Dear Treetops Families,
This week at Camp we’ve seen the shift from Treetops as a place children came to from somewhere else, to a place where they truly belong. We see our campers becoming grounded here and feeling more and more at home each day: attending to their work job with no prompting, quick to help their peers; hopping into the Children’s Garden on the way to their next activity to grab a snack of currants, raspberries, or wax beans; skipping hand in hand down to Round Lake with their tentmate, smiling from ear to ear. We see that, once again, a magical Treetops summer has been built here.
Part of that perennial Treetops magic is the time and structure for campers to find their foundation within the community, and once that foundation is established, the ability to become their authentic selves. Time and again we see children arrive at camp, perhaps guarded and wary of one another; as the summer weeks go by, they transform, becoming more comfortable in their friendships, more relaxed in this space, and more confident in themselves. With a summer unplugged and away from the pull of screens, Camp allows our children to tap into the myriad sides of themselves: their inner child, their inner adult, their inner artist—the list goes on. With so many opportunities and activities available, as well as the time to explore, children truly have the chance to discover who they are and what they’re capable of.
Treetops strikes an important balance: we carve out time for kids to be kids, yet also provide opportunities for campers to take on responsibility and be treated like the young adults they are becoming. This balance is beautifully demonstrated with our oldest campers, the Supers. Over the course of the summer, Supers earn privileges and take on more responsibilities: from being able to use the tea cart, staying up a little later in the evenings, and then at this point in the summer, the responsibility of going down to Junior Camp to assist in leading evening activities and putting the younger campers to bed. It’s incredibly heartening to watch these older campers, who were in Junior Camp only a few years earlier, reading a bedtime story to their younger peers and tucking them in. All this before they head over the hill to Senior Camp where they will get ready for bed and will be read to by their own counselors.
In this community we’ve built, in which each individual has a treasured place and role, we feel the absence of our friends when they’re out of Camp for longer wilderness trips. Campers return after adventures exploring mountains, lakes, and rivers, faces full of pride, and are excitedly greeted by their friends holding “Welcome Home!” signs, tackled with hugs and congratulations, peppered with questions about their journeys. As all of our trips return and our community comes back together, Camp once again feels complete.
As we head into our final week of Camp, we begin to take note of all our accomplishments and how we’ve grown, both as individuals and as a community. Over the next several days, we will find many opportunities to acknowledge all that we have done at Camp—the friends we’ve made, the skills we’ve learned, the selves we’ve become—and the community we have built throughout the summer. In a week’s time we will say our goodbyes, but for now, there is so much to celebrate.
Karen Culpepper Hannah Edwards
Camp Director Incoming Camp Director