Dear Treetops Families:
As we approach the last day of Camp, the change of season is in the air. The first leaves have yellowed and fallen to the ground. The sun is dipping below the horizon earlier in the evening. The Canada Geese have descended upon the Lake Hill, a stop for many, as they make their way south before the cold weather hits. As the season transitions, we celebrate the summer we’ve shared in our mountain home and the myriad ways we have grown: the friendships we’ve built, the skills we’ve learned and honed, the contributions we’ve made to our Treetops community.
This week kicked off with a cherished Treetops tradition: the Bean Carnival! A whole Camp Sunday activity, the Bean Carnival features many fun and whimsical activity stations, including the Slip and Slide, the “Tidal Wave” dunking station (in which pairs spin a wheel to determine who will be the dunked and who will be the dunker); the Super-smoothie station featuring fruit smoothies prepared for all by our oldest campers; and the fan favorite “Sock Wrestling” station in which participants must attempt to grab the sock from their opponent’s foot while wrestling in a pit of mud, among others.
On Monday, during our final weekly Community Day, Junior campers and Senior campers worked alongside one another to weed and mulch our annual flower bed as well as pull weeds, thin plants, and beautify our beloved Children’s Garden. Other community-focused activities included sewing new pack sacks for the Hike House for campers to use for personal gear when going out on trips, and sewing new bread basket napkins for our kitchen. As usual, any day trips going out on Mondays left campus on foot, meals were vegetarian to reduce our meat consumption, and to cut down on our food waste, the kitchens created a “fund lunch” meal made from leftovers and other perishable ingredients. Each summer, the collective funds saved through these conscious efforts are donated to a nonprofit organization of campers’ choosing. Senior campers voted to donate to Sea Shepherd, whose mission is to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife, while Junior campers chose to donate to the Adirondack Foundation, the region’s community foundation that works to enhance the lives of people in the Adirondacks through philanthropy. Through these actions, campers learn to see how their efforts on an individual and communal level can create positive change in our larger communities, both locally and globally.
On Tuesday, our Camp “idiots” embarked on their arduous full-day “Idiot Trips”. These challenging single-day hiking and canoe trips leave campus before sunrise, cover an idiotic number of miles, and return after sunset. The trips act as a culmination and celebration of a summer spent building the skills and stamina needed to successfully complete these ambitious and demanding journeys. Participants return back to campus sore, exhausted, and incredibly proud of their accomplishments, a new confidence instilled within them.
The remainder of the week was spent with all campers and staff staying in Camp, and with a focus on the land and farm we have lived and worked on that has sustained us over the course of these last seven weeks. Thursday, we celebrated our annual Farm Fest, kicked off with a parade of our horses and other farm animals, coats gleaming, manes and tails braided and entwined with colorful flowers fresh from the garden, accompanied by our campers and staff. The parade bled into a morning filled with a variety of farm and food-focused stations where campers made bagels and pizzas in our wood-fired ovens, rolled garden sushi made with our own fresh-picked veggies, and roasted stick biscuits over the fire to enjoy with homemade currant jam.
At the end of the festivities, we recognized the campers who have made considerable contributions to our farm and garden during work jobs over the summer—from volunteering for chores when subs were needed and lending a hand to their fellow campers, to consistently exhibiting a noble work ethic. Golden horseshoes were given to those whose efforts were recognized at the barn; golden garlic to those who dedicated much time, effort, and energy to our gardens; and finally, golden bones for those whose hard work was recognized on the compost work job. Campers and staff alike whooped and cheered for the award winners, proud and fortunate to have them in the Treetops family.
The celebration of the farm continued with our Harvest Banquets, a recognition of our Camp community’s hard work over the last seven weeks. Campers and staff dressed up in their best clothes and the afternoon was spent beautifying our dining room. We sat down to candlelit tables adorned with fresh flowers, and tucked into a scrumptious meal, thoughtfully designed and prepared by our kitchen that prominently featured pork, carrots, potatoes, and beans from our farm. In Senior Camp, dessert was cheesecake with a currant compote made from berries picked on campus. In Junior, they feasted on maple shortbread topped with blueberry ice cream. To cap off the evening, we paraded down to the boathouse for our last square dance held on the beach. Campers and staff swung their partners and promenaded to the familiar tunes of “Red River Valley,” “Turkey in the Straw,” and the “Salty Dog Rag,” while the sky turned brilliant hues of ruby red and dusty gray as the sun sunk low over Round Lake.
A Treetops summer is a gift; it’s a gift of time and space to build lifelong friendships, connect with our natural environment, unplug from the demands of the digital world, and for children to safely and securely stretch themselves a little more than they thought possible. On behalf of all of our Camp staff, we sincerely thank you for sharing your children with us this summer.
With so much love and gratitude,
Camp Treetops Director