gathering firewood

This week, campers departed on an exciting array of wilderness excursions. Some embarked on a 5-day paddling and hiking trip in the Santanoni Range, ascended multiple 46’er peaks, cooked meals over a camp stove, and slept under the stars. Other brave souls canoed across Middle Saranac Lake, facing a strong headwind before setting up camp for the night. For some children, at the start of summer embarking on such rigorous wilderness trips would have been unimaginable—and a little scary, too. But just as the momentum of a Treetops summer continues to build, so does the resilience of our campers.

Cultivating grit, inner strength, and a buoyancy of spirit are relevant to more than wilderness survival. This week, a visiting horse trainer worked with wild mustangs in the riding ring. This remarkable demonstration showcased a 100-day journey during which the trainer built a trusting relationship with the animal before climbing on the horse’s back after 80 days of training. Campers marveled as the trainer trotted “Soma” around the ring—the fifth time the horse had been ridden.

At our annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet at Senior Camp, campers drew tickets at random, assigning them to a high-, middle-, or low-income tier—based on the latest statistics about the number of people living in poverty. Each level received a corresponding meal, from an elaborate feast prepared for the lucky few to small portions of rice and water for the lowest-income participants. This disparity between meals helped children grasp the impact poverty has on an individual and family level and opened campers’ minds to the tremendous resilience required of people across the world who struggle for fair access to food and other resources.

Like confidence and creativity, resilience comes in many forms and takes time to grow. As we move into the last weeks of Camp, we look forward to continuing to watch this happen and celebrating the ways in which these qualities positively impact our camp community.