An evening dance party with a neighboring boys’ camp is one of the most exciting events we hold every session. Just like in the movie(s) The Parent Trap, it’s an all-camp event anxiously anticipated and always a BIG deal in the girls’ minds. We have three different camps for boys we dance with: Camp Carolina, High Rocks, and Rockmont, and tonight it was Carolina’s turn to mix with Rockbrook.
Since we’d have too many children to combine both camps in one location, we have the habit of holding two dances simultaneously, dividing the boys and girls into an older group and a younger group. Tonight the Senior and Middler girls loaded our buses and vans for the trip over to Camp Carolina and the Juniors stayed here at Rockbrook to welcome the youngest boys.
Before that, when the dance was announced (Like all special events, we kept it a surprise.), it was an afternoon of grooming around here. Every shower ran non-stop for two hours, fully testing our tankless hot water heaters. It’s nice to never run out of hot water on a day like this. Special shoes appeared, and miles of long hair found a hairbrush… for the first time at camp in some cases, I’d guess. But don’t think everyone’s goal was to get “dressed up” for the dance. Cleaned up yes, but there were also plenty of silly costumes on display. I saw a “catnado” and a unicorn t-shirt, traffic vest, a supergirl and a bear costume. Many of the 9th graders used facepaint to draw a “third eye” on the their foreheads as well as the letters “CA.” Sports jerseys, bandanas, overalls, and tiedyes almost outnumbered “nice” shirts and shorts. Quite insightfully and in true Rockbrook form, these girls have allowed their playful spirit to outdo any expectation to be “attractive.” They know from experience that trusting that spirit makes things more fun.
The two dances themselves have a different feel. The younger kids dancing here in our gym were led by our friend and professional DJ Marcus. He’s an expert at playing music that is fun and familiar to the girls, with an emphasis on group dance songs like “Y.M.C.A,” “The Cha Cha Slide,” and “Cotton Eyed Joe,” for example. With the counselors dancing right along, the girls had a great time making conga lines, posing for photos, and trying new dance steps with their friends.
The dance at Camp Carolina for the older girls and boys was held in their dining hall. They set the mood by turning the lights down so a large illuminated disco ball hung in the rafters became the main light. The music selections focused on more current pop songs, with some Hip-Hop, Dubstep and Techno tracks mixed in. There was also an occasional slow song that signaled a few brave boys and girls to pair up for slightly awkward, arms-stretched, side to side shuffle. These slow songs equally inspired some girls to pair up and mimic that same slow-dance style with each other. It seemed to me that most everyone was happy when a fast song returned, replacing the finishing slow song. Group jumping instead of individual shuffling— it’s just better.
The bus ride back to Rockbrook was a chance to talk about the dance, to process what happened paying particular attention to who danced with whom, who said what to whom, and how they enjoyed the dance overall. One senior girl said she had “a great time,” and another told me she “loves the Camp Carolina dances.” So the reviews for the girls are positive! It was another great night out dancing.