Dear Treetops Families,

Campers arrived on Saturday to blue skies and brilliant sunshine. Garden beds in vibrant green hues displayed arugula, Swiss chard, lettuce and herbs ready for picking and the pasture was dotted with buttercups, daisies, and orange hawkweed. This beautiful Adirondack setting offers the perfect backdrop to the start of Camp. It’s with joy that we watch as this landscape fills with children, some who are here for the first time and others for their seventh and final summer. Some who have journeyed from South Korea, Ukraine, Guatemala, New York City, or California and others from just down the road. Some are most comfortable in the outdoors, while others haven’t yet felt the tickle of grass on bare feet. Whatever each individual camper’s background may be, we are so glad they’re here.

Campers settled into their surroundings as they met their counselors, arranged belongings in their tents and ate their first meals at Camp. For newcomers, and even returning campers, this first week can be challenging as we ease into the sights, sounds, and routines of Treetops. Counselors, tentmates, and new friends quickly soften feelings of homesickness and unfamiliarity. Returning campers eagerly share what they know—careful to explain the difference between pig food and compost when sorting leftovers after a meal, happy to walk arm in arm to the barn to show the way, quick to offer a hand at tent clean-up, and patient in teaching a new lanyard stitch.

Early in the week, we held our annual bonfire, the first time the entire community gathers together in celebration of the start of Camp. Junior Campers paraded up the hill greeted by Senior Camp, heads adorned with handmade hats to place atop the unlit logs. The Supers, our oldest campers, performed a skit that was written, choreographed, costumed, and rehearsed during any spare moment in the first couple days of Camp. As the crackling blaze began, guitars came out and the singing began. Song sheets flapped in the evening breeze, as campers followed along exuberantly, whether they remembered the words to an old favorite or learning the lyrics for the first time.

When not busy making hats or writing scripts, campers filled their days this first week with a wide range of activities. Campers picked out colorful strings to start friendship bracelets, crafted lanyards, the first step to earning their Camp knives, climbed trees, attempted rafters and clothesliners swim tests, sculpted pinch pots out of clay, and visited the pasture to meet the sheep and pigs. Others hiked our campus trails, rode horses in our riding rings, enjoyed boating and sailing on Round Lake and so much more! Those ready to go a little farther afield visited the Lake Placid Horseshow, went to Rulf’s Orchard to pick strawberries, hiked nearby Cascade Mountain, or picked blueberries on Owl’s Head.

During these early days of summer, campers settle into the routines and rhythms of Camp, and begin to make deep and lasting connections. As these bonds take hold—to each other, to the garden and the animals, to their tent and the lake, to the sounds of bedtime and the chill of the morning—our community is beginning to take shape.