2 weeks ago, I scooped up a few eager teens, packed our bags and headed for the hills of Pensylvania. I was to be the Director and Counselor-Extraordinaire of Camp Rock Run, a summer program I run each year for city-girls. Our focus, nature + self.
Every summer, I produce a camp for an intimate group. It’s our girl-time alone to just ‘be’, without all the fuss & furry of our city lives. We wake up up early each morning and hike through the forrest and then down by the river. It’s a treacherous expedition with hills and sharp drops down to the water. We twist and turn with the land and try to open our selves to nature – taking in everything that’s around us. Dashing animals, rolling water, mysterious sounds. Everything catches our attention.
Our days are long and one activity blends into another. Often we find ourselves sleeping on the hammock and then eating by candlelight. Between those bench marks, we ride horses, dance to African music, discover new ways of self-expression and make friends with our local farmers.
In a sense we do a lot each day, but actually we don’t do much at all. We simply roll through the hours using each experience that would normally be taken for granted to learn something valuable. The food we’re eating…how was it grown? Well, lets check out the farm next door and see. The water we’re drinking, why is it so fresh? Lets’ hike to its source. We raise questions and then try and answer them on our own.
Self discovery always takes place during Camp Rock Run. We see ourselves more clearly and we take in others more deeply. When all of the city requirements no longer exist, other things emerge.
Strange things happen when you delete busy schedules, goal oriented agendas, important meetings, teacher-parent conferences, homework-homework-homework, and the do-it-all-mentality. Strange and liberating things happen.
The ‘Shy-Girl’ transforms into a boisterous beauty. The ‘Leader’ takes a step to the side and practices silence. The ‘Teen’ becomes the ultimate Team-Player. The ‘Mom’ learns to be less concerned with everything.
Camp Rock Run is 10 days dedicated to the persuit of happiness. We do all the basic camp rituals: swimming, hiking, horseback riding, river-tubing, and camping. These help us embrace physical activity and understand how powerful our healthy bodies actually are! Then we add in specialty classes like Organic Farming, Healthy Eating & Cooking, Technology, African Dance, Alternative Energy Sources, History, Vintage Shoppping. These help us think beyond consumpsion, pop-culture, and the static lifestyle we Americans have adopted.
I’m so proud of our Camp Rock Run. I wish I could accept hundreds of girls each summer. But for now, let’s call it the ultimate BoutiqueCamp experience for young women…and one more essential thing on my to-do list!