Cheer-inducing Fun

summer camp cabin mates

It was a great delight today to welcome our August Mini session campers to Rockbrook. The bright, sunny weather matched the mood of the morning perfectly as the girls and their families arrived. The mob of enthusiastic counselors, all dressed in their red staff shirts, waited eagerly on the hill and literally jumped, arms waving, when a camper in their cabin was announced as arriving. The whole morning was festive and fun, and seemed to unfold without a hitch.

Out of the 75 campers arriving (now a full house!), 25 are new with this being their first session at Rockbrook. It took no time for the current full session girls to show their welcoming spirit as groups began forming to rotate through a few choice activities and explore different areas of the camp property.

That upbeat mood carried right into the all-camp assembly on the hill we held before lunch. Sarah and the other directors led several camp songs, introduced key members of the staff, and reminded everyone about a few safety protocols (what to do when our Thorguard lightning prediction system sounds its alarm, for example). The girls particularly enjoyed meeting Felix the camp dog, our 1-year old Australian Labradoodle. You might call him an instant celebrity.

Lunch was tray after tray of Rick’s homemade mac-n-cheese, paired with an amazing fresh kale and carrot salad, and grapes. Hot and cheesy, it was delicious comfort food for an opening day.

water balloon toss catchdunk bucket splashsuper stacked snow coneThe afternoon event of the day brought us all together for a Polynesian Luau, lake party of games, snacks, crafts, music and dancing.

The Hi-Ups (our 10th graders) along with many of the full session senior girls helped staff the dozen or so different stations where the younger campers could enjoy an activity. This added responsibility boosted their interest and made it easy for the different age groups to interact during the event. More fun for everyone.

Naturally, it’s not a Rockbrook party without costumes and dressing up. Everyone got that message because you’ve never seen so many Hawaiian shirts, lei necklaces and grass skirts. Combined with the face painting and the girls’ swimsuits, this was an extraordinarily colorful event.

There were games to try: a balloon toss, a version of bowling that used real coconuts to knock over empty cans, a softball tossing game like skee-ball, corn hole, and a “fishing game” for the youngest girls that won fun RBC prizes like sunglasses, stickers, patches and jump ropes.

Beach balls, hula hoops, and a giant limbo line kept everyone moving, and with fun beach music pumping, several spontaneous dance parties popped up now and then.

The event that seemed most popular was the “bucket dunk” set up at the edge of the lake. This odd contraption has one purpose— to dump the contents of a bucket (in this case, water scooped from the lake) onto the head of someone sitting below when a string is pulled. The girls thought it was hilarious to soak their friends, and there were plenty of volunteers, campers and staff members alike, to both pull the string or to be “dunked.” Simple, super-campy, cheer-inducing fun.

Meanwhile the more crafty girls could make “grass” skirts from colorful ribbons and streamers, or learn to tie tissue paper into flowers to decorate headbands and bracelets. To stay hydrated and fueled up, there was fresh watermelon for snacking and plenty of snow cones (including some crazy ones!) to go around.

Be sure to login to your parent account for an entire photo gallery of the event. I think you’ll enjoy seeing how much fun we had. What a great way to kick off the session! These girls are ready for camp.

summer camp luau girls

A Sparkling Day

Camp girls arrival day

When the weather is this perfect, like it was today, it makes everything more pleasant at camp, and even inspires us to change our plans to enjoy being outside a little more.  You can always check our Rockbrook weather station for the details, but the cool, dry air moving through our area right now, and the bright, sunny skies that result, have been spectacular. The afternoon high temperatures have been in the low 80s and the lows at night have been near 60 (even in the 50s!).

In this weather, and also because so many smiling excited faces were arriving, the opening of our second July mini session really sparkled today. The check-in process unfolded smoothly, and by about 11:45 the whole camp was assembled and ready to go. Today was also (the camp dog) Felix’s first birthday, so as Sarah introduced him to the campers, they enjoyed singing “Happy Birthday” and laughing when they clapped once to mark his age. The “mop” awards recognized one cabin from each line as especially clean, and several girls were thanked for showing exemplary “Rockbrook Spirit” when they helped someone recently.

Rick’s signature opening day lunch of homemade mac-n-cheese, fruit and salad refueled us before setting out on camp tours, cabin meetings and swimming demonstrations for the new campers.

bucket water dumping gamekid limbo gameluau party camp girlsThe main event of the day, a Polynesian Luau lake party, also took advantage of the gorgeous weather, with games, crafts, snacks, music and dancing. The Hi-Ups (our 10th graders) and many of the full session senior girls helped staff different stations where the younger campers could enjoy an activity.

Of course, we included dressing up for this party— Hawaiian shirts, plenty of lei necklaces and grass skirts, flower face painting, and colorful swimsuits all around.

There were games where coconuts were bowled toward empty cans, bean bags tossed toward corn holes, hoops hula danced, and backs bent to slide under a limbo bar —all to win fun RBC prizes like sunglasses, jump ropes and stickers.

The largest consistent crowd huddled around the “bucket dunk” near the lake. This is a funny contraption designed simply to dump the contents of a bucket (in this case water scooped from the lake) onto the head of someone sitting below when a string is pulled. That’s it! Girls took turns volunteering to be “dunked,” as contestants aimed bean bags at a corn hole board.  If someone tossed her beanbag into the hole, she won a chance to pull the string. Naturally, this whole scene drew a crowd of spectators as the buckets of water splashed down. Splash, cheer. Splash, cheer.

There were chances to be crafty too. The girls could make a “grass” skirt from colorful streamers tucked into a string belt, or use tissue paper to make a flower bracelet.

For snacks, loads of fresh fruit kabobs (strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe), cups of red punch and unlimited tropical fruit flavored snow cones were all popular. All afternoon beach-themed music added to the festivities, inspiring dance breaks in the games.

I’ve seen a lot of these opening day, all-camp special events, and ordinarily there are pockets where jitters can dominate the mood for a few of the girls. All the people, the craziness of the action, and the sheer novelty can sometimes be foreign and overwhelming. Walking around today, however, I was impressed how happily the girls were participating in the different activities, breezily trying different things, and playing together in groups. These girls are clearly ready for camp. So ready!

teen summer camp girls

Limbo at the Lake

girls at rockbrook camp

It was a joy today to welcome our June Mini session campers to Rockbrook. As the girls arrived throughout the morning, it seemed like everyone was excited: the wide-eyed anticipation of the new campers, the enthusiasm of returning campers to see their friends, and the welcoming spirit of the full-session girls already here. With the jumping mob of counselors dressing in their red staff uniform shirts and the bright sunshine of the morning, the whole scene was festive and fun. We jumped right into our swim demonstrations for the arriving girls while the current campers rotated through a few choice activities.

During the all-camp assembly on the hill, it became clear how welcoming and community-minded these Rockbrook girls are. In minutes, the whole camp was singing the line songs, laughing at the counselor skits, and cheering for cabins that won the “mop awards.” New and returning, full- and mini-session, young and old, everyone was happily contributing to the Rockbrook Spirit. These are really great girls, friendly and encouraging. They’re definitely going to have a lot of fun together this session.

water bucket dunking machinegirl holding watermelon near the lakecamp girl doing limboThe big event of the day brought everyone together for a Polynesian Luau, a dress-up lake party, for games, snacks, crafts, music and dancing.

Chase, our Program Director, planned more than a dozen different activities for the girls, and enlisted the Hi-Ups and senior girls to help with each station. This was a brilliant way for the older girls to have fun at the event, take on a little responsibility, and interact with the younger campers. They all had on great costumes too— grass hula skirts, Hawaiian shirts, lei necklaces, face painting and hats.

The games included a version of bowling were the girls rolled real coconuts toward a set of empty tin cans. There was a beanbag tossing game akin to skee-ball that won a prize for anyone who racked up enough points. The youngest girls could “fish” for prizes using a clothespin on the end of string and pole. The prizes for these games were small lollypops, and some RBC sunglasses, stickers, and jump ropes.

The funniest event was the “bucket dunk” set up at the edge of the lake.  Combined with a corn hole game, the girls took turns tossing a beanbag toward the corn hole for a chance to pull the dunking string. If they made it, they got to soak someone sitting below the bucket of water. There was no shortage of volunteers to sit in the chair, and plenty of girls to play the game as bucket after bucket was dumped to the cheers of everyone watching.

In the lake, teams of four girls challenged other teams to swim a greased watermelon back and forth between two points. There was cheering from all sides as each swimmer pushed their fruit along, briefly losing it under water until it floated up for another slippery nudge. Nearby, a long line of girls looped around under a horizontal bar doing the limbo. As the bar was lowered and it became more difficult to slide under with their backs toward the ground, only a few girls remained.

The more crafty girls gravitated to the “grass” skirts being made from colorful ribbons, and the table where they were decorating headbands with flowers they made from tissue paper and string.

Meanwhile, everyone enjoyed playing with the many beach balls and hula hoops, as they snacked on fresh fruit kabobs (pineapple, grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe) and unlimited snow cones. The Luau and beach-themed music kept everyone dancing in the warm afternoon sun.

Our camp photographs Karin, Abby and Hannah captured most of the event, so be sure to visit the online photo gallery too see more.  You’ll get a sense of how much the girls really had a blast with each other.

campers first day at rockbrook