Camp Journal 2019: Week One

Campers arrived on Saturday to a smattering of sun and overnight thundershowers, as well as sweeping vistas of the Adirondack High Peaks. Just days after the summer solstice, orange hawkweed, forget-me-nots, and daisies dot our fields, while the showy white blossoms of bunchberry decorate the woodlands. For the next several weeks, this spectacular setting will be our home to discover and explore together.  

These first days at Treetops are a time of excitement and nervous anticipation. For children new to Treetops, the rhythms and routines of Camp are wholly unfamiliar. Even for returning campers, the process of becoming reacquainted with Camp can be a little challenging. But gentle reassurance from Treetops counselors––particularly as children are tucked in at bedtime––makes all the difference. For everyone, this week is about slowing down and settling in. 

As campers learn to follow the rhythms of their daily routine, they begin to connect with the community and one another. Whether rising in the early light for barn chores, harvesting garden veggies, gathering together to sing at morning council, racing barefoot up the lake hill to juice and crackers, or joining one’s tent group for a nightly bedtime story, slowly but surely, friendships blossom and homesickness subsides. 

Easing into Camp life often means discovering the joys of unhurried, simple living without the distraction of electronics or smartphones. Early in the week, children experienced just how thrilling this can be. For our first all-community event of the summer, junior campers paraded to the Lake Hill in whimsical and brightly painted homemade paper hats. Senior Camp welcomed the younger children with singing and cheers as junior campers tossed their hats ceremoniously onto the unlit bonfire. This spectacle was followed by another favorite Treetops tradition––a homespun skit put on by Supers, our eldest campers. A display of creativity and teamwork, this theatrical event is one pinnacle of the evening, followed by another––as the sun begins to set over the lakehill, the bonfire is lit and everyone takes part in a joyful evening of songs, laughter, and budding friendships. 

Over the next several weeks, campers will continue to deepen their sense of belonging and  embrace the pleasures of unplugged living. They will learn to see and notice, to listen and hear, to imagine and create. Soon, the possibilities of summer feel abundant. As campers dive into all program areas, our unique community begins to take shape––at the same time, children begin to express their true selves, to try new things, and to savor each moment as it unfolds. 

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