Dear Treetops Families:
We were so thrilled to welcome many of you to Treetops last weekend! It was wonderful to see you lifting your voices in song at morning council, eagerly joining your campers in a game of frisbee or down at the waterfront, and watching as they patiently taught you a friendship bracelet pattern or how to throw a bowl on the pottery wheel. In my conversations with families, so many of you remarked on the newfound confidence you saw in your children as they proudly showed off their crafts, introduced you to a new best friend, or their favorite horse. These qualities of self assurance and pride in place are just some of the many gifts of a Treetops summer.
At this time in the camp session, children are fully entrenched in the daily routines of Camp. Now accustomed to this rhythm and flow, campers have more time, focus, and energy to spend on new things and greater challenges. With support from counselors and bolstered by their bonds of friendship, campers feel inspired to take risks and push themselves.
We saw this on Friday night with Junior Camp’s performance of their original play, fully written and acted by campers and counselors. We witnessed this confidence again on Saturday night at our Senior Camp talent show. Performances included: an impressive tap-dance routine, an original song written and performed by a camper on guitar, a couple classical piano pieces, a Taylor Swift medley, and a fully memorized number from the musical Hamilton. Almost as impressive as the talent in our midst, was the incredible support from our Camp community. Some campers began their performances nervously with voices faltering, but gained courage by the end thanks to the encouraging claps, snaps, and cheers from their friends and counselors in the audience.
This supportive community we’ve built during the last several weeks of Camp is also evident during our annual Senior Camp Chicken Harvest, which took place on Monday, our Community Day. Chicken Harvest was a somber and solemn morning in which campers assisted expert farm staff and counselors in the harvesting process; it’s an example of a “challenge by choice” activity in which we encourage campers to push themselves and meet their appropriate edge. We discuss the importance of raising our own food: these meat birds that we have raised since they were baby chicks, who we have diligently fed, watered, and cared for, have completed their life cycles and become food for our community. Throughout the morning, many campers were surprised at the strength they found, and their ability to confront this challenge with encouragement and support from their peers and counselors.
This week also marked the start of our intense tripping season! Junior Campers who have honed their skills and built their strength on day hikes and canoe trips, embarked on overnights off campus with longer paddles and portages, and more demanding hikes. Senior Campers journeyed into the Adirondack wilderness on double and triple overnights, while our Supers challenged themselves on five-days, our longest and most strenuous trips. Each of these adventures provides myriad opportunities for campers to challenge themselves, support one another, and discover a deeper understanding of their strength and abilities.
Not only has this week brought us confidence in ourselves and surety in our relationships, it’s brought us resilience, too. In the face of challenges like saying goodbye to our four-weeker friends and bidding farewell to our families on Visitors’ Weekend, dealing with the disappointment of canceled trips, and yet another day of thunderstorms and rain, campers have gained insight into themselves. They have learned about their abilities to push through tough times, bounce back from disappointments and difficulties, and confront new experiences with courage. And in the end, they have come out on the other side stronger, more self-assured, and compassionate members of this special community.
Camp Treetops Director