Kids at table

Dear Treetops Families,

This past week at Treetops saw our campers settling more deeply into their environment, their friendships, and continuing to learn more about themselves, their interests, and their abilities. Campers went on overnight trips both on and off-campus, hiked many High Peaks, went on paddling trips on gorgeous Adirondack lakes and streams, and participated in plenty of on-campus activities. With each new activity, campers are becoming more confident in their skills and more comfortable with themselves and their surroundings.

Woven into the fabric of our program, amidst the various trips, activities, and chores, is the need to be flexible, to change plans when something unexpected pops up: a cherished ceramics project cracking during a kiln firing, or realizing that the trip will not be able to summit the peak they are climbing due to a thunderstorm rolling in, and the ability to adapt when our expectations are not met. We see our campers embrace these challenges each and every day. We learn to experience these unexpected situations, process them, and move ahead with the support of our incredible Camp community. This is one of the many timeless and priceless gifts of Treetops: an understanding that our community lies upon a solid foundation that will hold us when we need it the most.

This week we experienced a jarring change in plans: the canceling of Visitors’ Weekend. This was unexpected for all of us and required each member of our community to come together, re-calibrate, and move forward. It was uplifting to see campers comforting one another and offering words of support, friends who had been complete strangers only three weeks ago, and were now trusted confidantes, invaluable to each other as they processed what this news meant. These lessons in perseverance and resilience are peppered throughout our program. As children build connections within the community, the more independent and confident they become, and the more they are able to take on challenging experiences as they arise. This week, shy campers reluctant to join the square dance were excitedly swinging their partners round and round in the Virginia Reel only minutes later. Beginner swimmers were nervous to try their Rafters swim test for the second or even third time, were cheered on and encouraged by their friends, and then triumphant when they finally passed, faces full of pride and joy. Campers who were terrified to approach a horse in the first days of camp successfully steering their horse through a serpentine of cones all on their own. We also had many members of our Junior Camp community fall ill with the flu, some spending a couple of days and nights in the infirmary. It was heartwarming to see friends and tent mates visiting their sick friends (masked and through the window, of course), offering words of care and support as they delivered loving notes and get well cards, on their way to the next activity.

At Camp, we find support in many places. The fabric of Treetops is made of micro-communities that each hold the opportunity for connection and comfort, another way in which this fabric holds strong. These small communities are cultivated within their tent groups, as well as three times a day at meals with their table groups, within their work job crews as they work together to accomplish a task, their swim classes where they learn and hone new skills, or their trip group with which they summit a mountain, or paddle and portage from one lake to another. With each challenge, and there may be many, campers practice these skills of perseverance and resilience. They learn that with a little help from their friends, they will endure. It’s these skills that our campers may learn at Treetops, but will follow and support them wherever they go from here.