Dear Treetops Families,
We’re so glad that many of you were able to see your campers virtually last weekend and learn more about their Treetops summer: the mountains they’ve hiked, lakes they’ve paddled, creations they’ve crafted, the incredible friendships they’ve built, and so much more. We hope you were able to see their enthusiasm for Camp and observe some of the confidence they’ve gained over their time here at Treetops.
At this time of the summer, campers have fully synchronized to the routines and rhythms of Camp community. Their relationships with one another and their counselors are flourishing, allowing them both the comfort and security to embrace new opportunities and challenges with growing confidence. This week we saw our junior campers co-write and perform a play: The Wizard of Balanced Rocks, complete with props, costumes, and musical numbers. We also had our Senior Camp talent show, an incredible display of amazing abilities, from musical performances on French horn, piano, guitar, flute, and ukulele; a monologue from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and even an awe-inspiring performance of fire spinning from one of our talented counselors! Both of these performance events exhibited the amazing support systems the campers have built for one another: gently prompting a camper who forgot their line, holding the sheet music that got caught in a breeze for their friend, so they wouldn’t miss a beat; encouraging words from the audience to a nervous performer. In each instance we see more and more how the support of their Camp community is helping to build confidence within our campers, encouraging them at every juncture, giving the support needed to take the risks necessary for growth.
This week has also seen the start of our “tripping season”, in which many trips are out of Camp each day including day hikes and paddles, as well as single overnight trips, double and triple overnights, and our longest trips, the “Five Days” for our oldest senior campers. These lengthy trips in which campers must carry all the food and gear needed to sustain them for five days and four nights in the Adirondack wilderness, combined with the challenging work of traversing mountains or paddling and portaging numerous waterways instill in the participating campers the pride and knowledge that they can do hard things and experience enormous success. Our oldest campers often recall their five day trips to be one of the most formative and memorable events of their final Treetops summer.
Within our Camp community, campers have also gained an understanding of the roles they play within the smaller community—such as their tent group or their trip group—but can also see the important contributions they make to the larger Camp community. Over the course of the summer, we hope to show our campers the importance and value in living and working together, and showing what it means to work and provide for our community. We pride ourselves in tasking our children with valuable and meaningful work that is crucial to keep Treetops running smoothly; each and every one of us is an important part of the larger whole. As part of the work and growth we encourage at Camp is providing opportunities for campers to take challenges by choice. This is perhaps most evident during our Senior Camp Chicken Harvest. This Community Morning event provides campers the autonomy to decide what they are capable of and what they can handle; the challenge is available and it is up to each individual to navigate the situation, with guidance from their counselors and more experienced campers, and decide how they can best participate. This community event also provides excellent opportunities for our older campers to be pillars of support, to help and guide some of the younger, newer members of the community through a valuable and even pivotal experience. The Chicken Harvest is a very tangible example of how we take an animal from a living being that we care for, water, feed, and then turn that animal into actual food for our community. It’s a solemn and sacred experience for campers to be such a crucial part of their food system and given the option and opportunity to take part in that.
As Week 5 comes to a close, we notice the days are growing shorter, the nights a little cooler. With the shift comes a sense of urgency to take advantage of each and every opportunity that arises, with an emboldened sense of self and confidence that grows stronger with each passing day.
Karen Culpepper Hannah Edwards
Camp Director Incoming Camp Director