This is our full camp video (16:38 minutes) introducing you to what makes Rockbrook special.
Transcript – Camp Video
Because of Rockbrook, I feel I’ve really grown as a person. Because of Rockbrook, I look forward more to summer than any other time of the year. Because of Rockbrook, I’ve become more sure of myself and a much stronger leader. Because of Rockbrook, I’ve learned to get out of that shell that I used to have. Because of Rockbrook, my life has turned upside down in the greatest way possible.
A Rockbrook girl isn’t afraid to get a little dirty. She’s very well rounded. I love the people here at Rockbrook. They’re so energetic and just so fun loving. And they’re just so welcoming. I mean, even in my first year, I felt like I’d been here for four years. I really love the way that all the kids here are so friendly. And also, you get to try so many activities that you’d never ordinarily get to try. Everyone is encouraged to be imaginative in every aspect of the day. So if you want to make up a new friendship bracelet pattern, then you can. If you want to make up a song– For the rest of your life.
I just climbed the top of Castle Rock. It was awesome! Rockbrook is about having fun. Rockbrook is about being yourself, being a girl, and growing. Rockbrook is about giving girls a space where they belong.
How to Find a Place to be Yourself
Since 1921, Rockbrook has been a haven in the wilderness for girls everywhere. Rockbrook gets girls outside. It’s a place of encouragement and growth. But most importantly, it’s a place where girls relax and be themselves and make true friendships.
When you come to camp, you’re constantly surrounded by trees and your best friends and all these amazing counselors. The atmosphere here at Rockbrook is definitely like no judgment. It’s not like home where you have to worry about what other people are thinking about you. Here is my time where I can just let go and be who I want to be.
So much of Rockbrook focuses around the community and the relationships we build. And it starts in the cabin. So every girl gets a lot of attention. The thing I love most about the community here is that it’s so open. There’s no pressure from outside. Girls are really here just to be girls. Friends I make here are, like, I consider them family. They’re sisters, really.
How to Laugh All Day Long
Over the years, we’ve found that it’s important for campers to make their own activity selections after arriving at Rockbrook. Once they arrive, they get a tour. And then they select their first set of four scheduled activities. Each camper signs up for four different activity periods every day. We have two in the morning, two in the afternoon. I do stuff here that I wouldn’t usually do at home. I really like riflery and arts and crafts. I really like climbing and pottery and hodgepodge. Here at camp, they kind of have something for everyone that appeals to everyone.
There’s definitely something for everyone and something for every level within each activity. I really like gymnastics and swimming. Here at canoeing– we allow the girls to learn the basic paddling skills and the parts of the boats. But we also give them the option to just come in, goof around, play in the water. Or if they want to learn about the eskimo roll in the kayak, we also have that too. I just did a wet exit. You flip over. You have to take off this thing. And then you kind of do like a flip underwater and then you get air.
If you want to act, especially for the girls that don’t get a big chance to do artsy kind of things during their year at school, they really love getting to do the play. And then with dance, we started out with some basic stretching, some basic moves, and taught them more and more. And now, we have quite the elaborate dance that they’re about to perform. And they’re doing such a good job.
You can be any level at any activity. So you could be a beginner, intermediate. We offer advanced levels. The campers sign up for new activities every three days. And over the course of their session at Rockbrook, they can sample nearly all the activities offered here at camp. This allows them to sign up with their friends, but also to reinvent their camp experience each week.
If a camper is really into paddling, she could sign up to take paddling every rotation that she’s here and really work on learning some of those more difficult skills. But if, you know, she just wants to be a beginner at paddling, she could take that for three days and then move on to take other things.
There’s a good balance here between structure time and free time to do what you want to you. And I really think that’s why Rockbrook is known as a place where girls can grow is because it really encourages that kind of independence.
How to Befriend a Special Horse
Our top priority is going to be safety. But then the next thing we focus on is fun. And then the third is skill advancement– learning how to post or jumping jumps that they don’t normally get to jump or riding new horses. We also only keep preferably three to four riders to every instructor. And so we never have more than four, maybe five riders in a ring at once.
We’re going to find that horse. We’re going to find that special horse that you can bond with, that you feel safe and comfortable on, that you can have a blast with. We absolutely love our campers that have never ridden before. We take our time with them, and we make sure they’re comfortable on the ground and make sure they have all the tools that they need that, once they’re on their back, they feel comfortable.
Our lessons for the more advanced riders tend to be a mix of working on the skills that they want to develop– helping them be stronger, working on their balance, helping them learn how to ride different horses. We mix that up with just having a lot of fun. And we do games and activities that strengthen them as riders and that kind of help remind them why they got into it in the first place.
How to Climb a Real Rock
In addition to all the excitement here at camp, campers can also choose to go on one of our many out of camp adventure trips.
I like to take the kids out into the woods and hand them a map and say, OK, where do you want to go? If we want to hike to a waterfall and just spend the whole day playing in creeks, that’s what we do in our backpacking trips. If we want to go to the top of a mountain and then come down and set up our camp and explore some more, that’s what we do. If we just want to hike into the forest and set up camp and sit there and enjoy it, then we’ll do that. Being in a natural environment I think helps kids to realize the importance of friendships and gain those really lifelong relationships that they would not otherwise have if they were playing a Nintendo. If I can get one kid to remember something cool that happened here at camp that they did outdoors, that’s really what I’m in it for.
I’m really dedicated to what I do and I love to see other people who are excited. I’ve never done whitewater kayaking before I came to camp. And now we’re some of the best kayakers at camp, which is great. It’s got a steady progression. We’ve developed good steps to getting better and having a good time. We really focus on having the kids who have the skills teach the others and encourage the others and, through that, build friendships while they’re on the river and build partnerships for getting through the challenges that we face out there. I’m very proud of myself getting this far and being so comfortable in the Class III rapids and even some of the Class IV rapids.
If you sign up for climbing as an activity, we have the Alpine Tower, which is a log system that you climb up. We also do special trips up to Castle Rock, which is a rock on camp here. Castle Rock is fantastic just because it’s on property. It’s about a 20 minute hike up. And then once we’re there, it takes us two minutes set everything up. And so you get right on the rock. For those girls who want to progress even further, we offer climbs into Pisgah National Forest up on Looking Glass Rock or Cedar Rock where they can push their limits even further.
How to Cover Yourself in Shaving Cream
We have activities which are normal, free time which is normal, and then the special Rockbrook surprises. Surprises are really– There’s a surprise every day. Yeah, surprises are really a big part of our program. We keep so many things a surprise because that’s part of the magic of camp, especially a first year camper.
You know, we always want you to feel like at camp, you never know what you’re going to get on any particular day. It could be a regular schedule in the morning. And then in the afternoon, we have a carnival. And you never know when it’s going to happen.
We have a lot of fun just doing crazy events. We really like to dress up in costumes a lot of the time. My cabin, for example, we’ve had a “Thumbelina Thursday” and everybody dressed up as fairies for the day. We love the little bits of spontaneity that we can bring into our days. And over the course of the session, you see girls put on a crazy costume or show off their head stand– just do crazy things that they would never even consider doing out in the real world.
How to be a Rockbrook Girl
The last night of camp is the spirit fire, which is a longstanding tradition at Rockbrook. It’s really wonderful because girls reflect on all that they’ve accomplished and all that they’ve experienced during their session here. Through their time at Rockbrook, we hope that our campers have gained a greater sense of self and feel more connected with the natural world and each other.
No other camp is like this one. I’ve never felt so in touch with people. I feel like Rockbrook is family now.
Life at Rockbrook is almost like a dream. You have this beautiful setting. You have these amazing people with their own personality, not a personality that they fake when they’re at school and at home. It’s their true personality. A Rockbrook girl is someone you can count on for everything and she’s the one that’s going to always be there and to just listen.
It’s almost indefinable. It’s something you just feel. It’s the sound of the running water, the sound of girls’ voices. As they’re shrieking with glee because they get to dress up that night as some crazy character for some event.
I do think there’s a uniqueness to the community at Rockbrook. People are always laughing or saying hello or trying to build each other up. So it’s all about just being the best person that you be. It’s definitely going to make a better person.
Rockbrook does a great job of empowering the kids. It makes them comfortable in their own skin. Everyone’s important here. From Rockbrook she had this whole book of experiences that I had not witnessed but that were part of what she draws on for her strengths and her understandings of who she is in the world.
From top to bottom, I think that the counselors are incredibly enthusiastic and represent exactly the sort of role models that we like to see our girls have. The staff here is amazing. They paid so much attention to Maddie. They made her feel safe. They made sure that she made lots of friends. The staff has been great. The feeling that you get from them when they, you know, they’re ready for your camper. They know who you are. They’re really on it. They’re on every detail. There’s just such a great feeling of warmth and enthusiasm.
The staff here– they’re more like a second family or a second mom. They’re older than me, yes, but they’re my best friends.
The first thing she said to us when we got here today was, can I come back next year please? Please!