campers in the woods

We are thrilled that so many of you could join your children last weekend for our virtual Visitors Weekend. Of course, it was no substitute for having you here on campus, trailing behind your child as they show off the projects they’ve completed in the shops, joining them as they point out their favorite horse at the barn, and swimming with them in Round Lake. Still, we hope they shared many stories with you and that you got a sense of their summer so far. After visiting with loved ones, it can be a challenge to get back into the swing of Camp. Thoughts of home and the sadness of saying goodbye can linger, but we watched this past weekend as children bounced back into the program, happy to have connected but quickly distracted by a game of Gaga or packing for an upcoming canoe trip. This is a heartwarming illustration of the comfort your children are finding in the routines, friends, and activities of Treetops.

We welcome the swift transition back into our program, because there is still so much to do at Camp. As skill and confidence blossom, campers are enthusiastically venturing beyond our campus. This week, eager sailors were challenged on the much larger Lower Saranac Lake, practiced climbers had the opportunity to take an overnight to Chapel Pond, and avid hikers and paddlers explored more of the Adirondack mountains and rivers on single and double overnight trips. All of these adventures allow campers to challenge themselves in the backcountry, where they can hone their skills, give and receive support from their peers, and bolster their own confidence.

Even on the property, there is a constant buzz of activity. Some junior campers were busy this week as they rehearsed their roles for the play Karen Down the Chipmunk Hole, a creative Treetops-inspired script based loosely on Alice in Wonderland. This weekend, our actors, many of whom have never been in a play before, will hit the stage to perform for their peers. Outside of the Camper Kitchen, the wood-fired pizza oven is stoked often. Meanwhile, campers wander the garden in search of the perfect pizza toppings, easily identifying and skillfully harvesting herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers that were completely unfamiliar to them just a few short weeks ago. The shops are always busy as campers finish a weaving on the loom or start shaping a canoe paddle in the wood shop. Also this week was the Junior Camp gymkhana, a silly display of the horseback skills that are being developed by our campers. This whimsical event challenges participants to not only ride a horse, but to do so in costume or while balancing an egg on a spoon.

Every day our campers are embarking on activities, both challenging and playful, that stretch what they thought they were capable of. With time to practice and explore new activities, their confidence builds. Before they know it, they are passing the deep water swim test that seemed impossible during the first week of Camp, or throwing a bowl on the potter’s wheel that is decidedly less wonky than their first. In a supportive and comfortable environment, each challenge they face looks a little less daunting than the last, and each day brings new adventure.