During the two “Free Swim” periods of each day, 45 minutes before both lunch and dinner, it’s common to see a good number of girls swimming laps at the lake. Some using kick boards and others varying their strokes, girls are clocking laps back and forth. And they are keeping count of exactly how many they finish, because if they reach 200 (150 for Middlers, and 100 for Juniors) they join the “Mermaid Club.” You can imagine completing that many laps is no one-day affair; it takes dedication and multiple trips to the lake. When a camper joins the Mermaid Club, Chrissy, our Waterfront Director, will read out your name in the dining hall during the announcements after a meal, and then the whole camp sings the “Mermaid Song” inserting the camper’s name in the final line. Chrissy wrote the song, and here are the words.
The Mermaid Song
Way down at Rockbrook in the chilly lake,
There were some girls a-swimming,
Who started to shiver and shake.
We saw some scales a-glinting,
And tails they did sprout!
Lo and behold a mermaid and the whole camp did shout
“Oh Mermaid, Mermaid, What’s your name?
! [name]! You’re a mermaid!”
More of a chant than a song, it’s an honor to be recognized by everyone in this way. In addition to the recognition, some girls are (at least partially!) motivated by another perk awarded members of the Mermaid Club each session: a trip to Dolly’s Dairy Bar. For girls who simply love the waterfront, the water slide “Big Samantha,” the diving board, or just floating around on a tube in the sun, this is a concrete way to show it. Here’s a short video to give you a better sense of it all. I wonder if your girls are striving to join the Mermaid Club… (Hint. Hint. You could write them and ask!)
For those who prefer more land-based activities to fill their free time, the gym is one place to go because there’s bound to be a basketball or dodgeball game in the works. Right outside the gym, the GaGa pit is a great option. The tennis courts are also available to practice your serve or just to hit a few ball with a friend. A group of “Rockbrook Runners,” which includes walkers, leaves for a loop around the camp during the first Free Swim of the day. Like the Mermaid Club, the Rockbrook Runners have a club based on how many loops/laps are completed by the girls. It’s the “Marathon Club,” and as you might guess, the runners aim to finish 26 miles while they are here for the full session (though less if at camp for fewer weeks). And yes, the same extra sweet, creamy reward awaits those who run the required amount. Running for ice cream… I suppose that makes sense in some way or another.
The tankless hot water heaters were humming constantly this afternoon after we announced at lunch that tonight we would travel over to Camp High Rocks for a square dance with their boys. After braiding a lot of clear hair, dressing in whatever combination of flannel, jeans and bandannas we could gather, our entire camp made the short journey up the mountain (10 bus/van loads plus a couple of cars for extra counselors!). When we arrived, the boys were waiting for us out on their tennis courts and the bluegrass music was already playing from a set of speakers on the small hill nearby. Some of the girls seemed a little nervous about not knowing how to square dance, but the High Rocks boys, and their counselors, were friendly and relaxed about the whole event and helped the girls learn different moves. Once we got going that uncertainty passed and soon everyone was smiling and laughing with every turn and do-si-do.
After about an hour of dancing, we took a short break to mingle and recharge with some homemade oatmeal raisin cookies and lemonade. A little more dancing and we were back down the mountain discussing what made tonight’s square dance (for some, surprisingly) so fun. Maybe it was the outdoor setting with beautiful evening sunlight, or the lighthearted friendly atmosphere, or the opportunities to talk with each other, or the gentlemanly behavior of the High Rocks boys, or the genre of the music (… Well, for the girls, maybe not that.). Whatever the reason, we were all sure it was a terrific evening.