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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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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Monday Funday at CTT!

Hi Parents and Friends!

It’s been another great day here at CTT. It rained through the night and into the wee hours of this morning, but by the time we woke up from our much-deserved late sleep, the clouds had lifted! We enjoyed a late lineup and then headed straight into second and third period. And though many of us were enjoying regularly scheduled programming under the Greeley sun, there were some extraordinary happenings too. Aren’t there always!?

Our horse show was a great one at TOP Ranch and included all of our riders here at camp- ask your rider to show you her ribbons! We also took out seniors for our final two canoe trips on the Delaware River! And for the Top Cooks among us, we made spring rolls and lemonade – YUM!

Maybe the most exciting happening of all, though, is banquet prep! Just beyond Sarah’s Falls, through the rambling Arts & Crafts Village, you’ll find our TOP SECRET pod. Do you know about our TOP SECRET art pod? One special pod at A & C is set back into the woods, and you can’t see into it at all! We use the pod for special top-secret activities, and specifically we use it for banquet prep. At Timber Tops, on the second-to-last night of camp, 9th graders install an ABSOLUTELY gorgeous series of panels and decorations and totally transform the dining hall. They’ve been working on banquet for weeks! We’ll get into more detail in the coming days, but we’ll just say: WOW. This year’s theme (which won’t be revealed until banquet) is amazing, and these campers just won’t believe their eyes. The bar has been set high, folks! 9th graders are amazing! Ask your camper what she and her friends might like their banquet theme to be when they’re in 9th grade. We bet they have some ideas, since it’s sort of a big deal around here!

Due to inclement weather this evening, our play, Camp Rock 2, has been postponed to tomorrow. It’ll be worth the wait! We’re safe and sound in our bunks with canteen in our bellies. Goodnight, folks!

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Blue Team Victory!

Wow! It’s a late night, folks! The blue team took home the win in this year’s Pioneer Days, but it’s the journey not the destination which we celebrate over here!

This morning we participated in flagpole activities (lemon sucking, seed spitting, butter churning and so much more) followed by rope burn! This afternoon brought individual activities including meal (cooked over an open fire in our campsites), campsite, archery, adventure and more!

We hope you’ve watched our Week 6 recap highlighting these amazing days!

And check out last night’s cheer, dance and quartet!

Tomorrow we’ll post tonight’s amazing night of song and the presentation of banner. It really was a beautiful night without a dry eye in sight. We just don’t want these beginnings of the end. We just don’t want to leave our happiest place.

Let’s all get a good night’s sleep, since tomorrow and Tuesday bring our final two days of regular schedule, and we can’t wait. We’re making every moment count.

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Pioneer Days 2023: Day Two!

Hey, Swifties!

It’s been another awesome day here at camp, the second of three Pioneer Days down the winding road. Today, we began the morning with a camp-wide adventure challenge! We traversed tires, we swung to landings surrounded by lava, we raced up and down the cargo net, we traveled through a port hole — WOW! It was an exciting morning in the trees here at Timber Tops. And on the upper field we competed in tug-of-war, played beat the clock, and relayed a football toss!

This afternoon brought a swim meet at the pool, a biathlon, a bike relay and a huge dodgeball game!

Tonight, night two of Pioneer Days, is one of the BEST nights of summer. We mean it! The whole camp will gather in the gymnastics pavilion, and we’ll enjoy a night of presentations and performances of Totem Pole, Cheer, Dance, and Quartet!

The best is yet to come!

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Pioneer Days Breakout & Day 1!

IT FEELS LIKE A PERFECT NIGHT! It suuuuure was a perfect night down the winding road at Camp Timber Tops last night. As Timber Idol came to an end and votes were announced (congratulations to our many incredible performers, especially Katie and Lauren our winning duo!), the music, blasting from behind the curtain was unmistakable. Those first few chords were, that bass was, all we needed! Lavender Haze! Taylor Swift! OMGGGGG!!! Some started running, but we kept everyone back to see the curtains open and reveal FOUR different Taylors. Those Taylors would each become the Taylor of the four Pioneer Day team performances and announcements, but now we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Once the four Taylors were revealed at the Timber Theater, and as music played, we RAN. Listen, we won’t sugar coat it for you. We like to keep things orderly during breakout and get the masses in check but, folks, it just could not be done. It was absolutely impossible. You’d have thought Taylor Swift herself was in Greeley. We BOLTED!

We’ve never had a breakout on the lower tennis courts before, and as we got closer and closer it was clear that this was no ordinary Pioneer Days break. Purple tie dye tapestries just like Taylor’s opening concert flags, lined the path through junior village. Then tiki torches brought us down to an elaborate concert venue constructed right here in these Greeley woods. There was a VIP tent, a catwalk stage, lighting like we’ve never seen at camp and, of course, a merch tent.

Let’s talk about the merch tent for a minute, because before we get into those custom t-shirts, it’s important that everyone out there in this Timber Tops internet world know what amazing head staff we have here at CTT. In addition to practicing choreography for weeks, in addition to planning THE best breakout we’ve ever seen, our head staff has been making CTT TAYLOR SWIFT FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS all summer in their free time to give out on the night of breakout. Folks, this incredible head staff has been waiting for this moment for months. The air at camp last night was filled with joy and love and excitement. It was like nothing we’ve ever seen before – and we see lots of joy and love and excitement.

As our concert started, glow sticks and friendship bracelets were passed out, and four different Taylor sets were performed. First, Taylor Swift’s debut album (green), then The Fearless album (yellow), next Red (red) and finally 1989 (blue). Those videos have been posted to the YouTube page so check them out! You won’t want to miss it!

After our awesome eras performances and before captains were announced, we told our concert goers that we’ve ACTUALLY been dropping Taylor Swift Pioneer Days EASTER EGGS all summer long! Have you noticed any in these blogs?! WHAATTT!?!? That’s right! We played this Easter Egg video (here on dropbox, because YouTube does not seem to like it!) and the crowd went wild! This feels like a good time to say that Kareema, our videographer, is HUGELY talented, and we are so grateful for her many years of amazing work at CTT.

After our Easter Egg video viewing, every bunk counselor was called up to the merch tent to pick up a bag filled with CTT Era’s Tour T-Shirts in the correct sizes and colors for each and every person here at camp! It was the cherry on top of what was ABSOLUTELY the best breakout in Camp Timber Tops history. And we don’t say that lightly. WHAT A NIGHT!

This morning, we came down to breakfast in our merch and enjoyed a great, busy day of Pioneer Day activities! This morning brought happenings on the upper field including the sack race, the egg and spoon relay, the obstacle course, an egg toss, a wheelbarrow relay, a three legged race, a crab walk relay, a hula hoop relay, a sneaker relay, a suitcase relay, a volley tennis relay, a water bucket relay, a ridiculous relay and more! And this afternoon we were all at Lake Selma for lake activities! Committees have been made for dance, song, meal, jug band, cheer, banner, quartet, totem pole, hat, campsite, tall tale and “props!” We’ve gotten to work! So much to do, so little time (only three days)!

Tonight it’s jug band, freeze frame, props and hat at the Timber Theater! And we’re just gettin’ started. Goodnight, Swifties!

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SFA and SO Much More!

Good evening, folks! It’s been another beautiful, glorious day down the winding road in Greeley, PA.

This morning’s late sleep allowed our Polar Bears, on the third and final day of their Polar Bear exploits, to sleep an hour late too, rising at 7:15AM for an early morning dip in Lake Selma. It was a sixty degree morning, so cookies and hot chocolate were particularly appreciated, but the t-shirt is really what these bears are in it for. And they’ve certainly earned their winnings! Congrats, CTT Polar Bears!

It’s Thursday, and since this time next week is packing day (say it ain’t so!), today has been our last SFA Day of Summer 2023! We know, we know; it’s hard to believe that we’re beginning our first “final” moments of what is and has truly been THE most amazing summer. So we’re making it all count! We’re leaving no blank space! Supervised Free Activity Day includes lots of fun around camp for campers to independently enjoy. Today, some repelled on our new repel tower! Some headed to outdoor cooking! Some worked on camp media projects! There was Gaga, tennis, and tie-dye was an especially big hoot! Lots of juniors created Junior Village spas complete with nail painting and jibit trading, and some campers even worked on signs for friends and neighbors in tonight’s Timber Idol competition – but more on that in a moment.

We were especially impressed by the 6th graders’ initiative in creating their own game of “extreme hide and seek!” today during SFA. Complete with costumes, a rule book and and partner pairs for safety, our 6th graders dreamt up and participated in their own giant hide and seek game around camp this afternoon. And it was awesome!

The weather at camp has been perfect these past few days which made today’s grove cookout lunch particularly delightful and delicious. And tonight we’ll cozy up together at the Timber Theater for a highly anticipated concert, the hottest ticket in town: Timber Idol! Those interested in performing auditioned a few days ago, and a camper was selected from every age group to represent her grade level! We’ll hear from each grade-level winner and a few extra wild cards tonight in what will surely be a fantastic evening of song and performance. Our Timber Tops Idol winner will be selected by silent votes of our very own camp audience (through an extremely sophisticated, technologically advanced voting system involving plastic spoons).

In short, as always, it’s one big love story here at CTT.


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Pink Wednesday and More!

5 Things (and a bonus!) from Today at CTT!

  1. It’s Pink Wednesday! Why? Why not! We’ve historically been loving Orange Wednesday, but the CAs twitched it up this morning, and we’re here for it!
  2. We ate challah french toast for breakfast! YUM!
  3. PFC came to CTT this afternoon for a dance competition, and it was SO much fun.
  4. Tonight it’s Old Timers/New Timers parties!
  5. We made Rice Krispy Treats over a fire in outdoor cooking, and dare we say it’s even better this way!
  6. Okay, we know we said five things but here’s a bonus… WE WANT, WE WANT PIONEER DAYS! PIONEER DAYS! It’s coming, ladies and gentlemen, and we’re waiting with bated breath.

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