Page 1



We invite you to join us for a summer of friendship exploring lakes and mountains becoming strong and independent being part of a community with time to create and space to be yourself.


Camp Treetops. A place for imagination, develop strengt Treetops is a residential summer camp for

boys and girls ages 8 through 14. Our seven

week program offers a wide range of creative

and challenging activities in a simple, unhurried, child-centered environment.

Treetops sits within the Adirondack Park

which includes millions of acres of wilderness, ample space to experience the beauty of lakes

“The essential experience Treetops offers is TIME.

Time to walk up a hill, to look at the stars, to have

a conversation, to notice

the woods and to watch a garden grow. I am so so so happy my son spent

this summer with you.”

and mountains. Our 200-acre campus includes a

lake free of motor boats, a large organic garden Location and a working farm. Treetops offers a summer unplugged­—in which children experience the natural world and grow in self-confidence,

independence, creativity, and physical skills.

In a world saturated with technology, Treetops offers instead the sound of early morning

birdsong, the challenge of canoeing across a

windy lake, the satisfaction of creating something beautiful with one’s own hands.


r children to explore their th and gain self-conFIdence.


A Sense Of Self

Because our ratio of staff to campers is 1:3, children can realize their goals and express their individuality. One child may be very involved in drama while her tent mate excels at sailing.

“What are your hopes

for this summer, Sarah?” a counselor asks her

camper. “What I really want to do is make a canoe paddle.”

“Okay. Let’s make

sure that happens.”


Some campers take every opportunity they can to hike in the mountains while

others want to perfect their horseback riding skills. All children swim daily and have the opportunity to ride at least once a week. All are encouraged to sample a wide variety of activities, but children also pursue their passions.

A Sense of Community At Treetops a sense of community suffuses all we do. Is it your week to

wake early, walk to the barn and care for a horse? Is it your turn to sweep the floor for morning tent clean-up? The fresh vegetables we eat

at meals are picked by the children and counselors on each week’s garden harvest crew. We eat family-style at small tables so that conversation can be meaningful. On trips children pitch in to establish a campsite,

cook meals, and carry gear. One period each week is set aside for an allcamp community project. The money saved from eating a light meal of

soup and crackers once a week goes toward The Fund, and the proceeds are donated to a charity of the campers’ choosing. The oldest campers participate in a summer-long community project: cutting a new trail,

creating a mosaic for the side of the boathouse – something they can point to years later with pride. “I helped make that.”


A Day Unfolds A day at Camp unfolds in a rhythm. Children are

awakened not by a bell but by the quiet words of a

counselor telling them the day has begun. Each week a

different group of campers has early morning chores at the barn or garden. After breakfast and tent clean-up, a morning council plans activities. “Who wants to climb

Giant today?” “In the pot shop I can take two people to

work on the wheel and four more to do hand building.” “Who wants to do wet canoe safety 2nd period?”

Two morning activity periods are followed by lunch,

another council, and rest hour—a time for children to

read or draw or write letters and take a breath before the afternoon begins. Two more activity periods are divided by Juice and Crackers at 4 o’clock when everyone from both camps gathers on the hill for a snack. Five o’clock is chore time for all. Fresh flowers are picked for the

tables; a canoe needs some repair; shops are tidied and

swept; camping equipment is sorted and put away. Each work crew does meaningful tasks that help the community run.

Supper time, evening games or reading

by the fire, bed time, the silence of night

in the mountains, and another day is done.


“I was so thrilled that Jack loved this camp. I could tell this the moment I

saw him when we came to pick him up. The only word I can think of that

really described his whole energy was ‘centered.’ He seemed so much more confident and mature. And most important . . . happy.”


Activities at Treetops


Activities at Treetops allow children to grow in knowledge, skill, creativity,

and competence. Children begin at their comfort level and progress to more challenging levels. We encourage children to get involved in many areas of camp life, to broaden as well as deepen their experiences.

Crafts and Art Our well-designed craft shops allow children to learn many skills: weaving, woodworking, pottery, blacksmithing, dyeing and batik, felting, puppet

making, knitting, bead and papermaking and more. Nothing is made from

a kit. Some projects take one period to complete; others take much longer.

Children will return home proudly showing off their accomplishments: the rug they wove on the large loom, the stuff sack they sewed for their hiking gear,

the book shelf they made in woodshop. Learning to center a pot on the wheel or see a project through to completion gives a child a sense of competence and faith in his abilities.

Music and Drama A garden skit may teach fellow campers about why we mulch. More

complex dramatic productions may involve many children for many weeks. Performance areas include our Pavilion near the riding ring, the quonset-

gym where we also have our square dances, and an outdoor stage surrounded by a natural amphitheater. We sing before councils and around campfires. Children bring their musical instruments to Camp and play for others. Or they learn to drum or play guitar on instruments that we have here.


Hiking, Rock Climbing, And Overnight Camping Treetops is situated in the middle

campus has its own outcrop for

pitch tents and tarps, use a map and

publicly-protected area in the

an indoor climbing wall. Children

or an open fire. Older campers meet

of the Adirondack Park, the largest lower 48. Of its six million acres,

almost half are designated “forever wild.” This is our backyard. Ask

an ex-camper what she remembers most about Treetops and it may very well be that five-day trip she spent hiking in the High

Peaks Wilderness Area or three

days of paddling on Lows Lake and the Bog River Flow. Our

rock climbing practice as well as go off campus to more extensive

climbing opportunities. Trips are geared to the ability of the child.

The youngest may find adventure

in hiking up Balanced Rocks right from Camp and exploring the

cave and blueberries on top. Avid

swimmers may hike into Copperas Pond or explore the cold waters of

the Boquet River. Children learn to

compass, cook over a camp stove

the challenge of climbing multiple peaks over the course of several days. They may choose to work

toward Treetops Guide certification, either Mountain Guide or Canoe

Guide. (In order to attain this status, they must show mastery of a wide

variety of skills. Upon completion they “guide” a trip into a rarely

visited mountain or canoe area.) We always practice “Leave No Trace” camping. Group size is kept small

with a maximum of eight children

and two staff members on all trips.


Sports and games On the way to the waterfront, you might encounter several campers shooting baskets while two more play a tennis match and a soccer game fills the ball field. Although Treetops is not a sports camp, we do have plenty to keep active bodies engaged. Evening games may be as energetic as Ultimate Frisbee and Capture the Flag or as quiet as a chess match in front of the fireplace.

Horseback Riding Our horses are our own, not rentals. We know them

well and can match horse with rider. Well-qualified and experienced instructors make sure that riding lessons

are safe, fun, and educational. All children have the opportunity to ride at least once a week

either in one of our two outdoor rings or on trails

around Camp. Skilled riders who can canter with

ease and have learned to bridle and saddle may go

on overnight trips experiencing the joys of long trail rides.


Swimming and Boating Every child is enrolled in an American Red Cross swim class based on

his or her abilities. In addition campers must pass swim tests to engage in

boating activities. Especially skilled swimmers may take on the challenge of swimming for endurance or help out teaching younger children.

Children who adore the water may choose to take a pre-breakfast polar

bear swim. Daily general swims give even the least skilled swimmers a chance to have fun in the water and paddle about in little boats. After a hot day, a swim for evening activities cools us down.

Campers learn canoe and kayak safety and paddling on our lake and then take day and multi-day trips on which they use those skills. Beginning

sailors progress from learning the basics on small boats to sailing bigger ones. Having attained the status of captain, they test their knowledge on larger lakes in the Adirondack Park, camping on an island overnight.


Swimming and boating classes are small, and although safety is of paramount importance, we also want children to have fun in and on the water.


Our gardens have been

farmed organically since

the 1950s. They supply our kitchens both at Camp and School with wholesome produce.

Farm and garden Children help to harvest vegetables that appear on

the table that day. Our greenhouses mean that even at an elevation of 2000 feet in northern New York State, we relish home-grown tomatoes. Our farm

is just that, a working farm. Our chickens produce eggs and are harvested for the pot. We help raise

turkeys that are enjoyed by North County School

children at Thanksgiving. The flowers that we grow

grace our tables or make crowns for a special event. “My child had

the time of her life. She experienced

great freedom but

We teach the lesson of sustainability. Our food

scraps go to the pigs or to the compost heap, which in turn nourishes our garden soil. Our experienced farm and garden managers and well-trained farm

received support

interns instruct children as to the whys and where-

were structured

and companion planting.

as well. Activities enough to frame learning about

responsibility and one’s place in the community�


fores of composting, weeding, thinning, mulching,

Diversity Camp Treetops was an early pioneer in progressive childhood education. At a time when most camps

enrolled only older children and were segregated by race, sex or religion, Treetops was revolutionary.

Since its founding in 1921, it has enrolled children from a wide variety of geographic, economic,

religious, ethnic and family backgrounds. Typically, 18% are ethnic minorities. Campers come from approximately 25 states and 10 countries. Our

extensive scholarship program means we are able to enroll children who might otherwise not be able to

attend camp. Because we have no extra fees, every program is open to every child. Our well equipped

hike house means that all children go on trips with good packs and sleeping bags. Children come to

admire each other not for superficial reasons, but because of traits that are innate in an individual. And children themselves find new reasons to be proud of who they are.


Treetops Staff Our staff members are skilled and love children. Many are former campers and roots go deep.

A staff member may have first come to Treetops as a nine year old and discovered hiking. Now many

years later he leads children into the mountains he

still loves. Older staff, many of whom are teachers during the school year, provide the wisdom of

parents who have raised their own children. Young counselors infuse the summer with energy. Staff

members from foreign countries expose children to a diversity that we all value. Counselors have four

children of their own, their “group,� and also teach a

skill: riding, swimming, weaving, sports, sailing, etc. We choose staff members carefully. Intensive staff training and weekly staff meetings make sure that

even the youngest counselors are held to a high level of professionalism.


“He was so proud of all the things that he accomplished and how he was actually a functioning part of the camp. Working in the garden, helping with the horses,

feeding the chickens. Not to mention testing his limits with some serious hiking.

He even gave me a list of all the new foods he loved and wanted me to make. And this is a very finicky kid!”

“My daughter returned a

few shades darker, a few inches taller and leaner, and a disposition that

made her seem healthier and content. So many

people in the family and

at school have commented on how she has matured. It shines through in the

way she stands and carries herself. She seems more

at ease with being on her own and is more willing to challenge herself. All of this from 7 weeks at camp!”


Health and safety Treetops has two registered nurses on staff and an infirmary in each camp.

The nurses are part of the daily camp program, and children know when and where to find them. The Adirondack Medical Center is only 6 miles away in Lake Placid. Each program area has its specific set of safety standards. All trips go out with well-stocked first aid kits and counselors trained in

Wilderness First Aid and CPR. All waterfront staff are certified in American Red Cross Life Guard Training. We eat fresh, wholesome food including

organic produce from our own garden. Bread is baked in our kitchens using whole grain flour. Each meal has a vegetarian option. We make sure that

children get enough rest. We pay attention to details: to mosquito nets, sun screen, blisters, and even fingernails.

Accreditation Camp Treetops is accredited by the American Camping Association which holds camps to high standards of excellence covering all areas of camp life: program, administration, staff, facilities, camper health and care.

Every three years we are visited by a trained ACA accreditation team that

evaluates our work. We have always received superior marks from the ACA and continue to be highly regarded in the camping community.



“Did you know my mom when she was a camper?”

“Yes, she was in my swim class when she was ten.” “You’re that old?”

Roots that Run Deep We span generations. A return to Treetops for adults who were once campers is like going back to the small town of one’s youth. There is the tent you slept in

at age 12 and the fireplace where you warmed your toes after a chilly morning barefoot walk to the dining room. Additions get built, equipment updated, and

more boats added to the fleet, but in spirit the place is unchanged. In a world in “For me, a lot of the

which so much does not last, it is heartening to be part of place that endures.

dear are values that I

Treetops was founded by Donald and Dorothy Slesinger. Helen and Douglas

Treetops: Our roles as

that an overly structured day based on a military regimen of reveille, uniforms

understanding your food

beginning children at Treetops helped plan their day, did community work,

being alone and in a

committed to the ideals of progressive education, founded North Country

simple life. One of

into a not-for-profit educational institution governed by a board of trustees.

values that I hold

learned to understand at

Haskell joined the staff soon after and became directors in 1929. They believed

stewards and custodians,

and competition stifled children’s creativity and growth. From the very

supply, understanding

and spent time in the wilderness. Leonora and Walter Clark, who were equally

group. And living a

School in 1938. In 1957 Treetops and North Country School were organized

my favorite quotes is

The two institutions continue to share the campus and its facilities.

from Ghandi: ‘Satisfy

your needs and reduce your wants.’ Treetops helped prepare me to understand that.”


English Enrichment Program For children who wish to learn or improve their English, English as a Second

Language offers up to ten hours a week of instruction and practice in reading, writing and conversation coupled with a full camp experience. Classes are taught by experienced English teachers. Totally immersed in an English

speaking environment, children make rapid progress in fluency. Please call

our camp director, Karen Culpepper, for more information about this program.

Tuition and Enrollment Enrollment forms and tuition information are available on our website, Treetops is a not-for-profit organization dedicated

to providing a unique camp experience to as many families as possible. The generosity of donors allows us to provide need-based scholarships to about 25% of our families. Applications for financial aid are available on our

website. We can also email you these forms or send them by regular mail. .


Cert no. XXX-XXX-XXX

To learn more about Camp Treetops or to receive additional information and forms, we invite you to contact us. If you have questions, ask to speak to our Camp Director, Karen Culpepper. Camp Treetops Karen Culpepper, Director P.O. Box 187 Lake Placid, NY 12946

Phone: 518 523-9329 Fax: 518 523-4858 email: website:

Camp Treetops Viewbook  

Viewbook (brochure) for Camp Treetops in Lake Placid, NY 12946