Easy Living

Namaste Yoga

I am constantly amazed by the intellect, creativity, and sheer drive to achieve shown by Rockbrook girls. They all love to talk to us about their after-school activities—the sports they play, the clubs they join, the books they read, and the milestones they accomplish. We have champion runners, volleyball players, and speech-and-debaters; members of volunteer organizations, bands, and church youth groups; aspiring fashion designers, architects, and actresses.

This astounding variety of talents in our campers is part of what makes our camp such a fascinating place to be. In any given conversation, you never know what viewpoints and past experiences you will be faced with. It offers all of us here the chance to learn from everyone else around us.

Peace and Quiet creek

Despite the pride with which campers display their talents and discuss their achievements, though, I get the sense that one of the primary joys of camp is that this is a place where they get to throw away their after-school schedule for a few weeks. Though we offer runners the chance to run (in the Marathon Club), swimmers the chance to swim (in the Mermaid Club), and artists the chance to create in a multitude of classes, we make it our goal to strip away the competition and the pressure to achieve that can so often be found in schools and sports teams.

Parents often express surprise when their camper, who is perhaps constantly taking part in theater at home, opts not to do the play, or when a track star chooses to join up with Rockbrook Readers during free swim rather than Rockbrook Runners.

Chillin' in the Lake

When I ask such girls why they put aside their hobbies at camp, their answers are remarkably similar. They maintain that they still love their extracurriculars, and look forward to restarting their practices after camp—but they also seem to relish the peace and quiet of camp. They enjoy the chance to craft their own schedules, then wipe the slate clean after three days, and make a new one. They delight in making a bowl in pottery, simply for the sake of making a bowl, not so that they can add another skill to their college resumes.

Lap loom weaving girl

More than anything, though, they enjoy the hours of free time we give them each day—the hours when they can simply lie in the sunshine on the hill, float in an inner tube in the lake, or chat with their friends. They need these few weeks of moving slowly, these days of quiet, these moments of easy living, to recharge for the pace and constant excitement of the outside world. They need to escape the pressures of their commitments, just for a little while, so that, when they return, they can face their lives with a fresh vigor, and return to us next year with a new slate of accomplishments under their belts.

Rockbrook Readers enjoy

Evening Program Writing

Girl Teen Sleepover Camps

We found this great old photo in the Rockbrook archives the other day. It’s not exactly clear when it was taken, but we’re guessing that it was sometime in the 1950s. It looks like the girls are all writing for the camp yearbook, “The Carrier Pigeon” during an evening program in the upper Lakeview Lodge. It’s when all the girls in an age group take time to jot down a favorite memory (sometimes as a poem or drawing) from their time at camp that summer. We later compile them all and publish the “Carrier Pigeon” each year.

From the photo, you might think it’s a sleepover, since the girls are in their pajamas, but that’s just life at an all girls camp. Nice and relaxed.

Letters Home from Camp

overnight summer camp campers

Here’s an interesting article that caught our eye over at the Christian Science Monitor, “Mom to Dad: ‘Think Jimmy’s Doing O.K. at Camp?'”  It’s a short piece written by Dave Horn about his time as an overnight camp counselor in the 60s.  While parents today have online photo galleries and blogs to see how their children are doing at camp, he notes just a few years ago there were only letters.  Parents had to mostly wonder and wait to find out about their camper’s camp experience.

But what if the campers didn’t write home much?  After all, they’re having too much fun to stop and write a letter.  Camps helped by asking the camper’s counselors to write quick notes to parents, reassuring them that all is well at camp (a tradition Rockbrook still follows).  To help his young campers even more, Dave Horn turned this letter writing into a game.  He had each camper take turns playing the “boss” and dictating a letter home.  The camper would sit down and recite what he wanted to tell his parents and Dave would type it out on his portable typewriter.  In this case, 1960s technology helping kids communicate from overnight camp.

I wonder if he mentioned hula hooping in your bathrobe? 🙂