Camp Journal 2017: Week Five

Midsummer arrived at Treetops this week with a smattering of thundershowers and plenty of warm weather. Our vegetable gardens and surrounding acreage are bursting with vivid shades of green. Alyssums, cosmos, calendulas, zinnias, ageratum, marigolds and sunflowers enliven the annual flower bed. Raspberries are ripe for the picking, the pigs are busy foraging in Dexter woods, and our chickens cluck about in their summer enclosure by the lettuce and cabbage patch. Children continue to soak up all the sights, sounds, and smells of an Adirondack summer.

After bidding farewell to families at Visitors’ Weekend, campers have settled back into the familiar rhythms and routines of Camp. Saying goodbye is never easy, but by now most campers have developed a strong sense of comfort and belonging in their surroundings. Fostering such confidence in children requires time. After five weeks, they have gained the resilience to brave challenges. Treetops intentionally teaches campers that they have what it takes to get through a difficult time. To overcome their fears and surpass their own expectations.

This week also marked a unique tradition and rite of passage at community morning. Every year, the chickens that we love and have cared for must be harvested. The day of chicken harvest is always one of mixed emotions. There is nervousness, discomfort, sadness, pride, but overwhelmingly there is a sense of reverence, a word that we use often as we prepare ourselves for this community work. We feel reverence for the birds that are giving their life to sustain us. Reverence for the process of providing food for our community.

For those who chose to participate, the experience was not exactly as they had expected. Children said things like: “I didn’t think I could do it, but I did.” “It was harder [or easier] than I expected.” “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m glad I did it.”

The same could be said of the campers who embarked on overnight excursions this week. Rigorous hiking, canoeing, and sailing trips took campers all across the Adirondacks. On a five day overnight, a group of Supers are attempting to hike nearly a dozen mountains including Cliff, Redfield, Skylight, and the Upper Range before hiking back into camp. Wilderness trips allow campers to discover physical and emotional reserves they may not realize they have. Whether paddling into a headwind or struggling to reach a mountain peak, children learn that they can survive and even thrive, no matter the circumstances. Connecting as small groups and sharing wilderness adventures also allows campers to deepen and strengthen their relationships.

As the days unfold, our community continues to flourish and grow. Now–five weeks into the summer–we are beginning to bask in the glow of our friendships and experiences living in the natural world. We are coming together and thriving. Now is the time to savor every moment.
 

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