Every morning at Treetops, we wake to a place of spectacular natural beauty. Unplugged, it is the lakes, mountains, and forests of the Adirondacks that accompany our everyday life. Whether waking to the sun rising over Cascade Mountain, catching frogs in the pond, or walking past rows of vegetables and flowers on our way to the barn, spending so much of the summer outside reconnects campers to the natural world, providing inspiration for the summer and beyond.

With four plus weeks of camp under their belts, campers have mastered many new skills—from riding to rock climbing to canoeing—and are heading off property in droves to sleep in the backcountry and put these new skills to use. While a five-day trip is hiking fifty miles and six mountains, from Allen through Panther Gorge and into the Giant Wilderness Area, a triple canoe is paddling from Bog River flow all the way to Lake Lila, portaging several miles along the way. A little closer to home, groups of sailors are cruising across Lower Saranac Lake, and riders are camping in our pasture after exploring our myriad of trails on horseback.

Back at Camp, Monday’s community morning involved senior campers helping to stack wood by the sugarhouse—wood that will be used for sugaring in the spring, providing maple syrup for pancakes. On Wednesday’s community morning, junior campers picked potato bugs and weeded the potato field, pulling up so many weeds that the gator couldn’t haul them away at once.

The value of fostering a larger, interconnected community was reinforced this week at our annual Senior Camp Oxfam lunch. After gathering at the Main House, campers were given cards that randomly assigned them to a tier of the world’s population—high, middle, or low income. The cards also included corresponding stories about individuals living in low-income situations. Each camper was then served a meal for their chosen income group—from a small portion of rice and beans to a full-course meal. After the meal, campers reflected on this experience, revealing that many came away with a deeper understanding of inequalities, particularly those of hunger and poverty.

A Treetops summer is made up of countless moments, each of which contributes to the bigger whole of seven weeks at camp. While we are here we take time to be together, to try new things, to grow in ways both expected and unexpected. Free from the digital distractions of the modern world, we have the opportunity to create a community based on who we really are, cultivating a new vision of ourselves and the world around us.

Don’t miss the Week Five Slide Show, below. Allow it to advance automatically, or drag slide bar to advance rapidly.