Launching into Summer

After many months of planning, new building projects around camp, gathering supplies and equipment, hiring staff members, and for the last week, training outdoor adventure guides, equestrian specialists and cabin counselors, we have arrived at the opening day for Rockbrook’s 2013 summer season. It’s a very exciting day for all of us at camp. Like for your girls, it truly is the moment we’ve been waiting for. It’s the day when we can finally reunite with many old camp friends and meet great girls new to Rockbrook as well.

Overnight we had some heavy rain, and the rest of the day was forecast to be quite wet. So a little shuffling of our opening day schedule and procedures, a few tents and tarps, and plenty of raincoats and boots were required. It sprinkled a bit throughout the morning, and it did rain briefly now and then, but overall we had a great opening day. The campers met their counselors, moved into their cabins, and had a chance to decorate their name tags. These name tags, by the way, are made from a slice of a mountain laurel branch, and are just like those made for generations at Rockbrook. The girls use markers to decorate them and often add beads to the strings for another way to make them unique. In each cabin, the counselors had prepared a poster welcoming the girls and a “job wheel” outlining the daily chores and how they will be shared. It’s fun to settle into the cabin… Making beds, unpacking, arranging pillows and greeting everyone as they arrive.

Camper Games in Lodge

The weather cleared up nicely in the afternoon allowing us to send cabin groups on tours around the camp. These tours both orient the campers and get them thinking about the different activities they will be able to choose from. While some cabins were touring, others were playing group get-to-know-you games in the lodges, and others were down at the lake demonstrating their swimming ability to the lifeguards. Yes, it was plenty warm enough and, while cloudy, not raining during all of this activity.

Before dinner, we all assembled in the gym to learn more about the different activities at camp by watching the counselors perform skits. There were songs, dances with props like tennis racquets, climbing harnesses, and kick boards, and incredibly enthusiastic introductions. Watching these skits, you could tell the counselors were having fun and were going to be great teachers as well as role models for the campers this session. If you haven’t read through some of the staff profiles we’ve posted, I recommend it. You can see, even without meeting them, just how impressive these young women are!

Tomorrow the campers launch into their first activity schedule. It’s going to be big fun!

Friends Swimming Test

Good Goofy Fun

Camp girls painting ceramics pieces

Going around camp today, visiting the different activity areas, you could tell that the girls have really settled in and begun to make camp “a place of their own.” That’s a phrase from the Rockbrook Camp mission statement. It’s an attempt to summarize one of the real values of a camp experience for young girls, and it’s part of the magic of why campers love their camp. The ingredients are simple: really good people who are eager to make friends, broad opportunities to be creative, sporty, and adventurous, and a caring environment where everyone can relax and be themselves. Combine these with the girls making their own activity selections, having plenty of free time to enjoy the wonderful natural beauty of Rockbrook, and simply enjoying time with their friends, and we have something special, something very different from home and school (where parents and teachers call most of the shots), and something truly their own. This is their camp and they love it.

Funny girls skit during evening program

Of course, at camp a big group of girls can get pretty goofy and really let their silly side come out. Singing crazy songs outrageously loud in the dining hall, dressing up in a costumes for dinner, and making up skits with cabin mates are quite ordinarily part of the fun around here. This photo of an evening program cabin skit shows a little of that. Each cabin group is given a topic and challenged to come up with a group skit that they’ll perform for the rest of the age group in their lodge. It can involve singing, dancing, acting and audience participation, but whatever it is, the funnier it is, the better. A lot of the fun is working together to create the skit, as well as performing it for your friends.

This afternoon we had our Wednesday “Cabin Day.” This is a special day when after a morning of regular activity time (where the girls follow their individual activity selections), each cabin group sticks together for some special group event. Today, cabin groups were hiking to Rockbrook Falls and Castle Rock, building campfires to make S’mores, playing games in the gym and on the landsports field, cooling of by playing in the creek, and even making smoothies with the help of the kitchen. The mini session senior cabins took a trip to Sliding Rock, had a picnic and capped everything off with a stop at Dolly’s for a sweet treat. Dinner was some of Rick’s homemade fried chicken and warm yeast rolls.  Good stuff.  On cabin day, there’s always a lot going on!

Oh! I forgot to mention the muffins today… White Chocolate Raspberry. They were awesome!

Goofy camp girls having fun at Dolly's

Have you ever tried acting?

Summer Girls Acting

OK. So you’ve always thought it would be fun to act… perform a short scene, maybe create a character or personality, develop a story line. You’re a secret performer at heart. Sure, but the problem is, when do you do it? Who’s going to be watching? What will people think if suddenly you turn into a sweet old lady, or a glamorous Hollywood starlet, or a cranky bus driver?

That’s another fun thing about camp; there’s plenty of chances for acting. In addition to the Drama activity that meets most every day, you can join the group of girls producing the end-of-session musical (Did I mention singing too?). Also, some of the evening program activities provide opportunities to perform for your friends.

A great example of this is “Fractured Fairy Tales,” a fun game where each cabin of girls presents a skit combining more than one classic fairy tale. Can you imagine Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs in the same story? Needless to say, it can be pretty funny. Each cabin takes a turn performing its skit. With so many characters, everyone plays a part. It’s also fun to watch the other skits when its not your cabin’s turn.

Once you try acting at camp, it could become one of your favorite things to do!