Because of the People

During yesterday’s Spirit Fire, Clara Miller, one of the Hi-Ups (10th graders), spoke about what it means for her to be a “Rockbrook Girl,” and about what she most values during her time at camp. We thought others would enjoy reading it too, so she agreed to let us publish it here.

One of my favorite Rockbrook songs is “How Did We Come to Meet Pal?”. In particular, I love the line “T’was fate we came to Rockbrook and you became my friend.” Year after year, I return to the streams and the mountains, slowly dying fires, and blue skies, but more than that, I’ve always returned to camp because of the people. The bonds created at camp are unlike any other. They are built on honesty and authenticity, and for that reason, they are stronger than friendships formed in any other environment. I love the mountains and their beauty, and at the risk of sounding cliche, I love camp. However, when I dive deeper into my love of Brevard and Rockbrook, I realize that both stem from the people who I’ve gotten to know. That is why I returned for my Hup year. I couldn’t bear to spend a summer without Rockbrook girls.

Rockbrook Camp MountainsHup year was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It was some of the hardest work I’ve done in my life. I’ve never had to be a servant leader in the way Hup year required, and for that reason, I had to push myself in brand new ways. There were days when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the scraping-setting-barn walking tunnel. Then I would look out from the dining hall and see the beauty of camp. I would be reminded of why I choose to return to the mountains. Spending wonderful cabin days with my other Hups would remind me of the people who I return to again and again. And in those moments, I realized that I was wrong, and Hup year isn’t a scraping-setting-barn walking tunnel. It’s a year that, while difficult, is intended to push us to become hardworking, dedicated, and compassionate people. That is what Hup year means to me.

For six years of camp, I’ve been taught to face my fears, to help girls who are struggling, to give more than I take, to be grateful for the experiences and environment that I have been given, and through these ideals, become a Rockbrook girl. In past years, I have done these things, I have met these ideals, but I don’t think anything made me as much of a Rockbrook girl as Hup year. I was pushed in every way to be a brighter, stronger, better woman. Although Hup year was difficult, upon reflection, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My seven other wonderful Hups and my two amazing Hup counselors have become a family of sorts in the last three weeks. We’ve been pushed together, and I don’t know how I’m going to say farewell to nine of the best Rockbrook girls I’ve ever met, and I don’t know how I can return to the wooded mountain without each and every one of them by my side.

—Clara Miller

10th grade summer camp girls

Leah’s Spirit Fire Speech

Leah and Abby
The third session Spirit Fire, that closed that session and the entire 2012 season, included a speech by Leah Mayo (here she is on the right just before giving this speech). Leah has been coming to Rockbrook for 10 years, first as a Junior camper and now as a counselor, and in the speech she tries to describe “the magic of Rockbrook.” It’s a wonderful testament to why she loves this place so much. Enjoy!

I can’t believe it’s finally happened, that I’m wearing my 10-year necklace. I can still remember standing up my second year for applause at Spirit Dinner and thinking how far away receiving even my 3rd-year pin was. Ten years is a long time; it’s more than half my life. And this year I’ve come to realize just how lucky I am to have spent ten years here, to have been a part of the magic that occurs here for ten summers.

And that magic is what has kept me coming back year after year, and has made such a radical difference in my life. The magic of Rockbrook is hard to describe, but one of my campers last session came very close. She said that she loved Rockbrook because here “it’s okay to wear your shirt inside out.” She’s eight years old, the same age I was when I first came to camp. My first year at camp was one to remember, I let a High-Up dye my hair blue and Jerry bought me a brush because he thought I lost mine due to its “wild” appearance. I went to the riflery tournament that year—I guess some things haven’t changed. But a lot of things about me have changed. I’ve found myself.

Rockbrook’s magic is that it allows everyone to truly be themselves. And in the process, find yourself. It is here that I have found myself. It is in the heart of the wooded mountain that I have grown from that 8-year-old girl who couldn’t brush her hair into the person I am today. And the magic continues each year.

This year has been the most magical by far. I had a lot of expectations of what my tenth year at camp would be like. I imagined I’d get my necklace surrounded by my friends with whom I’d grown up at camp. But the people who spent those ten years with me aren’t all here. Some came earlier in the summer, some didn’t come at all. I was very sad when I realized I wouldn’t get to share this day with them, but little did I know I would be surrounded by some of the most amazing girls ever!

It has been such a treat to watch them grow as I did and put on one of the best banquets I’ve ever seen. I am so glad to know each one of them, and will always cherish the times we’ve had this session. We’ve all grown so much these past weeks. Someone special to me once said this in a Spirit Fire speech, and I want to pass this along to all of you: You are all strong, independent women. If you were a holiday, you’d be the Fourth of July. I am so proud to be your counselor. And to my co’s, I couldn’t have asked for better people to spend hours upon hours in Treasure Island with. We really are a family now.

Rockbrook’s magic is also about relationship building. It is here that I have formed friendships that have turned into sisterhoods, and I am close with people who live all over the states. My wish for my girls, and all the campers here, is that you will build friendships that will turn into lifelong relationships here as I have. And that here at camp you feel free to be yourself and so find yourself. There’s a line in the camp song that goes “May you see us one day the girls that you wish us to be.” That line has been on my mind all summer. The Spirit of Rockbrook isn’t finished working its magic on me yet, but I am so happy that I have spent ten years here and look forward to more.