Dear Treetops Families:
As the second week of Camp draws to a close, Treetops is beginning to feel more and more like home for our campers. And with each meal, tent cleanup, swim lesson, and barn chore, the rhythms and routines of a Treetops day are becoming second nature.
We see this in a multitude of ways: from racing barefoot on toughened soles to their next activity, to the confidence with which they sing Camp songs at Council, our campers are finding their places within the community. Some find comfort and familiarity sewing in the craft shop or up at the horse barn shoveling manure; for others, it’s found while out hiking on a mountain trail, or splashing in the waters of Round Lake. We set the stage for campers to find the spaces they love, and then encourage them to dig in. With each new day, they build on their relationships, their skills, and their confidence. With this firm foundation, and newfound self-esteem, campers become heartened to try new things, stretch themselves a little further, reach a little higher, and challenge themselves just a little more.
On Monday, campers had their first Community Day, during which Senior Campers spent the morning mucking the horse pasture, removing rocks, and pulling buttercups, a plant toxic to horses. Junior Camp spent the afternoon picking the villainous potato bugs, an important task that helps to ensure our potato crop remains healthy and able to produce the hundreds of pounds of spuds Camp and North Country School enjoy throughout the year.
The other periods of the day also had a community focus, and an eye towards how we, as a camp community, can lead more sustainable lifestyles and reduce our impact on the environment. Meals in the dining rooms were vegetarian, and conversations focused on how this small effort can have a huge impact. Activities for the day focused on projects that would benefit our community at large: making jam from fresh-picked strawberries to be used for lunch on our off-campus trips; building new bedside shelves for campers to store personal items; mapping out where recycling bins are needed throughout Camp spaces; making more clay mugs and vases for use in the dining rooms; and creating more song sheets to be used during morning councils. In an effort to reduce our fuel usage, Mondays are also no-driving days—any trips must leave by foot from campus. Campers and counselors will work together with our kitchens and maintenance team to determine how these practices have reduced spending, and any funds saved will be donated to an organization that campers determine to be values-aligned and in need of our support. In this way, we see how Treetops can make meaningful changes on our own campus and beyond it, too.
This week Junior Campers ventured into our campus forests to embark on their first camping overnights of the summer. Together with their sibling tent from the other tentline, they practiced packing personal gear, learned what group gear is needed for an overnight trip, tried their hand at cooking meals over a camping stove, and practiced Leave No Trace principles. In addition to the important knowledge and experience they gain on these trips, campers also have the chance to work together, strengthen the bonds they share with one another, and of course, experience the simple pleasures of being in the woods: cooking s’mores over a campfire, falling asleep to the sounds of wind through the pines and the babbling of a nearby brook, and waking up to early-morning birdsong.
The Supers—our oldest and most seasoned campers—also had overnight trips this week. An important component of these trips is reading letters from past Supers, many of whom are now counselors. These letters are filled with words both sage and sentimental, encouraging this year’s Supers to make the most of their last summer as a Treetops camper. Supers return from these trips heartened to try new things: expert hikers are emboldened to go on their first canoe trip; those who are often jumping from one activity to the next want to slow down and spend time weaving on the large Super table looms. All of them are finding their own special ways to cherish the remaining weeks in their mountain home.
With each new day, the fabric of our Treetops community becomes a little stronger and a bit more vibrant. We are so grateful for the chance to unplug, dig in, and share the summer together.