A Real Camaraderie

small camp girl kayaking in rapid

Our kayaking camp girls, the “Rockbrook Rapids,” just completed their week-long kayaking trip camp today with a run on the Upper Green River. Altogether this week they paddled the Tuckasegee, the Nantahala, the Broad, the Chattooga, and the Green. The group spent the night out a couple of times camping, and returned to camp the other nights. The water levels were high everywhere, but not too crazy, and with no rain all week— nothing but sunshine! —the trips enjoyed excellent boating conditions. It was fun hearing the excitement in the stories the girls told after arriving back at camp, accounts of specific rapids, odd things seen in the river (for example a picnic table and a swing set!), and the personal quirks that become funny when a group of girls spends this much time together. It was obvious that they were enjoying a real camaraderie as well as the thrill of all that whitewater. It was a great week of adventure.

We’re about a week into this first session, and to the experienced eye, it would be possible to guess that by measuring the number of finished craft projects appearing around camp.

There seem to be examples everywhere, and if it’s something that can be worn, then those colorful handmade crafts are now part of the landscape. Of course, almost every wrist has a friendship bracelet or lanyard adorning it, for example. I’ve also seen delicate and elaborate beaded necklaces coming from the jewelry making activity. Pottery is being glazed, and tie-dye t-shirts rinsed and dried for wearing. Woven placemats and potholders, cross-stitch designs, sequined headbands, leather bracelets, and knitted hats are now proud possessions (perhaps later gifts). The girls have also been painting small smooth stones, using acrylic paint to blend colors. They’ve been making post cards, ready now to be mailed home. You too will be impressed when you seen these crafts.

One quick reminder about mail… It’s a BIG deal to receive mail at camp. Everyday after lunch the girls check their mailboxes on the porch, ending up excited that they have something waiting for them, or a little disappointed that “maybe next time” they’ll have a card or letter to read during rest hour. You know the address, so keep that mail coming!

Camp is feeling really good. The girls are happy and engaged, excited and active. They are growing closer as friends, to each other and their caring counselors. There’s a daily enthusiasm for the simplest things, from muffin break to free swim. Friendly greetings punctuate every walk we take. A genuine community is taking shape with everyone involved. It’s beautiful to witness and a joy to share.

Camper Friendship

Fantastic Success

First a Kayak Camp update. As you know, kayaking has really caught on here at Rockbrook, and in response to that growing interest, we’ve begun offering 2 special 1-week camp sessions devoted entirely to whitewater kayaking. We’ve called these sessions “Rockbrook Rapids.” Today, the first of those sessions ended and we began to hear some of the exciting stories of how their many river trips went during the last week. The girls ran a section of whitewater every day, building skills and confidence on the water as they progressed through class I, II, and some class III whitewater. On two occasions, the crew camped near their river.  They ran the Lower Green, the Tuckaseegee, the Nantahala, the Chattooga (2 days), and the Upper Green rivers. This afternoon when the van pulled into camp after their last trip, the girls looked pretty tired and maybe a little grubby, but I’ve never seen a group more proud and satisfied. Unloading their gear, the girls happily handled the work, knew exactly what to do, and chatted effortlessly. It was neat to see that kind of camaraderie after just one week of shared outdoor adventure experience. The staff and the campers alike said the whole week was awesome. Check out the photos above (Click them to view a larger version) and you can see a little of the fun (Others are online in the photo gallery). One girl told me, “I’m definitely signing up for this again!” A fantastic success for the first kayak camp of the summer!

A great moment happened today when Sophia won a chance to spin the wheel in the dining hall. When it was clear she was the winner, Chase asked her where she hoped her spin would land. What prize was she hoping to win? Without hesitating, Sophia yelled “Pie Your Counselor” into the microphone. It’s always very exciting to spin the wheel, but when it lands on what the girl spinning hopes for, it’s so marvelous the whole dining hall erupts. And as you can see in the photo above, “Pie Your Counselor” is exactly what Sophia got! The kitchen helped out right away, whipping up two chocolate pudding pies for the occasion, so right after lunch a crowd gathered on the hill to watch the mess unfold. Everyone laughed and cheered as the counselors proved they could take a pie in the face.  It’s not often you have two willing victims for this kind of pie massacre, so we all had a great time watching.

After Pie in Face

Tonight we also had our first dance of the summer with Camp Carolina. We again held two dances, one at each camp with the older girls traveling over to dance in the CCB dining hall, and their younger boys coming to Rockbrook to dance in our gym. You might think these dances with boys are awkward since they contrast so completely with the all-girl world of Rockbrook. In reality though, we do what we can to keep everything lighthearted and silly. The counselors dress up in crazy costumes, and are quick to encourage group dances rather than pairs. Sure, the older girls spend a good deal of time on shall we say “hair care,” but for them too, what’s fun is the loud music, wild lighting, bouncy dancing and overall exuberant tone. Of course, being their with so many friends is what really makes these dances great.  But that true for everything at camp!

Girls Summer Camp Dance