Top 10 Tips for New Families!

Calling All New Camper Parents! 

April showers will bring May flowers, and do you know what May flowers bring? CAMP, of course! We know that the change in weather has all of us thinking SUMMER, and we hope that these tips will be helpful to you during the excitement of the final countdown. Even if you’ve sent an older child off to camp before, these TOP TEN TIPS for NEW CAMPERS might be worth a refresher! 

1. Communicate with the directors about any and all family, social or medication issues or changes during the year and in the summer. Nothing is too small! A meaningful camp/parent partnership benefits your camper. Call or email us anytime! We are here for you! 

2. Stay positive about separating from home! Don’t focus on what your camper will be missing (vacation, trips to a favorite ice cream shop), rather discuss what he or she has to look forward to at camp! (The same goes for what you write about in your letters once the time comes!)

3. If your camper asks about homesickness, normalize it! “Of course you’ll miss things about home every now and again, because you have a wonderful home and family! It would be unusual for you not to miss home!” Also, in the same spirit, try to minimize your own feelings of child-sickness! “Of course we’ll miss you, but we’ll be fine! The summer will fly by and we’re so excited for you. You’re going to have an awesome time!”

4. If your camper has specific needs (in the cabin, in the health center, in the dining hall), make sure to call or email us,  and make sure to write about it in your confidential forms (or as an addendum to the form) before camp– those confidential forms are our bible!

5. Discuss different activities your camper might enjoy and also talk about trying new ones, keeping an open mind! Camp is a great, safe place to go outside of one’s comfort zone!

6. Take advantage of New Camp Weekend on June 1st and 2nd at camp, either for the day or stay overnight! It’s a great opportunity to meet other first-time campers, see camp, get to know staff, and have positive camp experiences together as a family.

7. Keep all “camp talk” light! In letters, in person, keep it upbeat! 

8. Now is when your camper may start asking you about what he or she will bring. Make sure to send your camper’s stuffed animal, a favorite book or two, and any other item that makes them feel at home; if there’s something your camper sleeps with every night, please make sure to send it! Believe us when we say that most campers bring a security object of some sort. You’re never too old! And don’t overpack!

9. If panic sets in, call us. We’ll talk you through it, but when speaking to your camper NEVER promise to PICK UP YOUR CHILD. He or she might ask in the time between now and camp! It’s normal to get cold feet in the spring! Remind your camper that you’ve made a commitment as a family, that  camp is only for a short amount of time, and that you know he or she is in the right place, that they can do it! They are in a safe place. CAMP IS WHERE CHILDREN LEARN INDEPENDENCE! By giving your camper the gift of camp, you’re giving them independence, resilience, and the ability to adapt to and thrive in new environments! If your children know that they’re definitely going to camp and definitely staying at camp for the summer, they’ll allow themselves to relax and let go. Squash the “what if!” 

10. If there’s anything (big or small!) you’re worried about before, during, or after the summer, call or email any time: 570-226-1955, info@timbertops.com!

We’re here for you, always, so keep in touch!

We can’t wait to get started!

Missy, Andy and Anna

P.S. For summer reading, parents, we highly recommend “Homesick and Happy” by Dr. Michael Thompson.

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Fleas, Ticks & Mosquitos: Oh My!

A Note from the Health Center to our Camp Parents:

We’d like to take a moment to share our plan of action for the risks associated with tick, flea and mosquito bites throughout the United States. Camp has been taking steps to minimize exposure for our campers and prevent the spread of disease. In addition to the measures outlined below, camp regularly consults with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to update our protocols.

Prevention

  • Outside lawn chemical professionals have been hired to treat all fields and field perimeters with flea and tick control as well as areas around bunks, buildings, and activity areas with flea and tick control.
  • All trails and paths at camp are treated with flea and tick control.
  • An outside professional pest control company has been contracted to regularly treat for rodents, etc.
  • Grass is cut frequently and brush is trimmed back in regularly trafficked areas.
  • Application of CDC approved bug spray throughout the day as needed for activities in wooded areas. There are also bug spray stations throughout camp.

Education and Practice

  • All counselors have training sessions on ticks and the counselor’s roles in health care, including
    • Hygiene, shower hour self-check prompting, tick checks after hikes, walks in the woods, and campfires
    • Basic tick prevention, best practices, bug and bite identification
    • Camper clothing coverage, including long pants and sleeves on hikes
    • Avoiding brushy areas, high grass and leaf litter.  Walking in the center of trails.
  • Nurse education during training
    • Tick checks, identification, removal
  • Full body checks after all hikes and walks in wooded areas.
    • A note: Nurses and counselors prompt campers to self check in and around the bathing suit area.
  • Check clothing.

Please don’t hesitate to call us with questions or concerns. We will stay vigilant!

The Health Center

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Happy Valentine’s Day

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Fun Facts about Camp Timber Tops!

Happy New Year!

We can’t believe the 2024 camp season will be here before we know it!  We thought we might share some fun facts about camp with you and your new camper to help her get excited! Camp Timber Tops is full of tradition, rituals and special names, and though there’s no pressure to learn them yet, we can’t wait to welcome your camper into the CTT fold! 
 
“The Alma Mater” 

 We sing this every night, after evening program, before bedtime! 

As time goes by like a river, and 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. 
 
Camp Colors: Red and White!
 
Olympic and Pioneer Days: Our version of “Color War,” Olympics during the first half of the summer, Pioneer Days during the second half of the summer. 
Campers are split into four colors: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue. It’s worth packing a t-shirt in each color! 
 
Many of camp’s fields, courts and venues are named after camp’s founding family as well as many old-timers.

Bunk Names: The bunks at camp are named after trees! Some you’ve heard of, and some we bet you haven’t! 

 
“Hughie Field” – The Upper Field. Hughie and Selma were the founders of camp and Anna’s great-grandparents! 

“Lake Selma” – Our very own, beloved lake.
 
“Ted and Sue’s Dance Studio” – Named after our long-time directors emeritus, Ted and Sue Weinstein. 
 
“Missy’s Gathering Deck” – Named after our co-director Missy Ruddick in celebration of her 20th summer.

“Millie’s Landing”: The gathering deck on Senior Hill, named after Senior Head Counselor and Assistant Director, Lauren “Millie” Miller, in celebration of her 20th summer.

“Rachel’s Dock”: The fishing dock on Lake Selma, named after Junior Head Counselor, Rachel, in celebration of her 20th summer.

“Sarah’s Falls”: The falls near Arts & Crafts, named after Junior Division Leader, Sarah, in celebration of her 20th summer. 
 
The “Winding Road” – Our beautiful drive into camp often referenced in songs, cheers and memories of Timber Tops girls. 
 
We hope this list is a fun connection to camp as we begin our summer countdown! Your camper will know these people and places by heart soon enough. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have and we can’t wait to see you this summer up at camp!

Missy, Andy and Anna

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Warmest Wishes from CTT

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The Sun Sets on Summer 2023

Thanks for reading our blog, friends and loyal followers of Timber Talk. We’ve loved giving you a little window into all things Camp Timber Tops and having you along with us for Summer 2023. Today we packed, enjoyed a dance show and screened the camp video yearbook. Tonight we do wishing boats, and tomorrow morning we’re off. We can’t believe it’s time to say goodbye.

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. And you did. 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 all of us at Camp Timber Tops

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HOME FROM CAMP, A WARNING (& TIPS) from CTT!

We post a version of this every year, so here it goes!

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.

Your camper will be SO happy to see you. She’s also probably sad and conflicted! 

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 routine, her independence and her camp persona! It’s okay (great actually)! It means you gave her the best gift ever! Don’t take it personally. In fact, pat yourself on the pat. You did it!

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 twelve other people, hanging out with friends day and night, participating in activities from sun up to sun down. She’s going to be exhausted.

3. Be patient.

It might take a few hours or a few days (dare we say a week?) to be entirely “on” and especially to open up. 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 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. 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.

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.

The moral? Be friend one. Take baby steps. Try to stay in the moment. You’ll learn more! She’ll start talking!

Good questions:
What was this morning like?
What can I get you for lunch?
Did you sleep much last night?

Less productive questions/statements right off the bat:
Tell me EVERYTHING about camp.
Can you explain your weekly schedule?
What do you want to do next weekend with all of your school friends? Let’s plan on Monday through Friday.

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?

You got this!

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Torreya Turns Inside Out

Tonight’s top-secret Banquet theme, brought to us by the 9th graders was… Torreya Turns Inside Out!

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 is the moment, too, to extend a heartfelt thanks to Ali, head of Arts & Crafts, and Cate, Assistant Head. They are at the helm of so much that happens at camp, and banquet is just the cherry on top of what has been a crafty, fabulous summer under their leadership.

“Torrera Turns Inside Out” is just the absolute most beautiful theme in recent memory. Our 9th graders have made shirts for the CAs with the theme on the front and “Take her to Greeley for me,” a play on a line from the movie, on the back. The movie focuses on forming “core memories.” There are colorful water beads all over the dining hall as center pieces, and there are colorful balloons overhead. Each colorful orb portrays a different emotion in the film, all of which make up core memories we carry with us. In “Inside Out,” the main character’s emotions — led by Joy — guide her through a difficult, life-changing event (a big family move). As this bittersweet moment of banquet arrives, as we prepare to leave camp, we’ll lead with joy, too! Despite mixed emotions, we have had THE best summer, and we’re grateful for every friendship, every day, every core memory here at camp.

It’s our tradition for CAs to get dressed up for banquet while the rest of camp dons their officials. Torreya is officially presented one by one,  thanked, presented with awards, and made to feel like the stars of the show. And they really are and have been all summer. Thank you, Torreya, for a summer filled with love for camp and each other. You really did become one, and we are awed by the maturity, gratitude and grace you showed all summer.

After awards are presented at banquet, we have another tradition. 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…” We also recognize a new counselor who feels like she’s been here all along! Our “most sucked in” award is coveted, and its shirt (the prize!) is passed on from year to year when its recipient comes back to camp as a returning counselor and passes it on. That’s right, they’ve gotta come back! 🙂 Congrats, Lauren Creed! We could swear you’ve been here since you were an Oakling!

At the end of the banquet, the 9th graders thank Torreya and then, after much anticipation, come together as one to introduce their CA name and CA song for next summer. It’s really an emotional, moving moment every year, and this year was no different. And the CAs next summer are…

Koa 2024!
Song: “Your Love is My Home” by The Light The Heat

In addition to a big CTT/9th grade (now known as “Koa”)/Torreya 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. Core memories, indeed.

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Final Timber Tops Tuesday, Summer 2023

Can you tell we’re getting pretty nostalgic over here already? Extra cheering, extra dancing, and extra hugs are in the air as we make the most of each moment here at camp. We hope you’re holding on to your final moments of summer, too. We’ll write more on this soon, but it’s all so bittersweet. In giving your daughter the gift of camp, you’ve given her independence and confidence and so much more. And as realities of home begin creeping in, we’re leaning in even harder to this freedom, to this magic you’ve given us. So if we haven’t said it lately, thank you! Thank you for these moments we’ve had and will continue having until those buses roll out.

This morning, we all had exit health screenings at the health center including a thorough head check from our lice lady friends. We’re happy to report that we’re clean as a whistle! We’re also spending lots of time sorting through lost and found; we’re doing the very best we can to send home everything your camper came here with, so fingers crossed!

After a mostly regularly scheduled morning (shout-out to our long run runners!), this afternoon brought Camp Rock 2 at the Timber Theater! Our cast was awesome, and the play definitely hit close to home! “This is our song, that’s all that matters ’cause we all belong, right here together. There’s nothing better than singing along. This is our summer, this is our song!” It’s like it was written just for us! Together we sang and laughed and applauded so many who’ve been working so hard on the drama staff (Maia, you’re amazing!) and in the cast this summer! Thanks, too, to the CAs for their many fab cameos! After the play, we headed up to gymnastics for a totally impressive gymnastics show! Congratulations are due to all who performed today!

This evening will be another super fun night here in Greeley. Get your dancing shoes on, people, because it’s an ALL CAMP SOCIAL with Lake Owego! We’ve got snacks, we’ve got lights, we’ve got a DJ… We’re ready to party! It’s gonna be EPIC!

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