tradition has resurfaced at camp. Campers from all age groups get the chance to express their creative selves and sharpen their reporting skills when they write for The Toilet Paper, Rockbrook’s self-published newspaper.

camp newspaper with drawings
The first edition of the Toilet Paper, 3rd session 2019

“So, what’s with the name?” I’m sure you’re wondering. As a camper, I remember The Toilet Paper getting taped up to the back of each bathroom stall door. Another Rockbrook gal who went to camp in the 80s told me she remembers the same thing being called “The Wall Stall.” So, even if the name has changed over the years, the concept remains!

The paper is largely a result of the resurgence of “PhoJo” (Photography/Journalism) as a club at camp. Coming to PhoJo is a fantastic way to spend a free swim. The favorite activity is a pass along story, where campers all sit in a circle and each write a story for one minute. Then they pass their paper around the circle, and everyone adds to each other’s tales until your original paper is returned to you–though now with some twists and turns you probably didn’t anticipate.

tiny green frog on leaf
Don’t let these cute little frogs scare you!

Reporting on camp events is also a great way to meet new people.In meetings, we go over the best ways to conduct an interview and some sample questions to ask. Rockbrook reporters can write about all camp events, such as an update on a specific activity or special theme day, or share a funny experience from their cabin with the whole camp. In the last edition, some Juniors reported on a frog that appeared in their cabin and startled their counselor! Campers gain confidence among their peers as their stories get read and discussed by the all the girls at camp, including the directors!

We can’t wait to see what shows up in the next edition, coming soon to a deducky near you!

-Alyssa Calloway

best friends quote drawing
“Best friends are like stars-you might not see them, but you know they’re always there!”

A Lot in our Neighborhood

Girls Camp Swimming
Rock CLimbing Girl

High above Rockbrook, but still on the camp property, is Castle Rock, a bright grey rock outcropping so large it’s visible all over the nearby river valley. You may have seen it if you looked up and east standing on the porch of the Hillside Lodge at camp. Once you hike to the top, up a beautiful wooded (also steep!) trail, there’s a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition though, Castle Rock offers us some really great rock climbing. There are several routes to choose from- a zig-zagging hand crack called “Shazam,” and delicate finger crack called “Dragon’s Tail,” and a long, high exposed route called “Bam,” to name a few. When we combine all of these routes with trips we can take into the National Forest, there’s a lot of rock to climb in our neighborhood! And climb we do!

Down at the Rockbrook lake, especially during the two free swim periods, girls are busy in several ways. Some are addicted to the water slide (affectionately known as “Big Samantha” …for no reason other than it being a name that’s mostly stuck!), shooting down and heading right back to the top along the boardwalk. Others are happily perfecting their dives and cannonballs off of the diving board. Some are swimming laps to be awarded membership in the “Mermaid Club,” which earns them a special treat at the end of the session. Today a group of girls was trying to climb up on a floating tube, while others were placidly floating by. In every case, the girls are enjoying the cool mountain spring water of the lake.

Journalism Camp Activity Girls

Meeting in the log cabin we call “Goodwill,” which is named after the plantation in South Carolina where Nancy Carrier, Rockbrook’s founder was born, there is a regular activity called “Journalism.” This is one of the more peaceful options for the girls at camp because it focuses on writing. It could mean creative writing- poetry, short stories, even movie themes -taking surveys or recording interviews around camp. What makes this activity particularly popular with the campers are the writing games they often play. One of these is called “M.A.S.H.” (which stands for “Mansion, Apartment, Shack, Hut”) and it involves the girls writing a list of words fitting into categories like where you’ll live, who’ll be your spouse, what your job will be, and then, using random selections from each category, fashioning a coherent story they can present to the group.  These can be pretty hilarious and fun for the girls, and even more so since they are supposed to predict the future life of the writer.  Once per session, the Journalism activity also publishes a camp-wide newspaper comprised of the favorite writings from the class.

A group of Juniors today were surprised with a trip out to Dolly’s Ice Cream stand for a sweet treat. If you haven’t heard of Dolly’s yet, you will from your girls. It’s a great, classic ice cream stand located near the entrance to the Pisgah Forest, a perfect spot for passersby to stop. Quite ingeniously, Dolly created special ice cream flavors, combinations of flavors and toppings really, and named them after all of the local summer camps. You’d be correct to guess that lots of juniors ended up ordering a cone of “Rockbrook Chocolate Illusion.” Very yummy stuff.

Summer Camp Counselor and Camper
Summer Camp Counselor and Camper eating ice cream