Brevard North Carolina Ranks

Outdoor Kids in BrevardBack in August, Backpacker Magazine published a list of “The best cities to raise an outdoor kid.” And guess what! Our very own Brevard, North Carolina ranked number 20 in the list. These are the best places in America to “beat Nature Deficit Disorder.” That’s not too surprising when you think about all the incredible outdoor opportunities available nearby: all the Pisgah forest trails, great rock, and nearby whitewater rivers. It’s also one explanation for why this area is so fantastic for a summer camp.

Rockbrook is fortunate to be located here in the mountains of western North Carolina, and you can bet we take full advantage of the many wonderful outdoor destinations nearby.  Trips to Sliding Rock, sea kayaking on Lake Jocassee, whitewater rafting on the Nantahala, rock climbing on Cedar Rock, swimming at the bottom of High Falls in the Dupont State Forest… And so many more.  These are just a few of the truly special experiences made possible by the forests near camp.

If you can’t live hear and raise your kids here, then come to camp here! It’s amazing.

Kids Grow Better Outside

Kids Grow Better Outside

Spotted this bumper sticker the other day in Asheville, NC. Isn’t it awesome!? It’s put out by the Buncombe county partnership of the Smart Start Program, an “early childhood initiative designed to ensure that young children enter school healthy and ready to succeed.” The sticker shows that, like we have claimed many times before, playing outside is really good for kids.  Here are some of the benefits Buncombe County recognizes.

  • Kids are better able to play with other kids and work problems out with them.
  • Kids benefit from physical activity by experiencing healthier weights.
  • Kids have fewer problems with hyperactivity and are better able to pay attention.
  • Kids experience less stress than other kids their age.
  • Kids score higher on standardized tests.

It’s not too hard to see how “children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out of doors?”  And it’s a simple step to realize how important summer vacation from school, and summer camps like Rockbrook, are for kids.  All children really benefit from time outside, away from school, and certainly at camp.

Are your kids getting outside?

Tetherball Games Strategies

Tetherball Playing StrategyDo you have this in common with Napoleon Dynamite— being a tetherball champ? Sure you’ve played before at camp, and you know how to play tetherball, but maybe you need a few more strategies to really pump up your game. Here’s a couple of things to practice.

The most important strategy is mastering an extreme angle when serving. By hitting the ball sharply down, it can swing high over your opponent’s head. This is always a good tactic.

It’s also important to use both hands when playing tetherball. You can hit the ball more powerfully, but also add unexpected spins and hits by changing which hand hits the ball. You can surprise and confuse the other player with different fast/slow, open/closed, left/right hand maneuvers.

Equally important to mastering tetherball is being quick on your feet. Moving forward and backward quickly, and knowing when to move sideways. This not only makes it difficult for the other player to decide how to serve or hit the ball, it gives you a better chance to make defensive hits.

Of course, being a tetherball sports champ takes practice, but that’s what camp is for!

OK, do you have any other tetherball tips, strategies or tactics?

Kayaking for Kids

Kid KayakerWhitewater kayaking is really catching on with the kids at Rockbook, and not just with our Seniors. Our Middlers, kids in the 5th or 6th grade, are also excited about kayaking.

You might think that is a little young to start such a technical sport, but the camp girls are usually quick to catch on to what’s involved. They learn about the equipment and basic techniques in the Rockbrook lake, and when ready, then move to one of the local rivers.

Even on the Rockbrook Camp property, there is a short section of the French Broad river that provides a great teaching rapid. It’s a nice cove of the river perfect for learning to ferry, peel out, and catch an eddy— three important kayaking maneuvers. Next stop? The Green, the Tuckaseegee, and the Nantahala rivers!

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! 🙂

A Rock for Sliding and Swimming

Swimming Adventure Water Slide

How many times have you gone down sliding rock? In the Pisgah National Forest, not too far from Rockbrook’s kids camp, there’s a famous natural water slide formed by Looking Glass Creek as it slides down about 60 feet into a pool at the bottom. The US Forest service has improved the area and now provides lifeguards during the busy summer season.

Most sessions at camp, we’ll take our Middlers and Seniors over in the afternoon for some cool mountain fun. It’s swimming. It’s adventure. It’s thrills, and because it’s also a clear mountain creek, it’s chills too. The girls just love it!  On one trip last summer, some of the kids raced backed to the top and slid down 9 times!  Have you tried it?

Kids Kayaking Adventure

Kids Adventures Camp KayakingGearing up for another adventure at camp! This time it’s kids whitewater kayaking on the lower Green River over near Saluda, NC.  Learning to paddle a kayak is another outdoor adventure activity that’s incredibly satisfying for kids.  Camps provide everything they need to get excited about the sport— the right equipment, step-by-step instruction, qualified supervision, and a perfect whitewater river.

It’s really fun to strap on all the gear and settle into one of the cool kayaks, even if it is a little scary at first.  But after kids practice getting out of the kayak when they flip over (a “wet exit”) and eventually rolling back upright (a “roll”), they become more confident in the boat and can use their paddle to maneuver around obstacles in the river.  It really gets fun when the camp kids can play on the river, surfing waves, running rapids, ferrying, and catching eddies.

Kayaking adventure for kids at camp.  Very fun stuff.

A Quick Quote on Camp

Camp Kid Reading

We ran into this quote the other day and thought we should share it. It’s from Charles William Eliot, who at 35 was the youngest president of Harvard University.

“I have a conviction that a few weeks spent in a well-organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work.”

It’s nice to see the value of camp being endorsed by highly educated people. We agree. Camp is educational in the broadest, but also most fundamental, sense of the word. Through personal experience, it offers opportunities to forge connections and nurture children far beyond what school can provide. There’s really nothing quite like camp!