The Sun Sets on Summer 2018

Thanks for reading our blog, fans of Timber Talk. We’ve loved giving you a window into all things Camp Timber Tops and having you along with us on this journey of Summer 2018. Today we pack and watch the camp video, tonight we do wishing boats, and tomorrow morning we’re off. Just like that, summer 2018 will be a distant memory.

Of all the gifts you can give your children, we truly believe that camp is the greatest gift of all. You can’t give your kids independence, resilience, grit, lifelong friendships, a sense of belonging, adventure, but you can give them camp. Thank you for entrusting us with *your* most precious gift. We have loved having your daughter down the winding road with us this summer for what we think was our best season yet.

Your camper has heard us say it before, but it’s worth repeating now: Camp isn’t just a place on a map, it’s a place in your heart. We hope that memories of Camp Timber Tops give your daughter happiness and confidence in every season, through every stage of her life.

As our alma mater goes:

As time goes by like a river, a people alter their ways, we will always remember the joys of Timber Tops days. The friends we’ve made through the summer will be our lasting delight, and the joys and the tears that we’ve known here are the joys of the red and the white.

With thanks,

Missy, Andy, Anna and 5 Generations of the Black Family


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Banquet 2018! Thanking Alder and Introducing…

Tonight’s top-secret Banquet theme, brought to us by the 9th graders was…Alder Travels Through Time! Our 9th graders have spent the past number of weeks planning, organizing, and putting together tonight’s banquet which honors the CAs for their leadership this summer. It’s a Timber Tops tradition that we look forward to all summer and take very seriously- from Oaklings to CAs! The entire camp ate breakfast and lunch in the grove to give our 9th graders ample time to prepare in private, and they surpassed all expectations! You would not believe the way our 9th graders transform the dining hall each year, and it’s hard to put into words just how awesome it really is.

This year, “Alder Travels Through Time,” was the most spectacular banquet in memory. There’s a river that runs throughout the dining hall, on every wall of the building, that links one scene, one moment in time, to the rest. The river starts as dinosaurs drinking from a body of water, then pyramids line the Nile, and travels throughout the world continue– from the Statue of Liberty, to the Suffrage movement, to The World’s Fair, to Mitchell’s Creek here at CTT. One part of the dining hall is 1963, the founding of camp and its founders, and then the scene becomes present day Timber Tops. The bathroom is even a time capsule! It’s AMAZING! As campers walk in through a tunnel “time machine,” they sense the theme and it’s made clearer with every table, every wall, every decoration, every center piece. It’s truly unbelievable. This blogger has chills just describing it!

It’s our tradition for CAs to get dressed up for banquet while the rest of camp dons their officials. Alder is officially presented one by one,  thanked, presented with awards, and made to feel like the stars of the show. Thank you, Alder, for a summer filled with love for camp and each other. We have another tradition at Banquet where our counselors who grew up as campers at CTT serenade the whole camp with a special song to the tune of “Uncle John’s Band.” The lyrics include “When you leave Timber Tops, friends will still remain. People grow, each year will pass, but the memories never change…”

At the end of the banquet, the 9th graders thanked Alder and then, after much anticipation, introduced their CA name and sang their CA song for next summer. And the CA Village next summer is…

Zelkova 2019!
Song: “Home” by Tyler Brown Williams

In addition to a big CTT/9th grade (now known as “Zelkova”)/Alder love fest, the night was filled with especially delicious appetizers, dinner and desserts. It was like being at a wedding! It’s called Banquet for a reason. Really, ask your camper all about it!

An extraordinary night for extraordinary people in this extraordinary place. There’s a little extra magic in the air tonight at Camp Timber Tops, even though chants of “we’re not leaving” echo through the trees. It’s a bittersweet but awesome moment in the life of every summer and this summer is no different.

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Home From Camp, A Warning ( & Tips)!

Today was our last “regular” day at camp. We sent out final canoe trips, we held the Camper Scamper 5k, we played on the lake, on the fields, on the courts and in the dance studio. We also had our end-of-summer lice screening from the experts at Lice Be Gone (if you weren’t notified, consider that good news)! Tonight, we start what will be a final few days of winding down, an all-camp, final social with the boys at Lake Owego, tomorrow’s banquet, award ceremonies, gymnastics and dance shows, bus rehearsals, and teary goodbyes. In that spirit, we give you our annual:


We know you want to swallow her whole. Here are some tips to help you help yourself (and in doing so, help your camper re-enter the world).

1. Don’t take it personally.

Yes, she’ll be SO happy to see you. She’s also very, very sad.

She’s sad to leave camp! She’s sad to leave her friends! She’s sad to leave her counselors! She’s sad to leave her independence and camp persona! It’s okay (great actually)! It means you gave her the best gift ever!

2. Remember she’s exhausted.

In the past week alone she’s experienced Pioneer Days, the play, a dance show, a gymnastics show, banquet, wishing boats, packing and more. Over the past seven weeks she’s been living with ten other people, hanging out with friends day and night, participating in activities from sun up to sun down. Enough said.

3. Be patient.

It might take a few hours or a few days to be entirely “on.” She might even seem a little numb. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you or didn’t miss you. It doesn’t mean that she won’t open up and start gushing in a few days. Nothing is wrong. She just needs time! Things that are normal: wanting to talk to her camp friends immediately, all-day, every day for a few days (yes, she’s just spent seven weeks with them- we know). Wanting to keep on that disgusting arm of camp friendship bracelets (don’t tell her they’re ridiculous unless you want to get hurt). Wanting to spend some time alone before jumping into the deep end of home life (think family gatherings, the mall, play dates). Wanting to sleep sleep sleep. Any combination of the above. Normal. Normal. Normal.

4. Focus on small moments and questions.

Think about your two best friends who live far away.

Friend one: you pick up the phone no matter what, even if you only have a minute. Though it’s been months, you know she’ll cut right to the chase and start where things left off. Maybe you just answer a quick question, maybe you talk about who got the final rose- you can hang up when you need to. One word answers, longer answers, anything goes. No pressure.

Friend two: You love her. Really. You LOVE her as much as friend one. But you only pick up when you have time to sit, totally focused, for an hour-long catch-up. So, no. You don’t always pick up. Because you’re at work, or you’re making dinner, or you’re about to get the kids ready for bed, or you just don’t feel like telling your life story. That. Sounds. Exhausting.

The moral? Be friend one. You’ll learn more! She’ll start talking!

Good questions:
What was this morning like?
Which choice activity was the best?
Who was the goofiest counselor in your bunk?

Less good questions/statements:
Tell me EVERYTHING about camp.
Can you explain your weekly schedule?
What were all of your counselors like?

Ask a few, manageable, lighthearted questions every hour on that first day. You’ll open up that can of worms without having to pry, without overwhelming your fresh-off-the-bus camper.

5. Give her wings.

At camp she was the most independent version of herself, and she’s still basking in the glow of those camp freedoms. Advocating for herself, making independent choices— it’s why you sent her to camp! Remember how you felt the first time you came home from college. It was a little weird! Think about small liberties you can introduce to reinforce your camper’s summer growth. If you have an eight-year-old who didn’t make her bed before camp, encourage her to make her bed at home (even if it isn’t as beautiful as you’d like). Though seemingly a “chore,” having your camper do things for herself at home will continue the summer’s momentum and make her feel happy and confident. And isn’t that what this whole camp thing was about from the start?

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Funfetti Pancakes, The Horse Show, The Play and More!

Hello, Family and Friends!

We hope you enjoyed the minute-by-minute Pioneer Days itinerary over the past few days, but we’re happy to be back to regularly scheduled programming over here. Don’t get us wrong, Pioneer Days was AMAZING! From the breakout to banner to flagpole activities, quartet, individual activities, tall tale, song, the whole shabang – it was three days we’ll cherish! But waking up this morning (late sleep!), dancing at lineup as a camp, eating funfetti pancakes for breakfast in our PJs, we breathed a sign of relief and familiarity to be back as one, doing our thing and making each final moment count.

This morning was the horse show for those who ride here at camp, and we commend all those who participated! It was fantastic! Tonight it’s the play, High School Musical 2! Practice was in full swing today for those participating, and sheet cakes were decorated in cooking for the cast party! Otherwise around camp we swam, we biked, we GaGa’d, we jogged, we danced, and we stayed hydrated while we soaked up the sun!

Tomorrow it’s health screenings (including lice checks from our friends at Lice Be Gone) and the camper scamper (a 5k at Pine Forest Camp for anyone interested) among other things, but tomorrow we’ll make sure to post our advice for helping your camper re-acclimate to life after camp…Really! It’s a thing!

Until then, folks! Love from Down the Winding Road on this final Timber Tops Tuesday of the summer. Say it ain’t so!

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Pioneer Days, Day 3!

Day 3 – Monday, August 6, 2018
7:45 CAs wake up campers
8:10 Junior breakfast; Senior clean up
8:40 Line-up
8:50 Junior clean up; Senior breakfast
9:10 Captains meeting in the dining hall
9:25 Team meetings: Select participants for flagpole and individual activities
9:45 Line-up at the flagpole for flagpole activities which include: pie eating, rope burning, watermelon eating, licorice eating, butter churning, lemon sucking, seed spitting
12:30 Junior lunch; Senior recall
1:00 Junior canteen and rest; Senior lunch and canteen
1:30 Teams begin meal preparation 2.5 hours before judging time
2:00 Team meetings: Finish selecting participants for individual activities
2:30 Report to various activity areas for individual activities which include water relay, cheesewall relay, cargo net climb, gymnastics challenge, archery, adventure, tick tac toe, chopped challenge, fitness challenge
3:45 General Swim: Everyone to the pool
4:00 Judging- Meal and Camp Site (each team creates an elaborate campsite in the woods and cooks a full, gourmet meal over the campfire for the judges)
4:30 Showers
5:30 Junior dinner (SILENT)
6:00 Line-up
6:10 Junior recall; Senior dinner (SILENT)
Committees continue working on projects
6:30 Final preparation
Outdoor theater practice time
6:30-6:40 Yellow
6:45-6:55 Blue
7:00-7:10 Green
7:15-7:25 Red
7:30 Line-up at flagpole for the finale – Outdoor Theater
Song (the whole team sings their team song)
Banner (each team has created a banner, presented tonight)
Tall Tale (each team does a stand-up style retelling of the summer)

Winner announced!

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Second Day of Pioneer Days 2018!

Second Day of Pioneer Days!

7:45 CAs wake up campers
8:10 Junior breakfast; Senior clean up
8:40 Line-up
8:50 Junior clean up; Senior breakfast
**Tall tale must perform at lunch today.
9:00 Captains meeting in the dining hal
9:25 Team meetings: Select participants for tug of war, ridic relay, swim meet + bike relay
10:00 Report to the adventure course prepared to participate in Adventure Challenge (sneakers!)
11:45 Tug of war/ ridiculous relay – meet at upper field
12:30 Junior lunch; Senior recall
1:00 Junior rest; Senior lunch
2:15 Swim meet ————– Bring sneakers for dodgeball too!
Swim Meet, then Bike relay! Biathalon! dodgeball!
4:30 General Swim: Everyone at the pool
5:00 Showers
6:00 Junior dinner (SILENT)
6:35 Line-up
6:45 Junior recall; Senior dinner (SILENT)
Committees continue working on projects
7:10 Team meetings in preparation for tonight’s evening activities
7:45 Line-up at flagpole for tonight’s evening activities
Cheer: Each team forms a cheer team to perform tonight! 
Quartet: Each team forms a barbershop quartet to perform tonight!
Totem Pole: Each team forms a committee to create a totem pole to present tonight!
Dance: Each team forms a team to perform tonight! 
9:00 Junior bed time
9:30 Junior lights out; Senior bed time
10:00 Senior lights out
Pioneer days OD – rest up for tomorrow’s activities!

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PIONEER DAYS: Day 1! Follow Along!

Here’s what today looks like for the first day of Pioneer Days 2018! Follow along!

PIONEER DAYS: Day 1 Saturday, August 4th, 2018

7:45 CAs wake up campers
8:10 Junior breakfast; Senior clean up
8:40 Line-up
8:50 Junior clean up; Senior breakfast
9:00 Captains meeting in the dining hall

9:25 Team meetings:
Select participants for:
Jug band, upper field activities , dance, cheer, song, banner, meal, barbershop quartet, camp site, totem pole, freeze frame, hat, tall tale, props

10:30 Meet at the Upper Field for the upper field relay races and activities!
Be ready to participate and cheer!
** Each team bring: laundry bag, zipper bag, jeans, button-up shirt, socks + tie shoes
Begin working on: Jug Band, Quartet, Freeze Frame, Hat, Dance, Cheer, Totem Pole
** Committees organize schedules Props
Begin working on camp site
12:30 Junior lunch; Senior recall
Low senior photos
1:00 Junior rest; Senior lunch

2:00 Captains meeting in the dining hall.
2:15 Team meetings: Select participants for Lakefront activities
2:40 Lakefront activities: all campers to the lake! Relays in canoes, paddle boards, paddle boats, rafts, wibit and more
4:30 General Swim: Everyone at the lake
5:00 Showers
6:00 Junior dinner (SILENT)
6:35 Line-up
6:45 Junior recall; Senior dinner (SILENT)
7:00 Committees continue working on projects

7:15 Team Meetings
7:45 Line-up at flagpole for tonight’s Evening Performance at the Outdoor Theater
Jug Band: Each team forms a band and performs a song with with instruments made out of found objects
Freeze Frame: The whole team participates in what we swear was the original mannequin challenge! Anyone who has gone to Timber Tops knows we did it first!
Props: Each team sends someone up to perform with props given to each person in the moment. It’s hilarious! 
Hat: Each team picks a group to work on a hat representing their team. Tonight they’ll present the hats! 

9:00 Junior bed time
9:30 Junior lights out; Senior bed time

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Blueberry Picking, Fort Building and Much More!

It’s been another great day at CTT filled with laughter, sunshine, and okay rain. But would it be summer 2018 without a passing shower? No! We have learned that life goes on at camp in the rain and that dancing in the rain is sometimes more fun than dancing without it.

This morning the CAs woke us up by telling us to dress in our wackiest clothes for FUNKY FRIDAY! So it’s FUNKY FRIDAY here at CTT! While regular activities were in full swing, our 5th graders took a trip to the Paupack Blueberry Farm. After the girls picked (and ate) berries, they enjoyed some ice cream at the farm (Cout’s Homemade Ice Cream) and then brought their haul back home! In addition to sharing blueberries with the rest of camp at lunchtime, our 5th graders took over cooking this afternoon and made blueberry muffins. They were delicious!

We want Timber Tops girls to leave camp not just with an attachment to camp itself but with an attachment to this beautiful part of the world we call our summer home! We also think it’s fun for juniors to doing something special in each grade level! In the first half of the summer, our 4th graders spent an evening with pony rides and campfires at our ranch, our 5th graders just had a great day filled with all things blueberry, and our 6th graders went on a grade-wide waterfall hike to Shohola Falls! Campers always have the opportunity to sign up for canoeing and adventure and camping trips, but this provides a small taste of the great outdoors! We hope your juniors come home with a love of camp, a love of each other, and an appreciation for Pike County, PA!

This afternoon, after much begging and pleading, and in the midst of a storm, we held one of our most highly anticipated events of the summer… FORT BUILDING! Every bunk picked a theme and decorated their fort. Then, they performed a skit for the judges. Best day ever? We think it might have been!

But can tomorrow compete? Only time will tell!

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SFA, Costa’s, Krav Maga, Pen Making and SO MUCH MORE!

Happy tie-dye Thursday from Down the Winding Road! It’s been another great albeit wet day here at camp, but we’re so busy that we’ve barely noticed!

This morning, after a Thursday late wakeup, we came down to lineup to hear about offerings for Supervised Free Activity Day. In addition to regular activities being open for free play, Thursdays are an opportunity to hold special classes and clinics and even welcome visiting teachers and artists. Today we welcomed a woodworker who helped many of us make our own pens! Though open to all, all 6th graders were scheduled a visit and will bring home a beautiful new wooden pen, made here at camp! We also held Krav Maga clinics, one for our younger campers and one for our hi-seniors. Krav Maga is a form of Israeli self-denfense, and in addition to getting great exercise, we hope that campers will walk away with a few new skills. Other highlights of today’s SFA day included a cake decorating workshop, tie-dying for all in A&C, hi-seniors at Costa’s and banquet prep! Oh, and though our neighbors canceled our inter-camp field hockey game, we were so excited to play that we held our own! Campers vs. Counselors! It was so much fun.

And just after a delicious lunch in the grove of hamburgers, hotdogs, veggie burgers, watermelon baked beans, potato chips, lemonade and more, we ran for shelter in another only-in-the-mountains downpour! It came out of the blue! And after an hour or so of rain, rain, rain, we’re left with sunny skies again, birds chirping, wild turkey roaming…It’s wacky here at camp!

Tonight will be LAKE NIGHT for Juniors (it’s beautiful now, but if it rains again we’ll go with Food Factor), and SOCIAL for the Seniors!

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Costa’s, Old Timers + New Timers!

Today was a great day in Greeley! The morning was a rainy one, but that didn’t prevent our Juniors from having the best time ever at Costa’s! Apparently go-carts are extra fun in the rain, because you get splashed! And waterslides and bumper boats are even more fun while getting wet from every angle! Who knew?! Our Juniors are the best! Seniors had it easier this afternoon with sunny skies for Costa’s, and it was a beautiful afternoon all around.

Tonight? Old Timers/New Timers!

OLD TIMERS CLUB IS THE BEST! First, let us assure you that new timers have a fun-filled, active, awesome party of their own, complete with a delicious snack, so fear not, moms and dads. But, here’s the truth: Timber Tops girls REALLY look forward to being Old Timers (which is what we call campers who’ve been at camp for 3 or more years).

The old timers party starts with a walk to the 10-year tree where 10-year old timers are inducted onto the tree by our head staff members. Each person is honored and spoken about. It’s a great and emotional ceremony where Timber Tops’ finest are given a moment in the spotlight.

Next? ICE CREAM PARTY TIME! Old timer campers AND counselors storm the dining hall, sit by year at camp, and basically sing every single camp song and cheer (including past Olympic and Pioneer Day songs) in recent (and not so recent) memory. They’re called up to the sundae bar by year at camp (longest at camp goes first and eats sundaes off of plates, naturally), and they sing into the wee hours of the night. Is there any other Timber Tops way? OH! Old timers get a special gift too. And 8-year old timers get a special old timer’s shirt! And plaques! Old Timers get PLAQUES! We love a good tradition.

Life is good in Greeley!

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