Throughout the session, over the last few weeks, the girls have had their hands deep in clay making all sorts of small sculptures, decorative tiles, vessels like cups and bowls, and just about anything they can imagine. Both pottery studios were almost like factories with campers producing incredibly varied forms, works of art really, from the uniformly brown clay. More recently over the last few days, everyone took the next step of carefully painting glazes on their pottery pieces. The glazes paint on in dull-looking colors, but after the final step— firing in a kiln —they take on the shiny, more vibrant color you expect. Last Night Michelle, the director of our Ceramics Program, fired two completely stacked kilns containing all the work of the campers. That’s an almost 24 hour process, with the temperature slowly rising (to drive out any lingering moisture) and then holding at 1940 degrees for almost 12 hours. It’s very exciting to open the kilns after all that time and heat, and to see how the pieces ultimately turned out. This morning Michelle unloaded the kilns and set out all the finished pottery so the girls could claim their work. Such a colorful exhibit!
By the end of the day today, even using part of the free time before dinner, Andy and the climbing staff accomplished the goal of allowing every single camper to ride on the zip line. The Rockbrook zip line is a huge thrill. It’s 450 feet long and begins after you cross a swinging bridge suspended high above a ravine between two large rocks. The bridge is about 100 feet long and has (quite intentionally) missing planks, forcing the girls to step carefully from plank to plank over each gap. So right from the start, an adrenaline focus comes naturally to mind. Of course, while on the bridge, the girls are wearing a climbing harness and are securely tethered to a safety cable above. Not long after that focus, when the girls clip their double-wheeled pulley into the main zip cable, and then leap off the launch rock into what feels like 150 feet of empty space below, the whole experience tends to elicit wide-eyed surprise. Some girls simply cling to their tether and smile as they fly down the cable, while others whoop with joy, hands stretched high in the air. Either way, the first thing we hear on the landing platform is, “I want to do it again!”
Tonight was something everyone in camp was looking forward to, our end of session banquet. Based on a theme kept secret from everyone except the CA girls who planned every aspect of the event (costumes, music, decoration, food, skits, and choreographed dance numbers), the banquet is a fantastic party thrown for the entire camp. The CA campers spend all day decorating the dining hall, again in secret, until the theme is finally revealed as the campers enter through a tunnel of arms. Our banquet theme for this session… The “Rockbrook Olympics!” The CAs created a festive international party with posters of Olympic sports, flags of countries from around the world, streamers, balloons, and table decorations highlighting different countries and sports. They built an awards podium, and presented a synchronized swimming routine, a boxing dance number, as well as opening and closing ceremonies, complete with an Olympic torch. They served “Olympic Onion Rings” “Misty May’s Mixed Vegetables,” “Gold Medal Chicken Nuggets,” and “Shawn Johnson Strawberries.” Through the dinner, as the girls nibbled on all the different courses of food and enjoyed the candy also decorating the tables, they had dance breaks, spontaneously jumping up to dance in the cleared center area. The girls and staff members, all dressed in their blue RBC t-shirts, seemed so happy, laughing and dancing, pausing now and then for a quick photo. The banquet was a wonderful mix of fun dancing and food, colorful decorations and entertainment, but most of all, an upbeat celebration among now very close friends. These girls know how to enjoy themselves!