On a recent late winter’s day, while I reflected on my first seven months as Camp Treetops Director, I watched through my window as a group of students gathered outside to tap the maple tree that stands sentry to the Main Building. They were framed perfectly as big fluffy snowflakes floated lazily to the ground, and it stood out to me as just one example of the many ways Camp and School complement one another.
Each spring, farmers, faculty, and students tap about 500 maple trees in our sugar bush, gather the sap buckets once full, and trailer them to the sugar house. Adults keep vigil by the evaporator late into the night to ensure that syrup is on the tables for every Sunday morning breakfast at Camp. Similarly, in the summer, our campers spend hours in the garden, weeding the carrots in the baking sun or picking potato bugs off potato plants–stained orange fingertips, a telltale sign of their arduous task–to ensure that School will have a plentiful fall harvest and ample mashed potatoes at the annual Thanksgiving feast. Although campers and students may never meet face to face, the labor of one group literally helps to feed and nourish the other.
As sugaring season kicks off and School approaches its end, planning for Treetops 2023 is well underway. Since August, I have been excitedly enrolling campers, visiting prospective families and curating the best staff possible to ensure a full, enriching, safe and of course, fun Treetops summer. Throughout my conversations with prospective campers and staff, I relish their questions, and revel in pride as I share the details of our 100+ year old legacy. When former campers, now parents, ask how Camp is different from when they attended in the 70s or 80s, I proudly share that they would find the program nearly identical, save for more riding helmets, better hiking gear, and the lack of spitting llamas at the barn!
Since taking on the Camp directorship in September, I’ve had the privilege to visit alumni in Boston, Burlington, Seattle, and New York. At each stop, I was regaled with stories: the first ever “Idiots” and their eponymous hike, now a vital Camp tradition; the origin of Bongo, the beloved Junior Camp tent-inspecting dragon; and always tales of the favorite horses, counselors, formidable trips, and whimsical activities from their summer days at Treetops.
This winter, members of the Treetops leadership team convened on campus at Meadow House to spend a weekend planning for the upcoming season. The team includes program directors from the prior summer as well as longtime members of the Treetops community who have held leadership positions in the past and have the long view: where we’ve come from, where we are, where we hope to go, as well as an enduring commitment to our history, mission, and values. It is because of these and other community members, giving freely and generously of their hearts and time, that Treetops continues to create that treasured and timeless summer experience for our campers, year after year. I reflect daily upon how lucky I am to be in this role and part of such a loving, thoughtful, and passionate team.
In February, I had the pleasure of hosting the Treetops ice skating reunion in New York City. All 2022 and 2023 Camp families and staff were invited for an afternoon of catching up, munching square dance cookies, sipping apple cider, and of course, ice skating! How heartwarming to watch campers reunite with their friends and counselors, seamlessly slipping back to where they left off nearly six months before.
Numerous parents have remarked that their children are literally “counting down the days” until they arrive back to their sweet mountain Treetop home. I, too, am dreaming of summer days: campers running barefoot up Bramwell Run to their tents for Rest Hour, or racing over the Lake Hill, towels in hand, or raising their voices in song at morning council…
Only 83 days until Camp!
Camp Treetops Director