Farm & Wilderness – How Camp Should Be!

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This is the time of the year that most families are taking advantage of early bird discounts , or are kicking themselves for missing the deadline.

If you haven’t already made a decision  about summer camp experiences, read on as one suspicious teenager falls in love with camp!

Oh, and campership has been set aside for our RIISE network only until it lasts!


“Farm & Wilderness is proud to offer a limited number of “first timer” discounts for RIISE families. When you 
enroll online, enroll and fill out the Campership Form and mention 4RIISE in your application.  We will contact you with your discount amount.”

 

Elon Collins considers Farm & Wilderness

reposted from August, 2015

 

Elon F&W

Unlike most teenagers, I was never enticed by the idea of dirt, cabins, lakes and camp fires. Summer camp and sleepaway camp alike, were never on my mind, despite my peer’s eager countdown to the first day of camp by early May. I suppose I found being away and out of my element for as long as seven whole weeks daunting to me, especially when I could envision myself doing other things: traveling to other states or countries, exploring NYC more in depth, or simply watching movies and reveling in the fact that I didn’t have mountains of homework due on Monday. While all camps aren’t the same, I seemed to be missing the point of most of them. What my friends bragged and reminisced about wasn’t the dirt, cabins, lakes and camp fires, rather the bonds they made during their weeks there. Camp friends are friends for life, and Farm & Wilderness really proves to be representative of that.

When my mom and I arrived at Farm and Wilderness early Monday morning, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was mainly too car sick and tired to give it much thought. After all the trip was sprung on me only two days earlier with a, “Pack your bags, we’re going to Vermont!” kind of air around it. Thankfully, our first stop when we arrived was the camp office, with a real toilet. The remainder of our camp stay offered only the outdoor accommodations one would expect with diving into real camp life.

Executive director, Rebecca Geary and communications director, Pam Podger graciously escorted us to the first of our F & W communities: Tamarack Farm. TF, as everyone affectionatley calls it, is mix gender, 15-17 year olds. Tamarack is beautiful, equipped with all the grass one could ask for, and a woodsy area that rests on the lakefront where all the open-faced cabins look out to. It is one of six distinct camp communities among 4,000 acres of secluded woods, lakes, and fields.

Tamarack’s camp activities focus a lot on the farm aspect of Farm & Wilderness, versus the other camp communities that range in age from 9-17, single gender or co-ed.  The campers take care of their own crops, look after animals such as cows, chicken and sheep. My mom and I actually got to witness the end process of making ricotta cheese. While I didn’t try any, my mom said it was really good. We also got to see a few different stages of yarn being made: right after it comes off the sheep or alpaca, after it’s been groomed, spun, and dyed using harvested flowers like marigold and others brightly hued.

Even though all of that is exciting stuff, my favorite part of Tamarack, and of F & W in general, is its community. It’s clear that being yourself, and being comfortable in your own skin is really encouraged at Farm and Wilderness. Acceptance is truly promoted, and I have never felt as comfortable in a space full of people as I did at Farm and Wilderness. I found myself not really caring what I looked like. Where, at school or almost anywhere else, I admit that that’s the first thing on my mind. In all of the camp communities – six overnight camps in all – social justice, gender, race, ability and age norms are guided open discussions that are a normal part of camp life. Now, I don’t know many camps that discuss, or are willing to discuss these concepts. Even at school, talking about gender, age, ability, and especially race, among peers can be super touchy topics. However it’s necessary, and should be discussed. I respect Farm and Wilderness so much for encouraging this type of  engagement.

I, of course still find myself rather apprehensive when it comes to dirt, cabins, lakes and camp fires, BUT I would make an exception for Farm & Wilderness any time. After all, I have to broaden my horizons sometime!

Thank you for the invitation, Rebecca!

 

Elon Collins, RCS ‘19

 

 

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