A sense of connectedness naturally emerges as children settle into the routines and rhythms of Camp. This week, senior campers worked together to weed the annual flower garden and mulch the rhubarb patch with our own fresh compost. To ensure that Treetops’ beloved horses can frolic safely, junior campers spent a morning picking rocks from the pasture. The old adage “many hands make light work” is particularly true at Camp Treetops. Community chores give children the opportunity to connect with both the land where they live, as well as each other.
Campers are busy making connections with the natural world, the farm, and the animals they care for. These relationships are happening all over camp in activities both simple and elaborate. Some children delighted in reading poetry and singing to the baby goats one evening before bedtime. Others have been helping with our summer-long community project, where they are building a “forest phone,” a giant wooden megaphone that will sit in the forest garden. While inside it, children can hear the amplified sounds of the forest from birdsong to the wind whispering through the leaves.
New and old friendships continue to blossom as campers have even more opportunities to connect with each other in meaningful ways. Setting out together to explore the Adirondacks beyond our acreage offers children a chance to bond through shared experience. Adventures in the wilderness require campers to work together and count on each other, whether simply hiking up Mt. Jo, or, trekking along impressive High Peaks, such as Algonquin, Wright, Iroquois, Whiteface, Phelps, and Big Slide.
Tent overnights, in particular, help campers connect with each other in small groups. For many, this may be the first time they have camped out under the stars. Together, children learn how to gather firewood and cook outdoors for themselves. Along the way, singing, telling jokes and stories keep spirits buoyed. Bit by bit, campers discover a little more about one another. At the same time, each child is gaining the confidence to participate fully in our community.
Throughout the summer, children will continue to engage in a process of self-discovery, as they connect to their unique selves, to animals, the natural world, and to each other.