The Delightful Nurturing

Whitewater rafting girls on the Nantahala falls

The Nantahala River today provided another perfect day of whitewater rafting for the Middlers and Seniors who just arrived at camp. We offered the trip to everyone, and probably 90% of the girls old enough were excited to spend the day paddling and splashing their way down the river. Our fantastic rafting guides arrived at the put in early to prepare the rafting equipment so that when the vans and buses of campers arrived, it took very little time to suit up (PFD, helmet, and paddle) and hear the safety instructions for the trip. Those instructions answer the girls’ questions about where to sit in the boat, what to do when you fall out of the boat, how to be rescued with a throw rope, and the whitewater swim position. Today the weather was hot a sunny all day, making both the morning and afternoon groups enjoy even more the cold water of the river.  For example, an entire raft of girls decided at one point to jump out into the river at the same time, leaving just the guide in the boat! There are almost 20 named rapids along this stretch of the Nantahala, but the highlight of the trip is the final rapid called the “Nantahala Falls,” a class III double drop. This is a heart-pounding, eye-popping, scream-inducing thrill that always elicits cheers when the boats make it through successfully. This photo (and others in the online gallery) gives you a sense of what it’s like.

Meanwhile back at camp, there was a lot going on!  Every building, every activity area, and even spaces in between, had groups of girls busy creating, joyfully playing, and engaging all the opportunities to try new things.  And on the other hand, the daily schedule at Rockbrook provides regular times where the girls can slow down a little, rest, relax and explore as their mood and interests might inspire. Mixed in are times for nourishment, like an apple or peach grabbed on the go from the dining hall porch, or everyone’s favorite, a freshly baked muffin (Today’s flavor was divine… cranberry, white chocolate chip!) served mid-morning. There’s time to soak in the natural beauty of the forested mountain, trees and flowers, and the running creeks that surround us at camp.

So much of this, so much of what life at camp requires, involves self-regulation by the girls. Many times throughout the day, the girls themselves make decisions about what they would like to do (float in a tube at the lake during free swim or read a book in one of the porch rocking chairs, for example). Likewise for their scheduled activities, would they like to spend time being creative tie-dying a t-shirt, getting a little sweaty playing dodgeball in the gym, or feeling their feet tingle high up on a rock face during a climb? Should they pay attention to the drizzle-threatening clouds, to the cricket in their cabin, to how many days it’s been since their last shower, and to their score in riflery?  What will they do when they feel tired, or a little too hyper, or maybe frustrated for some reason. How will they behave when it’s time to help with cabin chores, when their friend didn’t receive any mail and they got 5 letters, or when their cabin mates are arguing about who plays what role in an evening program skit?

Back in 2015, researchers at the University of Chicago published a report summarizing decades of theory and research drawn from the fields of youth development and education, and describing what children need to achieve “success” in life. Rather than academic skills, they identified four “foundational components” which underlie a child’s ability to fulfill his or her goals, influence the world around them, and have a clear sense of who they are. These four components are:

  • Self-regulation: the awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings, and management of one’s attention, emotions and behaviors to achieve goals.
  • Knowledge and Skills: information or understanding about oneself, other people and the world, and the ability to carry out tasks.
  • Mindsets: beliefs and attitudes about oneself, the world and the interaction between the two, which serve as the lenses through which individuals process everyday experiences.
  • Values: enduring, often culturally defined beliefs about what is good or bad and what one thinks is important in life.

If you are interested in this sort of thing, in thinking about the core foundations of child and youth development, there is a great infographic summarizing the report that I would highly recommend. For now, I hope it is clear why I bring it up; I believe a sleepaway camp like Rockbrook is a fantastic context to gain the sort of developmental experiences that bolster all four of these components. In addition to self-regulation, camp provides opportunities for practice and reflection on beliefs and values as they relate to the world and others. It offers numerous opportunities to gain knowledge and skills, and ultimately to develop a strong sense of self defined by “healthy relationships and a meaningful place within a community.”

This is the youth development work that takes place at summer camp. It hints at the invaluable learning that takes place here amid the zany, colorful fun.  We know that girls love camp— just ask; they’ll tell you! Camp is also delightfully nurturing in these very important ways. It’s fun that matters.

Celebrating the Silly

Rafting Camp Girls

Rafting, rafting rafting! Today Rockbrook girls took to the Nantahala River for a day of whitewater rafting. Two groups of girls, each made up of about 28 Middlers and Seniors, signed up to go on the adventure.  Rockbrook is known as the “rafting camp” since we take so many girls down the Nantahala (every camper interested who is 5th grade or older… an age/weight restriction imposed by our USFS permit) making us a weekly sight to behold on the river… dozens of Rockbrook girls all decked out in their colorful PFDs and white helmets, happily singing and screaming as their boats bump and splash over the rapids.

Today the weather was perfect in every way— warm and sunny, low humidity, blue skies and a very light breeze.  This made both the morning and afternoon rafting trips extraordinarily fun. The girls enjoyed splashing each other, taking turns “riding the bull” (sitting on the front of the raft), and even taking brief swims during calm sections of the river. Cold river water just feels good on this kind of warm, bright day. It’s really hard to imagine a better day of rafting.

girls sunglasses
girls silly headbands

Meanwhile back at camp, a surprise was brewing. It started at breakfast when all of the camp directors arrived wearing the craziest of fashion accessories. The camp mom wore a hamburger hat, our Program Director an all out 70s hippie outfit, and our Staff Director chose pins featuring pictures of all of her leadership staff. Soon enough, the girls heard the announcement explaining that today was declared CRAZY ACCESSORIES DAY!

Cheers erupted in the dining hall, and not even ten minutes later the whole camp was decorated in the wildest accessories girls could find and make up. One girl carried around a clear umbrella with blue and purple streamers to embody a jellyfish. Another camper picked up twigs to maneuver throughout her ponytail. Many girls were sporting tutus, colorful and crazy hats, headbands, sunglasses, and bright vests that could be seen from across the dining hall. It was fun and silly, in the best camp way!

For years now, Rockbrook girls have proved that everything is made better when there are costumes involved. Wearing a costume always adds an element of playfulness. It’s an opportunity for creativity. It can serve as a social glue bringing together girls to share a unique dress up idea. Costumes are inspiring, helping girls be less shy and perform a little more than they would otherwise. Costumes are genuinely liberating in this way. In a community that celebrates the silly, like Rockbrook, all this is even more true, and even more fun.

Finally, you’ll probably enjoy reading this short article in the New York Times, by Jeff Giles: “Goodbye Muddah, Goodbye Fadduh: Vintage photos of joy, adventure and homesickness at summer camp.” It’s a wonderful testament to the power of camp, how it evokes so much passion, and why it makes a huge difference in the lives of campers and staff members alike.

whitewater raft group

Camp Teaches Kindness

Rockbrook is accredited by the American Camp Association, an organization dedicated to defining and promoting professionalism and program quality among America’s summer camps. Through its many educational efforts and accreditation program, the ACA’s goal is to foster “greater public understanding of and support for the value of the camp experience” while “increasing [the] number of children, youth, and adults of all social, cultural, and economic groups [who] will have a camp experience.”

horse and small kid

Today, the ACA has deemed July 24th “camp kindness day,” a day simply to celebrate kindness as a core characteristic of many camp communities.Tom Rosenberg, the current President and CEO of the ACA, and good friend of Rockbrook, put it this way: “At camp, everyone belongs and learns to contribute altruistically in a nurturing, physically and emotionally safe environment where they learn to build caring, trusting, and respectful relationships with individuals who are different from themselves.”

We’ve said it many times before; camp teaches girls to be kind. There’s a kinship, an intensity and closeness, to camp life where sharing this much (meals, chores, songs and laughs, for example) charges up our sympathy and compassion for each other. The camp community, defined by heartfelt relationships rooted in caring and generosity, simply inspires kindness toward others. At Rockbrook, it’s easy to see too. Girls are helping each other in every activity. They’re quick to comfort, support and encourage each other. There’s warmth and affection in every greeting and cheer. Living in this kind of positive community feels really good also. It opens us all up to be more trusting, and paves the way toward greater resilience and self-confidence. Of course, friendships blossom along the way, making everything more fun. Kindness is definitely key at camp. Hooray for #CampKindessDay !

camp rafting kids

About half the camp went whitewater rafting today on the Nantahala river. One group drove over on Monday to spend the night at our outpost campsite before rafting the next morning. This group had a great time roasting marshmallows over a campfire, listening to the whippoorwills out at night, and battling at least one wolf spider hiding in the rafters of the tent platforms. The second group arrived in time for lunch before their trip down the river.  For each trip, six girls, each outfitted with a PFD, paddle and helmet, piled into one of our rafts and with one of the RBC guides steering in the back, bumped and splashed down the 9 mile section of river. The predicted afternoon thundershowers held off until we were on our way back to camp, adding to everyone’s enjoyment of their time on the water.

Back at camp in time for dinner, the girls were excite to find out that it was “Birthday Night,” a fun special event where the dining hall is rearranged to allow everyone to sit at a table according to their birth month.

This is always a popular event because it means sitting with different people, staff and campers alike. It’s one big birthday party for everyone at camp, and since there are 12 months, we had 12 cakes, each decorated by the Hi-Ups with colorful frosting and candy designs. Never missing an opportunity to dress up, we also made this party even more fun by giving it a “sports” theme with decorations and costumes based on different sports teams and uniforms. It was a colorful party of good silly fun for the whole camp.

Nantahala falls rafting splash

Accepting Adventure

We jumped right into some outdoor adventure today, only the second full day of the session, by taking more than 90 people whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River. Since the early 1980s, after the US Forest Service issued us a permit to run the river (we’re the only girls camp to have one!), Rockbrook girls have been taking this exciting outdoor trip. It’s a fun two-hour run through the Nantahala Gorge over several well-known, named rapids as well as calm sections ideal for splashing and goofing around with the others in your boat. Over the years, rafting has become the most popular out-of-camp adventure trip we do with I’d say almost 90% of the Middlers and Seniors choosing to go.

Camp crew whitewater rafting

There were actually two Rockbrook trips down the river, splitting the number of girls to make more reasonable sized groups.  The first chose to add an overnight camping experience the night before at our outpost camp located near the river’s put in. The girls came prepared with sleeping bags, a change of clothes, flashlight, brushes for hair and teeth, sprays to block bugs and the sun.  A few stuffed animals came along as well. We enjoyed a quick dinner of mac-n-cheese and still had time for a campfire and s’mores before heading off to sleep in the platform cabins. The second trip elected to ride over from camp and raft in the afternoon, finish up and be back for dinner.

Happy camp adventure rafting

The weather was ideal for both trips— hot and sunny. This of course made the “extra-cool” (close to 50 degrees) water feel both exhilarating and good. There were “high-fives” with paddles, chances to “ride the bull,” surprising bumps followed by sudden swims, and plenty of screams and laughter all day long. Check out the photo gallery to see shots from both trips. They were great!

There’s more to these rafting trips than simply the thrill, the ride, and the fun. For example, rafting is a real adventure, something that’s a little scary (because something might go wrong— like falling out of the boat), perhaps a little uncomfortable (that cold water!) and certainly a physical challenge. It promises to be fun, but really does take courage for girls to sign up and agree to go. And when they do go, endure the discomfort, power through that twinge of nervousness, and use their muscles in new ways, there’s inevitably success that feels really good. There’s accomplishment built into rafting and thereby it is a great self-confidence boosting experience. Through their own independent choice, their own agency, the girls learn they can do something (often with expert advice and special equipment) even when it looks difficult, uncomfortable or scary. Rafting can be a step toward feeling more confident and capable in other ways. Instead of shrinking from challenges, these camp girls will be more open to moving forward, accepting adventures, and proving once again that they can do it.

Camp is wonderful in this way, and this is just one example of how being independent, making choices, accepting challenges, and finding real success is our daily bread at Rockbrook… all wrapped in a thick layer of fun.  Such good stuff!

Nantahala rafting camper girls

The Adventure of Rafting and Dancing

Rafting is always a big deal at Rockbrook, and we proved it again today as we brought another 70 people down the Nantahala River for a thrilling whitewater trip. Ever since the early 1980s when Rockbrook received one of the few rafting permits awarded organizations (We’re still the only girls camp with a Nantahala rafting permit.), our camp girls have paddled the Nantahala. Over these years, it has become THE outdoor adventure trip most girls sign up for during their camp session, and while only Middlers and Seniors can go due to a Forest Service restriction, probably 90% of these eligible girls chose to go rafting.

We took two trips down the river with two different groups. The first drove over on Monday afternoon to our outpost campsite located just a short drive east of the river’s put in. The outpost has tent platforms, a small bathhouse, dining hall, and campfire ring. After arriving and setting up their sleeping platform arrangements (who “gets to” sleep by the door), the girls enjoyed a quick dinner of quesadillas, refried beans, salsa and chips, while saving room for roasting marshmallows and making a s’more around the campfire. Wood smoke, crispy toasted sugar, and the cool air of a cloudless night sky of stars combined beautifully. As the girls finished their goodnight circle song, everyone appeared happy and content heading to bed.

The next morning a quick breakfast of bagels, cream cheese and fruit charged us up before hitting the water around 10am. With our Rockbrook adventure staff guiding the boats, the morning group enjoyed a beautiful sunny trip down the river.  The whole run lasted about two hours, which was just enough time to bump, splash and laugh through the rapids without getting too cold in the 53-degree water.

The final rapid of the trip is a Class-III drop called the Nantahala Falls. It’s quite narrow and has two sections that can make it challenging to run, so it’s guaranteed to the best rapid of the day. Click on these photos to see what I mean.

The second trip of the day also had excellent weather as they paddled, floating and singing down the river. Rafting is a fun mix of physical activity, goofing around with friends in the boat, moments of scream-inducing fear, and plenty of shocking cold— feet-numbing cold —water. No wonder it’s popular!

Dancing Camp Girls

Arriving back at camp in time for a picnic dinner on the hill, everyone was surprised to learn that tonight’s evening program was a camp dance with the boys of Camp Carolina. Here too, we created two groups with the Senior girls traveling by bus over to Camp Carolina, and their younger boys coming to Rockbrook to meet our Middlers and Juniors. Having two simultaneous dances makes managing about 450 children a lot easier, and more fun for both age groups. At Rockbrook, DJ Marcus kept everyone moving by playing pop songs and well-known group dancing songs. The girls happily formed conga lines, danced all over the gym, and had no trouble stopping to pose for photos with their friends and counselors. Camp Carolina also played mostly “radio hits” popular with the girls while keeping the lights low to show off their mirrored disco ball spinning near the ceiling.

I guess we could say, like rafting, there’s a bit of adventure involved in camp dances as well. Dances often require a special location (dance floor), equipment (amplified music), and clothing (the clean things). There’s a certain amount of skill, both physical and social, involved at camp dances. Also though, there’s excitement mixed in, the thrill of interacting with the opposite gender, especially for the older girls. It’s that kind of adventure that makes for memorable fun.

It’s been a very full day for these Rockbrook girls. They’ve done extremely well, enjoying themselves every step of the way.

Simply Glorious Camp Days

horse caring camp girls

Horseback riding has always been extraordinarily popular at Rockbrook, with at times close to half the girls taking mounted riding lessons at least once (though as many as five times) a week. We have an amazing herd of 30 horses again this summer, all of whom are schooled horses throughout the rest of the year either as competitive show horses or therapeutic riding ponies. This range of horses allows our equestrian staff to find horses that matches each rider’s skill level, and to offer a range of mounts. The girls love being able to interact with the horses both on the ground and while on their backs riding. There’s always grooming to do, often time for a wash, and all those manes, tails and forelocks happily love being braided. With our current beautiful weather, time at the barn and the riding lessons have been simply glorious.

whitewater rafting smiles

It was time for some outdoor adventure today too because we took our first whitewater rafting trip down the Nantahala river. Three buses left camp early this morning to allow a big group of seniors to spend the morning bumping and splashing down the river over in Swain County. Our team of Rockbrook guides met us at the put in spot and was ready with our fleet of seven RBC rafts, and piles of paddles, life jackets and helmets. Despite the recent heavy rains, the river was only slightly higher than normal, making the trip a little faster, and little more fun too. The warm sunny, cloudless day made it even better, and with very few other people on the water this early in the season, this trip really could not have been better! Check out the photo gallery for a few shots of the day.

birthday party campers

How would you decorate 12 different cakes? That’s exactly what our Hi-Ups did this afternoon, helping the kitchen prepare for our special all-camp birthday party at dinner. With two giant tubs of vanilla and chocolate frosting they began with a generous layer on the sheet pan sized cakes (about 18×24 inches), and then worked to decorate a unique design for each month of the year. They used jelly beans, M&Ms, chocolate chips, colorful sprinkles, and even breakfast cereal to spell out the names of months (mostly abbreviated). But why stop there? Soon the cakes were popping with decoration, each Hi-Up having a chance to build a delicious work of art. When the cakes were brought out, the whole dining hall sang “Happy Birthday” and cheered wildly. This “Birthday Night” also had a sports theme where there were decorations and costumes focused on different sports teams and uniforms.  It’s was a colorful, fun party for the whole camp.

Tonight was the first of our camping trips scheduled for the Juniors. About a quarter of a mile down the path toward Rockbrook Falls (still on the camp property), there’s a special area where generations of Rockbrook girls have set up a campsite. Among huge boulders and under beautiful old trees, there are two camping platforms with tin roofs, and a fire ring surrounded by log seating. Two groups of girls hiked out to the campsite after dinner with their sleeping bags, pillows and flashlights, maybe some bug spray and a few stuffed animals too. The staff built a nice campfire and led everyone singing songs, telling riddles, and making s’mores over the fire. For many of the girls, this will be their first time camping, sleeping in the woods without lights or the comfort of a bed. With the sounds of crickets nearby and the waterfall in the distance, it’s a very peaceful place to spend the night.

camp rafting girls

Spirited Shenanigans

Whitewater Rafting Rapid

Being a camp community that spends most of its time outside, you can imagine that we pay a great deal of attention to the weather. But I should clarify that; the directors and other adults think about the weather, plan for it, make adjustments because of it, celebrating or bemoaning what mother nature sends our little nook in the mountains. We are focused on the weather (even to the point of installing our own weather station!), but the kids, the girls at Rockbrook generally are not. Today, for example, we had “perfect” warm and sunny weather for our whitewater rafting trips, and all of our other in-camp activities, but I don’t think the girls noticed it much. Instead, they paid attention to each other and to the activity, laughing and splashing, bumping and paddling down the Nantahala. It’s amazing how “in the moment” these girls are, oblivious to everything beyond what they’re doing and the friends they’re doing it with.  On other days, I’ve seen campers completely ignore the rain, happily wearing a hat instead of a raincoat, playing in the creek as if it was any other day. There’s no air conditioning in the cabins, but that simply doesn’t matter to the girls when there are so many more immediate things to discuss with bunkmates. When it’s hot and humid late in the day, that’s just another reason to head to the lake. The weather demands attention now and then, but most of the time it’s just the context for our daily camp experience. We all know, for example, to stay safely inside when there’s a threat of lighting, or the opposite, we may stop what we’re doing in amazement of a brief hail storm. This kind of complete engagement, energized immersion into the daily activities that structure our day— which makes “time fly” and fuels the intensity of the fun, by the way —makes everything external largely insignificant. The weather? “Oh yeah, I guess it rained.”

We took about 60 people whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River today. We offer this trip every year to all of the Middlers and Seniors, and for many it has become their favorite outdoor adventure experience of their session. One bus of girls chose to spend the night at our outpost near the river, enjoying a little camping complete with maybe one too many s’mores before bed. The river trip itself delivered plenty of frigid water and thrilling drops through the class II and III rapids, but as you can see the girls added a good dose of silliness to the trip as well, posing for photos, making “high-fives” with their paddles, and riding “the bull” until falling back into the boat or forward into the river. Using our own equipment and guides the girls already know helps this extra silly fun take over. Songs and spirited shenanigans all the way down!

Camp horseback riding girl

Be sure to take a look at the online photo gallery. Today’s shots are particularly good. We have two full-time photographers who roam around camp trying to capture the action. At times only one is working, and at others, both are busy trying to snap a photo of every girl (at least one!) while also showcasing the different activities all happening at once. It’s difficult to be everywhere at the same time, but especially when both photographers are working, they do an amazing job keeping the gallery interesting. Spend a few minutes scrolling through the photos and you will discover the incredible variety of things your girls are doing— riding, shooting, jumping, zipping, weaving, tie dying, playing, swimming, balancing, paddling, acting, painting… —but also I hope you’ll get a sense of how they’re learning along the way. Every activity involves specific skills, techniques, terminology, equipment or materials. Some require careful athletic coordination, imagination or creativity.  Personal qualities are being exercised too: perseverance, bravery, patience, humility, and stamina come to mind. Rockbrook’s organized camp activities bring all of this together, and when led by such amazing, caring instructors, and when the forces of “positive peer pressure” (“Let’s sign up for kayaking!”) soften feelings of hesitation, girls grow in astounding ways. They experience not just something novel and fun; they discover new success and confidence too.

Tower course climbing kid
girl learning to belay

Climbing is a great example of this learning, of the broad educational (in the best sense of the word) benefits of camp activities. Of course, beginners learn about the special equipment needed to climb safely: the kernmantle rope, helmet, locking carabiners, belay device, and harness with its array of straps and buckles. They learn about different climbing techniques: various holds, body positions, and balancing stances. The older girls can learn how to belay. There are mental skills also: concentration (“Don’t look down!”), determination, and problem solving each step of the way, for example.  Emotions like fear and frustration often play a role too, not to mention the elation of achieving the goal of reaching the top of a climb. Climbing means overcoming your fear of heights (which we all have to some extent) by learning to trust, to trust the safety equipment and ultimately to trust your own ability to climb effectively. Whether it’s on our high ropes climbing tower, wall in the gym, the routes on Castle Rock, or on Looking Glass Rock in the Pisgah Forest, the Rockbrook girls who climb are learning so much more than simply “how to climb.” So much more!

camp water slide girl

Active Creative Fun

Small Camp Girls


It’s been an amazing few weather days, with everyone surprised by how cool it’s been. If you’ve been checking the Rockbrook Weather Station, you know what I mean. For example, this morning it was a chilly 51 degrees (!), which means overnight we had perfect sleeping weather (in our open-air cabins), and in the morning everyone layered up with sweat shirts, long pants, and in some cases hats. The humidity has also been unusually low, so as the day warmed into the 70s with clear blue skies, it felt wonderful to be outside. It didn’t take long for the girls to shed their layers and enjoy the sunshine as they romped about the camp for their activities.

Camp Twin Day Costumes

So many twins! Not actual twins (mostly, since we do have a few sets of biological twins at camp right now), but costumed twins could be spotted around camp today, since, yes, it was “Twin Day.” We love costumes at Rockbrook, and tend to take any chance we can to dress up, to put on something— and the wackier the better —that’s out of the ordinary. There’s something inherently fun about taking on a different character, perhaps completely changing your hair (neon purple!), wearing a shiny black cape, or even changing your accent (Arrrrh, pirates!). It’s good fun to dress up, but more importantly, it’s active creative fun, and not some kind of passive entertainment. There’s no recipe or formula for how to make your twin costume; you and your friend have to decide. Same shirt, shorts, glasses? What about hairstyle? And since our dress up days at camp are always open to the whole group, there’s both a performance element, and a sense of pride that comes from presenting your costume creativity to everyone else. In this way, participating in a group costume event like Twin Day provides a real boost to our (admittedly zany) community.  When we’re into it, it brings us together. It can be a little disconcerting to see two girls wearing lab coats playing tetherball before lunch, but you can’t help but smile at the sight.

While girls were trotting with horses, zipping high among the trees, and tying t-shirts for dye in camp, about 60 middlers and seniors spent part of the day in Swain County rafting the Nantahala River.

Camp Rafting kids
Nantahala Kids Rafting

The Nantahala has been ranked as the best class II whitewater river in the southeast because it offers both incredible scenery as it passes through a steep, forested gorge, and a perfect mix of whitewater rapids, calm stretches, and an exciting class II+ drop for a finale. Back in the early 1980s the US Forest service awarded Rockbrook a permit to raft the Nantahala, and since that time we are one of the very few camps to do so with its own equipment and guides.  Over the years, taking a whitewater rafting trip has become an extremely popular adventure outing for Rockbrook girls.  There’s no additional charge and we offer the trip to everyone who is old enough to go (that’s a limit placed on us by the Forest Service): the middlers and seniors. One camper explained to me that this was her fourth time down the river— every year she’s come to camp —and it’s more fun every time. “Best trip ever!” One of the defining features of the Nantahala, and I’m sure you’ll hear about this from your daughter if you ask her about rafting, is the temperature of the water. Thanks to the frigid bottom-of-the-lake water released into the river by the Duke Energy hydroelectric project, falling into the 50-degree river is an unforgettable, wide-eyed, breath-taking experience. Toward the end of the 2-hour trip, it’s a safe bet that most toes are numb. Of course, there’s a thrilling rapid around each bend of the river, and a boat of laughing, singing friends to keep the whole trip exciting and fun.

Back at camp, our evening program tonight was an all-camp special event down in the gym, and as you might guess, we turned on the costumes again, this time to the theme, “When I grow Up.” This is a brilliantly conceived costume theme that can accommodate the conventional (I saw a doctor or two, a “professional equestrienne,” and a soldier, for example.) as well as the imaginative, like a shark trainer, a unicorn princess, or a food fairy. All of the costumes were resourceful, mostly eclectic and certainly colorful.

The event was a goofy spin-off from the popular game show “Family Feud.” For us it was more like “Cabin Feud” where groups of girls from each Line (age group) attempted to guess the most common answers to questions like: What’s a fruit that has lots of seeds? Or, What’s a sport that does not involve a ball? Or, What do teenagers like to do when they’re bored? Counselors knew the top 7 answers to each question and as team members correctly guessed answers, the team earned points. Meanwhile the audience rooted for their friends, shouted helpful suggestions, and had a great time following the competition. Each winning cabin (per age group) would receive a delicious-looking cookie cake trophy, so the audience went wild with enthusiastic cheering whenever a group won a round. It was a fun spirited evening celebrating our collective creativity.

Girls Camp Relaxing