Karen’s Camp Journal Week 2: Community Building

This week, campers enjoyed many adventures as they continue to try out activities, explore new places, and make friends with each other. Tent groups continue to bond, selecting a name unique to their collective identity. Names such as “King Tut and the Sarcopha-guys” and “Hannah’s Bananas,” not only express the group’s character, but also recognize their counselors as a unifying theme. Campers decorated wooden signs and proudly displayed them above their tent entrances.

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In addition, junior campers have enjoyed their first group tent overnights to favorite spots around the property, like Raspberry Knoll and Hubbard Lean-to. Mastering new skills, such as how to prepare dinner and breakfast over a campfire, is an integral part of the process. Just as important is learning how to work together in small groups. In these first overnight trips away from their tents, children begin to recognize the ways we build community, as well as the unique contributions everyone makes.

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Our Supers, the oldest children in Senior camp, gathered for their first group overnights as well. They trekked from Senior camp through the upper woods to a special location on the property. Supers circled up their sleeping bags, laughing and telling stories well into the evening, fondly recalling Treetops memories from years past. A highlight of this experience is reading letters written to this year’s Supers by their predecessors from the summer of 2009. In these letters, former Supers offer sage and heartwarming advice. This year’s group will in turn record their own words of wisdom for future Supers at the end of the summer. This week we also started our community mornings, a large-scale work job or service project on the property. Senior campers worked together to clear brush and thin the sugar bush, taking part in the farm-to-table process that creates the homemade maple syrup enjoyed on pancakes. For their community morning, Junior campers gathered in the garden and Dexter Pasture to clear rocks from the fields, making way for more planting by our farm staff.

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Looking beyond our own community, we also shared our first Fund Lunch this week. Every Monday, everyone eats a simple lunch of crackers and soup made of leftovers from the kitchen and fresh garden vegetables. The weekly savings will be donated to a non-profit organization at the end of the summer. A fund committee made up of camper volunteers researches and presents to the rest of camp a number of environmental or humanitarian groups. All campers have a vote on deciding which group the Fund Lunch money will benefit. All across camp, the energy is infectious. Adventures abound—from canoe trips to Hoel, Turtle, and Slang Ponds, to hikes up mountains including Whiteface, Esther, and Wright, to a daytrip to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. A group of junior campers also spent an afternoon fishing Round Lake and had a tasty dinner of fresh perch over campfire. These and more are the ties that strengthen our community, and will continue to do so over the weeks to come.

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