PA + NY New Camper Events Were AWESOME!

Bowling together at Devon Lanes outside of Philadelphia, rock climbing at Chelsea Piers in New York, it was all about making future camp friends and meeting future bunkmates! And it was awesome! What a fabulous turnout! Our biggest EVER! This summer there will be plenty of first–time campers in Greeley, PA, so it’s an especially great time to start camp. In addition to campers, the weekend was a chance for some of our young counselors and veteran camp leaders to say hello and welcome. As we sing to you at camp “we’re mighty glad you’re here!”

Remember: June 6-7 weekend is our overnight New Camper Weekend! Stay overnight in a bunk! Enjoy camp activities! Sit around the campfire! Make real s’mores at camp! There will be many more new friends to meet. Please call the office for more information or to RSVP: 267-639-2488.

Spoiler alert: new campers, it’s going to be the best summer ever!

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Happy New Year!

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Finding an Overnight Camp…

You may have read the blog “The Opposite of Spoiled” by Ron Leiber that appeared in the NYTimes in 2014, entitled “Finding an Overnight Camp that’s Truly Worth It.” If not, it’s worth the read!

Leiber raises five “essential” questions that parents should ask when choosing a summer camp that is truly worth it. Here are the questions from the article and our answers. We think that they truly set us apart, above and beyond others. Read on!

1) “Where are other children going?” 
As Leiber says, this is a trick question. There is a natural instinct to send your child to the same camp as his or her friends in the neighborhood. The answer should be that a worthwhile overnight  camp has a diversity of geographic areas represented. Overnight camp friends should not be the same as friends at home. That’s the biggest difference from day camp. Every child has friends from home and school, but let camp introduce them to a whole new group of friends, some that span great distances, with different interests, styles and stories. Let your child reinvent him or herself!  An investment in camp should broaden a child’s circle of friends.

Here’s our demographic split: our campers are equally represented in NY, NJ, and PA. Close behind is MD and FL. There is not one city or town (not even one state!) where we draw from, and we love that about our camp families! Camp friends are sacred!

2) “What are the retention figures?”  
This is one of our favorites. Once a child starts at camp there is a 90% return the next year. This continues until “graduating” as 11th graders. Our retention rates are truly amazing. The author asks if we do follow up on those few who don’t return, and of course we do. Every camper is an integral part of our camp family. Honestly, the few children who depart before their final year do so for reasons unrelated to camp, a family trip is planned, a team requires practice at home, etc.

The blog also asks the retention rate of counselors and the percentage of counselors who are former campers. Here’s an answer that you might not expect: first as to counselor retention, our standards are high. Counselors are not automatically asked to return, in fact we are very selective about who meets our standards. Also, the truth is that not every former camper makes a great counselor. The transition is not easy. Not every young adult can make the change from being the one who is looked after to the person who does the looking after. New counselors bring new ideas, new energy and a gung-ho spirit, that not every former camper possesses.  Our experience and firm belief is that the best counselor team is a mix, new and old. We want the most enthusiastic, positive  role models for campers, whomever they are!

3) “What can they do here that they can’t do at home?”  
Here’s the beginning of a truly endless list that starts with wake-up and goes till lights-out. Rock-climbing, mountain biking, creek stomping, sailing, canoeing the rapids of the Delaware River. Travel to to play another camp in individual and team sports without having to try out for the team. Play Capture the Assagi, be on a dance team, use a potter’s wheel, join a rock band, hike the Appalachian Trail, go on an overnight, sing in the camp play, cook wood-burning pizza, participate in a bunk skit,  link arms with a whole camp, sing songs around a campfire!

And by the way, we try not to do things that you do at home. We avoid amusement parks, bowling, movie theaters. It’s on purpose! You can do that at home with your parents!

4) “What makes your camp unique?”
To us, that really is the most important question. Our camp organization is 90 years old and has been in one family for 5 generations. There are thousands of camps in the USA, hundreds that are old but very few,  if any,  can say that. Our longevity and track record is truly unmatched. Our facilities are modern but campy. The range of activity choices, amazing. Our camp is staff second to none, filled with coaches and teachers and camp folk. The ratios of staff to campers, almost 2:1. We have a rare range of campers from all over. But it’s our 5 generations and 90-year story of success that is truly extraordinary.

5) “Can you tell me about the ties that bind.”
Here the author was really asking about the soul of a camp.  He mentions his daughter, at lineup, watching two staff members honored who fell in love and became engaged at camp. He’s speaking to a sense of self, a sense of identity that links a person to his or her camp community for all of time. All you have to do is look around camp to see ties that bind: from names on courts and fields to names of current and former camp folk on plaques in the dining hall. The ties that bind are Polar Bears Club, songs, cheers, traditions of rope burn, camp fires, Old Timer’s Club, and culminating camp moments. We say it at campfires, and it’s true. Camp isn’t just a place on a map, it remains a place in each camper’s heart. It’s these lasting shared memories that link each generation to the next, and we’re lucky enough to have many camp folk span generations.

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Happy Thanksgiving from CTT!

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Our *NEW* Camp Video is LIVE!

 

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2019 Reunion: Best Reunion EVER!

Sunday was AWESOME!  Dare we say it was the … BEST REUNION EVER?  A big thank you to everyone who came out to party with us.  Campers, counselors, key staff, & more!  Busses were flooded with campers from the New York area, North Jersey, and even Maryland — we were so thrilled with the turnout.  Doesn’t it feel great to be back together again?  Yesterday was so great, we can’t even IMAGINE how great Summer 2020 will be.  We only have 226 more days to wait and see and no, it’s never to early to start counting down.  We can’t wait!

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Happy Halloween!

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Keeping the Summer Alive Year-Round

Keep the summer alive all year long!

  1. Keep in touch with camp friends! Write LETTERS!
  2. Login to Mom & Dad’s parent portal and look at pictures from this past summer and the summers before!
  3. Come to the 2019 reunion: Sunday, November 10th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM @ The Funplex in Mt. Laurel, NJ!
  4. Keep up with our Upcoming Events page for events in your area!
  5. Watch videos on our YouTube channel!
  6. Wear your Camp Timber Tops shirts from this and past summers!
  7. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram: @camptimbertops!

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The Sun Sets on Summer 2019

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 2019. Today we pack and watch the camp video, tonight we do wishing boats, and tomorrow morning we’re off. Just like that, summer 2019 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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Thanking Zelkova 2019 and Introducing…Kauri 2020!

Tonight’s top-secret Banquet theme, brought to us by the 9th graders was…Zelkova Goes Up! Like, from the movie “Up!” As the movie says, “you’ll always be our greatest adventure.”

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, “Zelkova Goes Up,” was amazing. Balloons filled the air, colorful banners were everywhere. The dining hall was just totally transformed!

It’s our tradition for CAs to get dressed up for banquet while the rest of camp dons their officials. Zelkova is officially presented one by one,  thanked, presented with awards, and made to feel like the stars of the show they truly have been this entire summer. Thank you, Zelkova, 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…” And counselors get awards too! MVC and the “Most Sucked In” were so special this year, that there wasn’t a dry eye in the dining hall.

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

Kauri 2020!
Song: “Running Home to You” by Michelle Osorio

In addition to a big CTT/9th grade (now known as “Kauri”)/Zelkova love fest, the night was filled with especially delicious appetizers, dinner and desserts including pesto chicken, caprese salads, sliders, shirley temples and homemade ice cream sandwiches. 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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