Slowly we drive up the gravel road. Tall trees and little streams we pass. I look left I see the lake and to the right I see the tetherball courts filled with young children playing on them. As we proceed up the mountain, I see faces. Faces of people I would consider family and others that I would consider strangers. Yells of counselors chanting your name and hands waving hello to you. I unload my heavy polka-dotted trunk from my car. My mother and I lug it up the hill. Finally we reach Senior 1. On the door there is a sign. It says “Keeping Snazzy with Senior 1”. I hold the door as my mom drags it into the cabin. “MADDY!!!” I hear yelled from the other side of the cabin. I turn around to see my old friend Kate. We run towards each other and hug. The feeling of reuniting with a friend is indescribable. The morning is filled with smiles, hugs, squeals of best friends, and lots of muffins. More and more campers come. The atmosphere is full of laughs and energetic dining hall songs. The first night of camp is one of my favorites. We have our weekly movie night. Every camper comes to the gym with there crazy creek chair which is a camp necessity, a blanket and your favorite stuffed animal. All of the campers are curious what movie the Hi-Ups ( the oldest campers) will pick. Once the movie is finished, everyone gathers around the gym in a circle. We sing our nightly song “ Day is Done” and say the “ Rockbrook Prayer”. Our prayer is the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard. We finish the prayer and begin our trek up in pure darkness back to our cabin. Of Course being as prepared as we always are, no one brought a flashlight. We find person we have never met and tag along with them up the dark steep hill. We finally make it to our cabin. I put my flannel pajamas on and head to the “deducky” which is camp lingo for bathroom. Everyone in there cheats for way too long. We finish getting ready for bed and walk back to our cabin. We reflect on our day and go to bed.
The last day rolls around and it is the saddest day at camp. My time at camp always seems way too short. My cabin and I try to cram in every activity we haven’t gotten to do yet. Everyone exchanges contact information. And mostly everyone is already missing camp even though we haven’t left yet. We put on our whities ( our white shorts and polo with a red tie) and head to spirit dinner. We are all sitting around the table having our final dinner full of laughs and reminders that in 24 hours we will not be at camp anymore. After dinner we sit on the hill and talk and cry a little bit while we look at the beautiful view of the mountains. Then we go to spirit fire. Spirit fire is a Rockbrook tradition that has been happening for about 100 years now. It is full of campfire songs and speeches that make our eyes fill with tears. Once it is done we walk back to our cabin with our lit candles. Once we reach the top we take our lit candles and burn a hole in our red tie. The holes represent the number of years we have attended Rockbrook. I lay down in my bed with tears dripping down my cheek realizing that this time tomorrow I will not be laying in my bunk full of signatures of previous campers and occasionally a few spiders.
As I lay in my bed, I reflect on how much camp has shaped me as a person. The amount of lessons I have learned at Rockbrook I can not even begin to count. I can not pick what I love about Rockbrook the most. Maybe it’s the view from the junior lodge of the mountains. Maybe it is the endless amounts of activities. But one of the best things about camp are the people that are surrounding me. I feel that I can be completely myself. I feel that everybody needs people that you open up to and goof off with in your life. When I am at Rockbrook, your life at home doesn’t matter to any of your friends there. They don’t care how many instagram followers you or how many views you get on your snapchat story. They accept you for who you are. If I have a problem or a dilemma I feel like I can call them up any time and ask for their advice. Now I have 5 holes in my tie and will be earning my sixth hole. My Rockbrook friends are my second family. Rockbrook is where I learn and grow into a better me. Rockbrook is home.