My Son’s First Summer Away…Camp Treetops, Lake Placid, NY

All photos: Camp Treetops

Well folks, this post will be a continuing series (or an updated post…not sure which yet) because this year my oldest son is going away  to Camp Treetops in Lake Placid, New York for 7 weeks!!! I think a little background is required.

My son is not your typical kid.  

He does not like sports and although I wouldn’t call him shy, he’s definitely not the most outgoing child around.  He’s kind of a loner at school – yet I will admit this is getting better.  And yes, he’s a bit over weight.  Next year is a crucial year for him…7th Grade…Junior High School.  All 3 of the elementary schools come together into one middle school.  I’m very proud to say that he is not a follower … so I don’t worry about peer pressure too much (I get that worry with his younger brother- ooh..lucky me!). Instead, he wants to be a leader but he lacks the skills because: 1) I’m not a perfect parent and 2) he’s never participated in organized sports. I suspect this has contributed to his inability to cooperate in a group.  Anyways…enough parent psycho babble…the kid needs to grow up and learn some life skills that I just can’t get through to him.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention.  Me and my oldest are a lot alike…and this leads to constant battles of will between us.

Seven Weeks at Camp (July 30th – August 18th)

Why Camp Treetops?  

I have enrolled him and paid for the tuition, and I’ve never seen the place.  I am going on blind faith and gut instinct. The camp is part of The North County School, a progressive boarding and day school.  I actually  started out looking for a private school for him, but then I saw the tuition knocking on 40K per year and was determined that my oldest was going….to camp.

Camp Treetops has the traditional summer camp activities…bonfires, swimming, horseback riding, canoe, hiking the Adirondacks…all that good stuff.  But it has MORE!  Herb and vegetable gardens, barns with pigs, chickens, sheep, cows and llamas.  Woodworking, basket weaving, spinning wheels, looms, no television, no phones, no candy!  Like stepping back in time! The children have chores everyday which rotate from garden duty to barn chores to helping to make the meals.

Here is a sampling of just a few activities to look forward to this summer:

Artwork including flower pressing, plant rubbings, watercolors, vegetable prints, gourd music, creating garden fairy houses, garden mask-making and plays, and making lip balm with garden herbs and flowers.

Wool activities like washing, carding, dyeing (using synthetic and natural dyes), and felting wool from our own sheep.

Food projects including preserving foods such as tomatoes, pesto, pickles; harvesting and cooking food for garden tea parties; using herbs for tea, bread, pizza, salsa, muffins, and scones.

Animals exploring garden insects, incubating and hatching chicks, checking animal heart rates, animal portraits and photography, and much more.

Farm Lessons about where our food comes from, healthy eating, and the importance of eating local produce.

I love this idea.  I worry that with todays lifestyles (mine is NO exception) our kids will grow up and have no concept of what it takes to feed us and clothe us.

I’ll admit a certain level of ignorance myself. I was over 30 years old when I found out that summer time is not the season for oranges.  I never even questioned why every Christmas the chocolate companies make chocolate oranges…now it makes sense.  And I grew up in rural Herkimer County, NY where being 4-H Dariy Princess is quite the honor!

To raise children who respect and understand the earth…well, it makes them better people.  And I hope it’s one of the many things he’ll learn this summer at Camp Treetops.  I’ll keep you posted!