Dear Treetops Families,
It’s hard to believe that it was only one week ago that our campers arrived at Treetops! It was wonderful to watch old friends reconnect, and new bonds begin to form between our campers on opening day. The weather held off long enough for campers to unpack and settle in; later that evening, we were greeted with thunder showers and the fresh, clear air that followed. Campers, new and old, drifted off to sleep to the soothing sounds of raindrops falling on tent canvas – a simple and treasured Treetops experience.
The early days of the week included orientation, in which campers had the chance to get acquainted with the various shops, tour the barn and gardens, and show off their skills on horseback and while swimming in Round Lake. This first week is also a great opportunity for returning campers to help the new members of our community; it’s heartwarming to watch as seasoned Treetops campers lend a hand to a newcomer during work jobs, patiently explain the ins and outs of table setting, or which food from the meal should be fed to the pigs and which goes to compost. With each council, meal in our dining room, and activity period, campers continue to settle into the rhythm of the Treetops routine.
Tuesday marked the first day that all campers were able to choose their own activities and the excitement was palpable! Children had a long list from which to choose, including a hike up Trouble, throwing on the pottery wheel, rock climbing up the Clark House chimney, paddleboarding, weaving, making chess pieces in the Woodshop, off-campus hikes up Owls Head, Cascade, Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and Balanced Rocks, as well as a few trips to the Lake Placid Horse Show, and one to pick strawberries at a local farm. Across campus, many children have already been working hard on crafting a lanyard, the first step to earning their Camp knives. Another popular activity in Junior Camp included crafting whimsical paper hats to be thrown on the bonfire pile. Hat designs ran the gamut and included an avocado, a moose, a pastel rainbow, a medieval-looking helmet, a tissue-paper rendering of Round Lake’s very own pink whale, and many more!
Though our bonfire tradition was rained out early in the week, Junior and Senior campers still gathered, this time in the Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (aka the Wally PAC), for the Super skit, written and acted by our oldest Senior campers. The Supers worked tirelessly for the first couple days of camp to craft a tale in which the Treetops values of simplicity, community, celebration of the of the natural world and notable absence to technology are turned topsy-turvy; in this fictitious universe, technology reigns, and the community is miserable. Luckily, by the end, our community realized we didn’t need all that tech in the first place, and Treetops returned to its natural state of equilibrium; all is right in the world! We ended the night with a Camp song singalong. By the end of the week, the rain had ceased temporarily and we had a sunny and hot day that gave way to a cooler evening, and the perfect conditions for our traditional bonfire. Junior Campers paraded over the Lake Hill to whoops and cheers from Senior Camp and enthusiastically threw their paper hats atop the bonfire pile. Campers and counselors sang to the accompaniment of guitars, drums, and violin, while the firelight glowed and the sun became a brilliant red fireball in the western sky, a beautiful celebration of our community and the start of summer.
As our first week comes to a close, campers are settling in and finding more and more comfort in the Camp routine. Any remaining homesickness ebbs a bit more each day, and campers chat excitedly about the trips and activities they are most looking forward to. Some want to work on their paddling skills and go on canoe trips; some recognize they need to practice swimming and gain strength in order to pass their clothesliners swim test; others can’t wait to sign up for a horse barn chore. Whatever the goal, from swimming to the raft to becoming a 46’er, we are so thankful for the time and space Treetops allows us to slow down, be present with one another, and enjoy our beautiful natural surroundings, and the company of friends.
We are so grateful to you all for sharing your camper with us this summer!