This week, our community warmly welcomed guests for Visitors’ Weekend. Sharing the routines and rhythms of Camp with loved ones made for a joyful and deeply satisfying weekend for all. With the departure of our four week campers, bidding farewell to families and friends is especially bittersweet. Saying goodbye is never easy. But by week five, children have developed a sense of strength and belonging in their surroundings, finding comfort in each other as well as themselves.
Cultivating resilience in a child requires time. Learning to thrive through challenges is one of the most important lessons campers learn at Treetops. Our trip program empowers campers to push themselves themselves physically and emotionally. Week by week, children have been slowly gaining confidence in their wilderness skills—to cook over an open fire, pitch a tent, read a compass and map, and always, leave no trace behind. After thoroughly building their skills, campers embarked this week on impressive sailing, canoeing, hiking, and climbing trips all across the Adirondacks. On a five-day hybrid trip, supers explored the winding Northville Placid Trail through some of the most remote old-growth and virgin forests in the region, before setting out by canoe across Long Lake and other waterways. Another group tackled the Santanoni and Seward Ranges—all elevations over 4000’—ascending a total of seven mountains in only three days. On a single overnight trip, a group of junior campers paddled from Paul Smiths to Upper St. Regis, portaging from pond to pond with their canoes and gear. Others camped at Chapel Pond, rock climbing a vast granite slab to reveal spectacular vistas of the Giant Mountain wilderness.
At the beginning of the summer, such wilderness experiences may have felt nearly impossible to achieve for some campers. But over time and with encouragement, campers have come to discover their own inner strength. Working together to summit a mountain or brave a headwind, children learn to lean on each other and to be there for their friends. Cultivating grit and inspiring strength in one another, the power of community is especially poignant in the wilderness.
Returning to Camp after one or more overnight trips feels just like coming home. What felt so new and unfamiliar weeks ago is now a source of comfort and encouragement. Sharing the excitement of one’s accomplishments with fellow campers is an empowering experience for children. With each passing day, our community becomes closer and stronger, building resilience, and making even deeper connections to the world around us and to each other.