Dear Treetops Families:
Over the past week, we watched as our campers dug deeper into the Treetops way of life. Their bonds of friendship grew stronger and they gained confidence as they raised their hands for new activities and adventurous off-campus trips. And no matter the context, they made their willingness to help one another clear while setting tables, braiding a friendship bracelet, making pasta from scratch in the Teaching & Learning Kitchen, or picking a horse’s hoof. Our camp community is taking shape before our eyes, creating a solid foundation upon which our campers can build new skills and take on even more challenges.
This week kicked off with the first square dances of the summer! Campers styled their hair with care, and dressed in their best outfits. And although there was some palpable nervousness at dinnertime, once the music started and the dancing began, the tension evaporated. Campers were invited to choose their own partners and the emphasis was on fun, not perfection. Returning campers patiently taught the steps to new campers, counselors readily joined in the fun, and faces were all smiles as they swung their partners and promenaded to the tunes of “Red River Valley,” “Birdie in the Cage,” and of course, the “Salty Dog Rag.” The evening was capped off with a Camp favorite: chocolate chip cookies and milk. Campers headed to bed full and happy, and asking when the next square dance would be, already looking forward to it.
Junior campers were also delighted to have their Water Carnival this past weekend! They gleefully raced from one station to the next and enjoyed numerous activities: trying to sink their counselor’s peanut shell rowboat (in the shallows, of course), playing with gigantic bubble makers, navigating the impossible sinky boats, building sand castles, and a camper and counselor favorite — flying down the Slip ‘n Slide! Senior Camp enjoyed their own special activity this week: Treetops Olympics with various camp-specific stations including: the many-legged race, friendship bracelet making, frisbee throwing, riddle solving, camp song singing, and tree climbing, to name a few.
On and off campus, campers are testing themselves. For some, that was finally passing the challenging Clothesliners swim test after seven summers of trying; for others it was hiking their first 46’er, or going on their first off-campus overnight trip. With each new experience, campers are learning more and more about what they’re interests are, what they’re capable of, and striving to stretch themselves a little bit more. Campers once fearful of horseback riding found they could get through their lesson with the encouragement of their counselor; those afraid of heights, learned they could climb to the top of the climbing wall; campers who had never been in a sailboat learned how to steer using the wind and rudder; and some who thought they couldn’t swim found they could tread water for four minutes.
This is the gift of Camp: providing time, space, and support to help children face their fears and overcome challenges. Through this they learn how to persevere when things get tough, how to lean on friends when they need support, and how to ask for help when they need a hand. We learn what we are capable of as individuals, and also that we are stronger together.