Dear Treetops Families:
The summer is flying by and it’s hard to believe that our four-week campers will be departing over the coming days. Over the past month, we’ve formed a tight-knit community with a deeper understanding of what we value, who we are, and who we want to be. Next week, our community will certainly feel the absence of our departing four-weekers. But the memories we’ve made together and the lessons we’ve learned together will remain. We are so excited to welcome many of you and your families to Treetops this weekend and to share some of the joys of this timeless, precious, place.
This past week fittingly started with Community Day; Junior and Senior campers worked alongside each other to take care of, and give back to, our beautiful mountain home. Supers and 11-year-olds took on the project of clearing brush and grasses along the pasture and trails in the Dexter Triangle. Campers worked together to cut low and encroaching branches on the path, and move them out of the way in order to make a safe passageway for horses and their riders. Others cleared the fence area of tall grasses, weeds, and flowers to ensure the electrical fence keeps a strong charge and provides a barrier between our animals and the nearby traffic on Route 73. “Many hands make light work,” a common refrain around campus, is most evident on these Community Days, as a job that would take a couple farmers several days, can be done within an hour thanks to camper and counselor participation.
The remaining Junior and Senior campers took on numerous projects in the garden including harvesting a bumper crop of garlic and setting it out to dry, mulching the beloved rhubarb patch, and weeding the prolific and pesky, yet edible weeds, including Galinsoga, tart and tangy Wood Sorrel, and mineral-rich Lamb’s Quarters, from the various garden beds. Campers were all smiles as they worked together, side-by-side, doing this valuable and meaningful work, the results of which we will see on the dining table: fresh garlic in our vinaigrette, baby lettuce in our garden-fresh salads, and ripe sliced tomatoes for sandwiches. We value this element of our program—the meaningful work and the small and mighty contributions we each make to the larger community.
Over these four weeks of summer, we’ve seen friendships blossom and grow, from shy strangers, to best friends huddled around a campfire giving tips on how to perfectly roast a hotdog, or skipping arm in arm across the tentline to bed; we’ve seen older campers help and support the younger ones, and we’ve watched our Super Seniors grow their leadership skills and investigate what it means to be a mentor and a role model.
As the weeks roll on, Supers stretch themselves and take on guiding roles within the camp community. One way they do this is by taking on the job of table heading in the dining room, first with their own peers, and then by lending a hand at Junior Camp. There, they table head campers, help to lead evening activities, and put the Junior Campers to bed, reading them a story, and tucking them in. It’s endearing to watch our Supers nervously await their table assignment, unsure of what to expect; inevitably, the Junior Campers are brimming with enthusiasm to have these older peers join their tables, and the tables are soon abuzz with all of the things they want to share.
The transformational experiences, friendships, skills, growth, our campers have had over these four weeks of summer continue to be a foundation upon which our campers stand. Our four-week friends don’t leave these behind, but bring their Treetops memories with them back home, with newfound knowledge and confidence in their abilities. Our full-session campers will continue to build upon their first few weeks. We see this as they increasingly attempt more difficult tasks, raise their hands for more challenging trips, volunteer their time to sub a barn chore, or offer a helping hand to their peers and counselors as they pack gear for a trip.
It’s been a pleasure to help build this camp community over the past weeks, and to watch our children grow and thrive in this beautiful setting. We are so excited to welcome many of our families to Treetops this weekend and to share some of the joys of this timeless, precious, place.