By week two, Treetops is enlivened with the sights and sounds of children in tune with their natural surroundings. After slowing down and settling in, campers are much more comfortable with the rhythms of Camp life. Being at ease enables them to forge meaningful relationships with animals and nature, other children and counselors, as well as their own unique selves. Every day, campers take part in a diversity of experiences that foster such relationships.
Both Senior and Junior Camps gathered this week for the first community mornings of the summer. These camp-wide events encourage children to connect to the natural world, to their food, and to each other. Under bright cloudless skies, the older campers worked together to rid weeds and bugs from the potato field in Dexter pasture, helping to ensure a healthy potato crop for fall harvest. Younger campers mulched our raspberry and rhubarb patches, as well as the rose bushes in the Children’s Garden. This tradition, like all community work jobs, introduces children to a favorite Treetops adage: “Many hands make light work.”
Overnight trips offered even more opportunities for tent groups to connect this week. Camping out under the stars is a new experience for many children. Working together, campers practice outdoor skills like gathering firewood and cooking outdoors while sharing songs, jokes, and stories along the way. For Supers, an overnight camping trip also gives them a chance to reflect on their role as leaders in the community. This is a special time when our eldest campers open letters written five years ago by then Treetops Supers. These letters are full of anecdotes and pearls of wisdom addressed to the campers following in their footsteps. This longstanding tradition encourages a sense of connection between generations of Supers while celebrating the importance of being a Treetops role model.
Bit by bit, campers discover a little more about one another. They learn how to live together and how their individual choices can impact others. At the same time, each child is gaining the confidence to participate fully in our community, whether picking a horse hoof, collecting eggs fresh from the chicken coop, identifying flowers and herbs in the Children’s Garden, learning how to throw a pot or paint with watercolors, fishing in Round Lake, hiking Ampersand Mountain with new friends, or simply reading aloud in one’s tent group at night. A sense of connectedness is woven throughout every Treetops day and only deepens over time.