Rockbrook is a place for sports too. In addition to all the opportunities for artistic creativity, outdoor adventure thrills, and horseback riding, girls are signing up for tennis, archery, swimming, riflery, gymnastics, soccer, basketball and other gym and field games. All over camp, balls are zooming across courts and fields. There’s concentration, timing and coordination, strength, balance and agility— all in play.
Gymnastics is a good example. Elaine Trozzo, our veteran Gymnastics coach, has returned to Rockbrook for her ninth summer. Elaine has been a gymnastics competition judge, coached competitive teams and holds a USA Gymnastics certification. During the school year, she runs a local community gymnastics program, and in the summer leads our counselors’ gymnastics instruction. Today, Elaine worked with her girls on the balance beam. After spending some time stretching and warming up, she positioned herself and another counselor on each side of the beam to spot as each child simply walked across. She of course talked about carefully balancing with arms outstretched, but also where to look, how to place your feet, and the feeling of keeping core muscles tight and centered. Dismounting is a matter of a solid jump off the end of the beam, landing firmly with two feet on the floor mat. Starting off with these basics, some girls quickly move on to turns and other more delicate balancing moves. Elaine’s encouragement and detailed, attentive coaching sets the tone in the gym making sure everyone enjoys gymnastics regardless of their experience or ability.
After rest hour this afternoon, we divided the entire camp up into three, multi-age teams— red, white and blue teams —who would compete in the “Red Bird Olympics.” With the London Summer Olympics now in full swing, we thought this would be a great way to match some of that spirit. The teams raced to thaw a frozen t-shirt, to be the fasest three-legged pairs, to toss water balloons without breaking, and other short relays. While these are not traditional Olympic events, each team dressed and painted themselves in their team color, created a team cheer and showed incredible team spirit. In the end, we really weren’t sure who “won” because we weren’t keeping score… no “medal count” here! When the point of something is the joy of doing, there just no need.
The highlight of the games, though, was the all-in slip-n-slide we set up afterwards. A big sheet of plastic spread down a gentle hill, water hose and a few bottles of no-tear soap was all it took, and in no time, this mob of colorful girls was having a blast. Run, jump and land on your knees or backside, slide and roll a few times as you splash down the sudsy sheet. Hilarious, fun stuff!
Tonight’s evening program shifted gears, settled down a bit, and featured a program of songs, skits and storytelling led by our friend Gary Greene. The Juniors and Middlers attended, sitting attentively in their crazy creek chairs around the campfire. Gary is a great musician, singer and storyteller, quick to smile and encourage audience participation. He told a thought provoking Norwegian folktale about 2 white birds (about kindness returning to those who are kind) and acted out Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky. One favorite song he sang with everyone was “Little Cabin in the Woods” complete with hand motions. Everyone sang the song repeatedly (and fast) while dropping words each round leaving just the hand motions at the end. (I posted a short video of this on the Rockbrook YouTube Channel). The Seniors, meanwhile, had a “Coffee House” where they performed songs and skits for each other in their lodge. It was a mellow evening for everyone, relaxed and comfortable among friends, and a nice classic camp way to end another great day.