What Home Really Is

Easy Time at the Lake

As second session girls prepared to depart, they wrote many of their thoughts about camp down for Spirit Fire. Girls from every line are invited to speak in front of the rest of the camp about what this summer at Rockbrook has meant to them. These speeches were particularly thoughtful; as such a long and beautiful session ended, sincere sentiments were met with smiles and tears as the girls prepared to leave. Although it is now third session, it seems like a great time to share this poem that two campers created and read at the end of second session spirit fire. I expect that all girls who have ever been to Rockbrook (or who are coming for the first time) will be able to relate to it.

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It’s hard to explain what home really is.

Your friends at school,
Your group, your clique,
Pressure getting A’s,
Pressure fitting in:
Perfect.

The love and care from mom and dad,
The entertainment from brothers and sisters
A variety of choices
From restaurants to malls:
The usual.

It’s hard to explain what home really is.

Your friends in your cabin,
A fun group, but not a clique
The pressure fitting in is not as much of a challenge
Growing, learning to be myself:
To be my type of perfect.

Love and care from counselors and directors,
Entertainment from the hi-ups and CA’s, our role models
A variety of choices:
Adventures, activities, creativity:
Not the usual,
Once a year…

But home.

How can two places, so special, so different, still be home?
Stripped away from air conditioning, electronics, and carpeted floors?

Home away from luxury–
More alive,
More real…

It’s hard to explain what home really is.
I guess we all have two.

Written for Second Session Spirit Fire by Karma B. and Sam H.

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According to the Campers

Once again, I thought we could publish a few pieces written by the campers themselves, telling us what Rockbrook has meant to them, and what they might have learned this session. We asked a Junior, and three Seniors (writing together) to share their thoughts, and these are the results!

So Much Shaving Cream Three Musketeers

Kate (9)–South Carolina

Rockbrook is a great place because it’s a place where girls can learn. They don’t just learn they become stronger people. When I first came to camp, I was not a really strong person. I did not make my bed, or clean much.

Then the day of camp came. From that second ’til now, I can tell all the girls and I have become stronger people and friends. I think that Rockbrook can make you meet a pal for life. I did, and we have told each other many secrets.

I also think my counselors are right about the saying “FFF” (Fierce Fabulous Females). That’s what you will become if you come to Rockbrook.

Hugs!

Rachel (14)–Virginia; Sanders (14)–Texas; Emily (14)–Georgia

When the three of us, Rachel, Sanders, and Emily, volunteered to write a snippet of the camp blog, at first we were unsure of how to put our thoughts into words. Should it be funny, formal, poetic, etc…? But, as we talked about it, it seemed to write itself:

To us, Rockbrook is waking up with a tangle of signatures strewn above your head. It’s coming back to friends you haven’t seen in a year, and feeling like you never left. It’s the deafening crunch of gravel at rest hour, and star-gazing on the Hill when you’re supposed to be asleep. It’s the nights when the sky is within your reach, and the darkness is your blanket.

Rockbrook is arguing with your counselor over the existence of a Fairy Party [editor’s note: just a dream…], and redetermining what “dry” means. It’s days in which laughter’s as constant as breath, and the cardinal’s glow stays with you all year. It’s the smile on your face when you’re singing your favorite camp song at the top of your lungs.

Rockbrook is home.

A Christmas Perm

Snowy Dining Hall

A Rockbrook Girl’s Night Before Christmas

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all round the world,

Were the coolest of cool, those great Rockbrook girls.

Their trunks were still packed in the corners of their rooms,

And they offered camp-colors to wintery gloom.

 

The world was a snow globe, all twinkling and white,

And the houses and halls were all decked in their lights.

Their tummies were warmed by hot chocolates and ciders,

And the girls never worried ‘bout snakes or wolf spiders.

 

The holiday season brought so much to love:

With ice skating, skiing, warm mittens and gloves,

With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali,

With New Year’s, and Christmas with boughs of bright holly.

 

But while sugarplums danced in the heads of their friends,

And their brothers’ discussions of gifts would not end,

The campers they dreamed of a different time,

When the weather was warm and the company was fine.

 

They dreamed of the days spent beneath the hot sun,

Of laughter and joy and unstoppable fun.

They dreamed of old cabins of weathered brown wood,

Of the Dining Hall songs and the dinners so good.

 

For these girls have a place of which only they know,

A place that still calls them through sleet and through snow.

A queendom of summer, all wreathed in tall trees,

Governed by girls with dirty faces and knees.

 

A place of the Midget Man, Killroy, and Nancy,

A place where the costumes make everyone fancy.

A place where the coolest is she who sings loudest,

A place where the silliest is always the proudest.

 

There may be no presents, no Santas or stockings,

There may be no carolers on front doors knocking,

There may be no snowmen at that time of year,

But there’s no other time with more pep or more cheer.

 

It’s a time that’s for rollicking, frolicking joys,

A time just for girls, with no smelly old boys.

It’s a time that’s for hiking, for swimming, for climbing,

A time that’s for Honosorarius rhyming.

 

It’s a time when directors can be seen walking,

And always with counselors and campers are talking.

A time when sweet Sarah stands up at the mic,

And says to the list’ners in a voice kind and bright,

 

“Now campers! Now counselors! Now barn staff and nurses!

On paddlers! On crafters! On singers of verses!

To the top of the Tower and to Rockbrook Falls,

Now hike away, climb away, dance away all!

 

For this is your time, on this midsummer’s day,

And it shall be spent in your favorite way.

It’s a time that we treasure in all of our hearts,

A time full of many incredible parts.”

 

So campers, though you are now spread far and wide,

Though you may have grown older, left camp days behind,

Just think of dear Rockbrook, in days cold and dark,

And its spirit will bring summer’s warmth to your heart.

 

And the day will come soon, for you or your daughter,

When you both stand once more beside cold running water,

And listen to red birds sing high in the pine,

And hear sounds of Rockbrook down each merry line.

 

But for now, let me tell you, with heart full of joy,

That I wish you best wishes for you to enjoy.

May your holiday season be happy and bright,

Merry Christmas from Rockbrook; to all a goodnight!

 

Poetry Slam

Poetry does just not appear out of thin air. It begins with a spark of inspiration. Because our campers and staff inspire us to “play more and sit less,” we thought it fitting to write a poem for all our Rockbrook girls. Whether you’re a camper in kindergarten,  a staff member at a university, or an alumna crossing your “t”s and dotting your “i”s out in the “real world”, this one goes out to you….

An Ode to a Rockbrook Girl

A Rockbrook Girl.

She’s as sweet as a marshmallow (and fiery enough to melt one).

Her sneakers are muddy and her smile is bright.

It’s hard to slow her down!

She’s zippy, peppy, and over-the-moon.

Sweet and Fiery

Can’t Slow Her Down

Born To Stand Out

She’s loyal, courageous, and true.

She always stands out in a crowd.

Rain or shine, count her in!

She splishes and splashes and sploshes and takes the world by storm.

Rainy day? A Chance To Play!

Happy As A Clam!

Leaving Her Mark on the World

A Rockbrook girl is a mover and a shaker. She slam dunks, flips and flops.

She’s a friend and a joy. She’s happy as a clam!

She’s a sweet treat. She plays outside.

She explores the world up-side-down, right-side-up, and side-to-side.

A Rockbrook Girl leaves no stone unturned.

The world is just a little bit better because she’s a part of it.

The Scent of Wood Smoke

Here is a poem we sometimes read at Spirit Fire. It was written by Canadian, Mary Susanne Edgar. Like Nancy Carrier, she founded a girls camp and was its long-time director.  That camp was Camp Bernard, located in Ontario. This poem does such a beautiful job conveying many of the sentiments of camp life and why it means so much for the girls who experience it.  We love it!

To An Old Camper
by Mary S. Edgar

You may think, my dear, when you grow quite old
You have left camp days behind,
But I know the scent of wood smoke
Will always call to mind
Little fires at twilight
And trails you used to find.

You may think someday you have quite grown up,
And feel so worldly wise
But suddenly from out of the past
A vision will arise
Of merry folk with brown bare knees
And laughter in their eyes.

You may live in a house built to your taste
In the nicest part of town
But someday for your old camp togs
You’d change your latest gown
And trade it for a balsam bed
Where stars all night look down.

You may find yourself grown wealthy
Have all that gold can buy.
But you’d toss aside a fortune
For days ‘neath an open sky
With sunlight and blue water
And white clouds sailing by.

For once you have been a camper
Then something has come to stay
Deep in your heart forever
Which nothing can take away,
And heaven can only be heaven
With a camp in which to play.