Welcome to Summer 2017

The loons are calling between the clang of mealtime bells. Boisterous activity and sounds of joyful work are echoing over Woodward Reservoir. We are buzzing with activity! Last week over 200 summer staff from places like Seattle, Mexico, or just down the road in Vermont, arrived here in Plymouth. Over 55% are returning and many more in new roles or after a break from a role as junior counselors, campers or Tamarack Farmers or Questers.

Staff Training
We spend weeks preparing staff and our properties for your children and teens’ arrival. Staff are hammering, sawing, milking, blacksmithing, learning to care for injured people in wilderness settings, and practicing safe driving techniques (after watching a video and being tested on safety rules). The staff’s talents both creatively and professionally are shining and inspiring their peers and camp leadership.

Select returning staff have taken a two-day workshop we’ve developed that teaches how to facilitate conversations on race, gender and topics of inclusion and equity. Participants gain skills to use teachable moments to broaden awareness of the impact and intent of words we use, of perceptions and perspectives we hold. We support staff in ways to not shy away from difficult topics or lean into discomfort and guide young people in taking risks that lead to growth and a stronger camp community.

We’ve installed a solar array tucked behind our sustainable resources building, that will increase our electric coverage to 90% of consumption. At drop off, you will notice that the road we extended last year has been landscaped with additional shade trees yet to be added.

Over the winter we reviewed our Barns and Garden programs, an integral and unique feature of what youth experience here. We continue to consider how we source and prepare local foods. After a planned dry season, we’ve begun pasteurizing our amazing farm fresh milk for camper consumption this summer.

Thrive for 75
Two big signs herald our Thrive for 75 Campaign and projects, as we head into the home stretch to increase our campership endowment and annual awards, shore up infrastructure and overdue building projects while cultivating our greater F&W community.

All of the work we do over the winter and spring, and now, with opening days around the corner, enable us to deliver the magic that your young people will experience. We are eager for your arrival, for the energy and spirit that rings over the mountains from Woodward to Lake Ninevah.

Safe travels, we can’t wait to see you!

Rebecca Geary, Executive Director

Posted in News & Announcements, News From Our Executive Director, Uncategorized

A Hub For Year Round Activity

Community is a big part of Farm & Wilderness. As one of our core Quaker values, we hold to it in the camps and by engaging with our many friends and family members at events in Plymouth and at potlucks and informal reunions across the country. Who could have imagined how large our community would grow in our first 75 years? Surely Ken and Susan Webb, our founders, dreamed it.

There were 28 boys at Timberlake’s predecessor, Camp Mehrlicht, in 1939, our first year. Two years later 12 girls attended the first summer at Indian Brook. Senior Work Camp, the precursor to Tamarack Farm, extended the farming program to older campers in 1953. Nearly ten years later, in 1962, Saltash Mountain Camp brought the sounds of campers to Lake Ninevah and two years after that, Flying Cloud opened.

At Friends Lodge campers may sing songs and perform skits, staff will work to ensure campers have a wonderful summer, alumni will browse the archives, and visitors will make their first connection with F&W.Janet Green, clerk of the Farm & Wilderness board of trustees

Today nearly 900 campers and more than 250 staff arrive each summer to fill the valley with song and laughter. About 25 staff work behind the scenes all year, making the magic happen, from marketing and recruiting campers and staff, to planning camp programs, to ensuring our grounds, water and structures sustain our community for years to come.

“What was once the farmer’s home, now houses our staff, and quite frankly, we’ve outgrown the space. We believe a more functional office will help us better serve our families and alumni by sustaining our high retention level for year-round staff—on average more than 5 years,” explains Rebecca Geary, Executive Director.

“Our need to extend our ‘home’ for the greater F&W community has also increased,” she continued. After Barn Day Camp families and friends drop off their children at the red barn, some folks find a quiet porch outside of our cramped office space to read, check their email using our Wi- Fi, or make plans with new friends for tubing or post-camp cookouts. More than 10,000 alumni and camper families stay connected to F&W through reunions and potlucks, work weekends, Fair and the Interim.

The simple, practical Friends Lodge will be built with local timber and seek to meet our net zero energy efficiency goal. Inside it will provide alum- ni and visitors the opportunity to browse the Farm & Wilderness archives. A multi-purpose group gathering space will provide room for camper, family and alumni programs, including a welcom- ing porch for Barn Day Camp families and others to gather and connect on summer days.

“At Friends Lodge, campers may sing songs and perform skits, staff will work to ensure campers have a wonderful summer, alumni will browse the archives, and visitors will make their first connection with F&W,” said Janet Green, clerk of the Farm & Wilderness board of trustees, which first saw the need for this lodge ten years ago.

Friends Lodge will become the hub for our year-round and seasonal staff, for alumni, and for camper parents, and will extend our connection to our local Plymouth community. “It is so important to create a space that meets the evolving needs of both our staff and our larger community,” said Rebecca. “Friends Lodge is where we will have the inspiring conversations and make the personal connections that will strengthen our community within and beyond the camps for the long term.”

Learn more about friends lodge and pledge your support here!


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Thrive: Empowering Campers for the Next 75 Years

Farm & Wilderness is a diverse community of four generations of campers, staff, families, and friends. This one-time publication celebrates who we are as a community and the investments we are making together to ensure the magic of F&W endures for the next generations of campers.

We are grateful to the more than 400 community members who have participated in the Thrive for 75 Campaign. If you have made a gift already, thank you! If you haven’t yet made a gift, what are you waiting for? Read the stories and prepare to be inspired by the people and the vision that continues to make F&W a special experience and a home to so many.


Posted in News & Announcements, Uncategorized

The First Day of Camp is Almost Here

Are you wondering…

  • What to pack for camp?
  • When is drop off time?
  • How care packages and mail delivery work?
  • Where is Plymouth, Vermont is anyway?

All this and more can be found in the Parents’ Handbook! Overnight and Barn Day Camp editions are linked below for your perusal.

Overnight Parents’ Handbook Overnight Parents’ Handbook

Barn Day Camp Parent’s Handbook Barn Day Camp Parent’s Handbook

If any of your questions are left unanswered, please feel free to contact us here at the office. We are always happy to talk about camp! Email your friendly Admissions Team at [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected] or give us a call at (802) 422-3761

See you soon!

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Inclusivity & Equity Training

Fair 2016-29At Farm & Wilderness we expect our summer staff to facilitate age-appropriate discussions with campers about social justice issues.  As we value inclusivity & equity and work hard to build a diverse summer community, it’s important for our staff to be prepared to engage our young people in dialogue on important topics such as race, gender, and class.

If innocent questions come from kids about the color of someone’s skin, for example, our staff is expected to facilitate learning instead of brushing these comments under the rug.
We’ve developed the Summer Staff Inclusivity & Equity (I&E) Training to meet the following program goals.

Goals for Inclusivity & Equity
We Will:

  • Nurture each camper’s growing knowledge of self-identity as well as how they identify in a group.
  • Promote each camper’s comfortable, empathetic interaction with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Foster each camper’s capacity for critical thinking about bias, inclusivity and equity.
  • Cultivate each camper’s ability to advocate for others and themselves when they encounter bias and use the power of their voice and action to bring positive change.

Identity -> Empathy -> Critical Thinking -> Action

Here is some of the material we use in our Inclusivity and Equity staff training.

Adapted from Five Myths of Talking About Race With Your Child by Jaime-Jin lewis, 2013)

1. “Children don’t see race.”
Research shows us that children do, in fact, see race. They are never “colorblind.” One study revealed that infants recognize racial difference between three and six months of age. Dr. Phyllis Katz’s research (as cited in “See Baby Discriminate”) shows that by three years white children exhibit an overwhelming preference for same-race friends. By age five, 68% of children sort decks of cards of people’s faces by race over any other indicator. The infamous doll test originally performed by Kenneth and Marnie Clark and repeated most recently by CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 shows that pre-k and kindergarten-aged children express racial biases that remain with them through adulthood.

To be clear, the purpose of this research is not to figure out if children are racist or not. The intention is to debunk the colorblind myth and frame an approach to interrupting these troubling patterns.

Here’s something you can try:

Instead of saying, “We are all the same.”
Try making connections saying, “Race is one of the beautiful things that makes us different, but I know that the color of our skin does not mean someone is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘nice’ or ‘mean,’”

2. “Talking about race creates racist thinking.”

Our country still has a race problem that permeates our culture, plagues our institutions, and affects individuals. We know that children absorb these messages without our help. Not talking about race actually allows stereotypes and generalizations to go unchecked.

Here’s something you can try if a child brings up a comment about race:

Instead of saying, “Race isn’t something we talk about.”
Try getting more information by asking, “That’s a good comment. What makes you say that? This is something that I’m interested in talking about with you.”

3. “Exposure to diversity is enough.”

Dr. Birgitte Vittrup performed a study with 100 families in Texas (also in “See Baby Discriminate”) that found that mere exposure to peers of other races or reading multicultural books is not enough to counter the development of bias in children; they must be accompanied by conversations about race. These conversations about race should reflect an honest acknowledgment of systemic inequalities but seek to engage the child in enacting solutions.

Here’s something you can try:

Instead of saying, “We’re all equal.”
Try saying, “We’re all equal here. But sometimes in the world, people are treated differently based on the color of their skin, what are things we can do to make sure that doesn’t’ happen here?”

4. “I don’t have all the answers.”
This is a true statement, but not a reason to not talk about race with children. It’s okay to say that you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s okay to ask for more time to think before answering a question. It’s okay to take the conversations slowly. Framing tough questions from a child as “teachable race moments” opens up opportunities for your own growth and development.

Here’s something you can try when a child asks a tough question about race:

Instead of saying nothing and avoiding the conversation.
Try saying, “That is something adults haven’t even figured out. Let’s learn about it together.”

Talking about Race

(Adapted from Talking Race in the Classroom by Jane Bolgatz, Teachers College Press, 2005)


Preparing to talk about race and racism entails significant and ongoing self-reflection. How do you identify yourself and what does that identity mean to you? Where do you struggle when it comes to prejudice and discrimination? In what ways do you internalize the oppression against groups with whom you identify? For many teachers, it can be difficult to face the ways we have learned to be racist or to realize how racist the world is. Guilt and anger are important markers. They alert us to the need to find new ways to respond to our own racism and internalized oppression so that we can help our campers do the same.

Use Your Own Style

One does not change one’s style or tone when discussing race. If anything, conversations about race and racism demand that we have personal integrity. When we take risks to talk about race and racism, we move into a realm in which we are not necessarily experts. As a result, we have to ask questions and expose our own learning process. We cannot pretend to be something other than what we are, and young people appreciate our honesty.

Create a (Relatively) Safe Atmosphere

I do not believe it is possible to create a space where all campers feel comfortable all the time. However, we continually need to help campers feel trusting and trusted. It can be useful to share with campers the assumption that while we are not to blame for the racism in society, we can assume responsibility for working against it.

Lean into Discomfort

While we work to protect campers’ feeling of safety, broaching conversations about race or racism may take our campers or us out of our comfort zones. Conversations that are nice and polite often do not get to the heart of conversational issues. Rather, we should help campers get comfortable with the incendiary.

Let Campers Feel Agency

Campers need to learn about anti-racism campaigns and understand how they contribute to such causes. Activist and organizations such as Ida B. Wells, Miles Horton, Morris Dees, the NAACP, and even the You Tube Anti-Racism Collaboration provide excellent models of people who have actively fought for racial justice.

Talk about Your Experiences

As staff, we can share the times when we ourselves noticed or questioned something racial, stood by or contributed to racism, or did something to combat it. Talking about our own racism can make us feel vulnerable. Modeling our vulnerability can help students expose theirs.

Help Campers Develop and Use Vocabulary

In general, campers are not equipped to discuss many issues of race and racism. Some young people overlook White privilege, and many see racism as only existing “Back in the day” or only being a matter of personal prejudice. However, we can scaffold ideas by explicitly teaching terms and definitions.

Question, Question, Question

Simply asking questions and reflecting on racial positions goes a long way in opening doors to critical conversations. We can challenge campers, for example, when they voice colorblind sentiments. “How do you know we are all the same?” When campers talk about stereotypes we can ask where the stereotype came from. “What do you mean?” and “How do you know?” are disarming questions.

Slow the Conversation

Beyond banning a term or telling a camper to abandon a line of reasoning, we can slow the conversation and tell campers why we think there is a problem. Perhaps more effectively, we can help young people investigate what they say. “What does that mean? Where does that phrase come from? Why do you think people are offended by what you are saying?” Finally, we might not assume that there is a problem. “Wait. Is what you are saying offensive? It sounds like it might be.”

Be Attentive to Interpersonal Dynamics

We are constantly performing for one another. Adults can be savvy about how campers position themselves. We can be conscious that what campers choose to say depends on how they anticipate or perceive their peers’ and counselors’ reactions.

Be Patient

As staff, we need to find out where campers are. We need to accept them and not be judgmental, even if they are backtracking or silent. Because of the power of racism in society, they might not learn quickly. Talking about race and racism is a long-term process.


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Meet the Milkers

Fresh milk is a highlight at camp!

Say hello to Moon, one of our four furry milk-1.27.17.Milkers-006makers.

Moon is our awkward Jersey. She always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even after four years, she seems surprised and twitches her feet when she is prepped for milking.

She is perfectly squared: At 6 years of age, she gives us six gallons of milk a day.



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Indian Brook FAQ


What to Expect for families

Why is being in a gender common space important?

Who is camp for?

What’s up with the pronouns and gender neutral language being used?

What’s the camper quote that sums up the camp experience best?

What’s the parent quote that sums up the camp experience best?

Are we changing the name, Indian Brook?

Why do all campers at TL have an apprenticeship and only the Senior Lodgers do at IB?

Does my camper really get the opportunity to slaughter a chicken?

What is “Body Talk”?

What kind of activities do you do around Social Justice at Indian Brook?

Are you really expecting my camper to sit in silence for 15 minutes every day?

What’s happening this summer, anything new?

What is the foundation of the IB philosophy?

Why is being in a gender common space important?

We know adolescents go through significant FarmAndWilderness-135biological and social changes that guide them into adulthood. We provide a fun, educational, and reflective space away from the forces within the media and greater society that seeks to define them. Gender common spaces (for those in marginalized communities) are essential because they provide a challenging but safe space for youth to voice their concerns and ideas. By being exposed to peers that are confident, capable and in other leadership roles, girls are inspired to look at their own capacities in a positive light.

We believe it’s powerful to celebrate each other’s strengths to eliminate low self-esteem, poor body image, objectification, stress and unrealistic expectations. These qualities decrease when youth are part of healthy environments in which they are valued and heard. Camp is a place where girls can explore the fullness of their identity with the care and guidance of diverse women. I’m so glad you signed your camper up for this growth experience!


FarmAndWilderness-127We strive to create an atmosphere of authenticity for our campers, following the Quaker concept that, “the Light of the Spirit is in every person.” In practice, this translates to an environment of mutual respect and care for the unique qualities of each person. IB is traditionally a girls camp, and we are first and foremost dedicated to living in alignment with the Quaker values of Farm and Wilderness, which means fostering an environment of genuine equity and inclusion. In doing so, we provide a judgment-free community for youth who identify as cis-female, trans, gender-expansive, non-binary or genderqueer away from the forces within the media and greater society that seek to define them. In line with our feminist history, we strive to help kids think more deeply and freely about their own gender identity and cultivate empathy for others. Safe spaces for identity exploration are one of the many benefits of life at camp, and we believe this should not stop at gender.

We look forward to getting to know the unique, multifaceted YOU in one of our camps. You can look forward to hearing everyone practice using pronouns, finding ways to create an environment that promotes each person’s expression, and developing an environment where feminism and empowering children to learn about who they are and how to challenge the boxes our culture would like to put them in.

What’s up with the pronouns and gender neutral language being used?

F&W strives to provide a gender-inclusive space for all. You may see name tags that display preferred pronouns or hear someone asking what pronouns they prefer to use upon a greeting. F&W recognizes gender as a social construct; a person may identify with a gender different from their biological sex or may express their gender in a manner that does not fit with society’s expectation of what a particular gender should look and act like. Because gender is so fluid, it’s not only acceptable but also necessary to ask each other what pronoun each of us would like to use. We need to do pronoun introductions because we can’t make assumptions about how people want to be referred to based on their appearance. The goal is to prevent misgendering and support our whole community.

To be as welcoming as we want to be, we have moved away from language that refers exclusively to those who identify as female. Indian Brook will always be committed to empowering girls and women, but we are also invested in being inclusive of trans folk and others with marginalized gender identities. The WoodsWoman certification program is now known as OWLS, or Outdoor Wilderness Living Skills. Wild Women of the Woods is now Wild People of Woods. The IB birthday song was re-written in 2016 so that it does not refer to the birthday person’s gender (or use Body Talk). Instead of assuming that everyone at Indian Brook uses “she”, “her”, and “hers” as pronouns, we teach campers and staff to introduce themselves with their preferred pronouns, and to ask others about theirs.

What’s the camper quote that sums up the camp experience best?

[The greatest benefit I received] was getting a whole different experience. Being among girls that might not have my same lifestyle was really cool and I have learned so much about myself and how lucky I am to live where, when, and how I do.

What’s the parent quote that sums up the camp experience best?

My daughter has come home completely ‘reset’ for the better. The Platinum Rule* has made a HUGE impression. She is much more present and kind with us (no whining or complaining) and voluntarily helping out with work projects around the house. She’s also being more mature and setting a great example for the younger neighbor friends. Thanks!

*The Platinum rule is an alternative to the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

Are we changing the name, Indian Brook?

FarmAndWilderness-131No, not this summer! You can expect some conversations to occur around our camp name, Indian Brook, its history and how our community (campers, staff, alum, etc.) all connect with the name. Conversations will be facilitated at camp and at fair by Rebecca Geary, executive director and Megan Chamberlain, IB Director. After we gather and weigh the perspectives offered, the Management Team will make a recommendation to the Board at its October 2017 meeting. There will be times to bring in the lens of the Indian Community or ask why the word “Indian” is being used by our mostly white community or even moments of talking about our history and what it was like at camp 50+ years ago.

If you want to join the conversation before the summer, visit https://farmandwilderness.org/IBNameDiscussion or email [email protected]. Click here more information about this process visit the latest article in our Interim: https://farmandwilderness.org/2017/04/27/revisiting-history-modern-lens/

Why do all campers at TL have an apprenticeship and only the Senior Lodgers do at IB?

We may be brother/sister/cousin camps but TL piggy croppedand IB are different on purpose! We believe strongly that girls age 9-12 are figuring out their identity and areas of interest that they may love.  To help each camper figure out what activities they may thrive in, they will participate in each of the program areas: Barns & Gardens, Outdoor Living Skills, Work Projects. Each morning, our first and big lodgers (ages 9-12) go to one of three activity areas with their activity group for three or four consecutive mornings.  In these four areas, we’ve set up some goals (or purposes) and focus areas from which our summer staff can work. Our morning activity areas are designed to improve each child’s confidence and competence as well as connection and contribution to the community.

While most of the senior lodgers have been progressing their way to learning a variety of skills, they choose one apprenticeship for their morning activities. Some of these specialties are Barns & Gardens, Pioneers (outdoor living skills), Canoeing (some acquiring a basic rating), Kitchen, Rock Climbing, Creative Arts (sculpture, puppetry), Rockstars! (guitar and song writing), Fire Building (for the fair fire), Work Projects, and Ceramics. Our 13 and 14-year old campers gain a deep level of skill and appreciation in the area they choose.  They use the skills they develop to give back to the community whether it’s through a performance, a lesson taught for younger campers, a meal prepared for all of camp, or a piece of art left for our community.

If you are interested in learning more about the goals in each activity area, projects or apprenticeship focuses, please email the Indian Brook Director or the Red Spruce Grove Associate Director.

Does my camper really get the opportunity to slaughter a chicken?

hiking smallerOn our “working” F&W farm we have these types of chickens: Laying Hens: Red Sussex, Buff Minorcas, Red Starts, Araucanas. Meat Birds: Freedom Rangers.

Each summer campers pick out 20 chickens to take care of in one of the fields (apple orchard). During its good short life, they are fed, given water, and people interact act with it daily. At the end of the summer, campers and staff are offered the opportunity, with guidance, to slaughter and prepare a chicken, voluntarily, to be eaten at the meal that celebrated the farm harvest (there is no pressure put on campers to participate)

Most campers and staff have participated in the care of these chickens at some point during the summer. The experience of engaging with the intentional death of an animal for food raises a profound awareness or responsibility issues for individuals and the community. Ultimately, the feedback from campers and staff has proven that this experience enhances their discernment about their effect on the lives of animals, natural cycles, and the sacredness of life/death in general.  A compost pile, perhaps better than anything, illustrates how biological cycles require death in order to produce life. After we recognize death as a part of life, we can understand that animal slaughter epitomizes what occurs every day in the soil and in our bodies.

What is “Body Talk”?

While at camp, we avoid commenting on our ownviolins smaller or others’ appearance, be it negative, neutral, or positive – with exceptions for health and safety issues and healthy body awareness building. The “body talk” guidelines are part of F&W’s larger culture to raise awareness, not a hard-and-fast rule. Coming always from a foundation of kindness, we work to create a space where we minimize the bullying, social cruelty, and inflated importance of appearance that arises from how we usually comment on bodies. Instead, we strive to cultivate our integrity by encouraging appreciation of one’s character and choices. We also seek to help youth become more aware of media influence on body image. These “body talk” guidelines are not intended to be a retreat from the outside world but rather aimed at helping campers sort out external “noise” from their own inner wisdom.

What kind of activities do you do around Social Justice at Indian Brook?

DSC_0234croppedWe focus on innovative ways to bring social justice to our campers and most of our activities are based around some of the primary elements of identity with which all people explore; gender, sexuality, race, culture, ethnicity and background. We work to create a space in which every child feels welcome and honored and comfortable in the knowledge that things which make them feel otherwise will be addressed. This past summer we engaged campers in discussions about Black Lives Matter, brainstormed support for the incoming Syrian refugees in Rutland, VT, led protest song-writing workshops, painted positive graffiti all over camp and learned about the Bill of Rights, among other things. Any moment at Indian Brook can be a teachable one, whether it’s a chance to discuss the history of a particular song, challenge a camper’s assumptions about race, or learn about the many women and trans folk who have carried the torch of feminism before us.

Are you really expecting my camper to sit in silence for 15 minutes every day?

Most definitely! It is a time each day for the camDSC_0047p to gather for personal and community reflection. Also called Quaker Meeting or Meeting for Worship, everyone sits in silence (in speaking and in action) unless they are moved to address the community. Anyone can share their thoughts, either speaking, reading or in song, but is generally asked to share only once per day. After someone speaks, we allow for space (an envelope of silence—about a minute) before the next person speaks, so that the community can contemplate what was said. We appreciate what people share in silence, without clapping, cheering or otherwise applauding and refrain from discussions or negative comments during this time. While some view this time as a spiritual opportunity and might inwardly pray or meditate, other simply enjoy a chance to sit still and quiet.

What’s happening this summer, anything new?

Well, if I told you everything that will happen at camp, it may take out the surprises; however, we have developed our blacksmith program so more campers will be able to discover what it feels like to use a forge.  A special guest instructor will be bringing “log rolling” to our waterfront so campers can test their balance skills with the help of their friends cheering them on while the sun’s rays try to push them off into the water!

What is the foundation of the IB philosophy?

IB…full of Integrity, we provide an opportunity for campers to DSC_0440-Lthink critically about gender norms and find ways to be more inclusive of those who don’t fit into the gender binary. We often find ourselves asking campers and each other, “Why do you think that?” to facilitate conversations, question values, and practice living with integrity. Another example is how our community is discussing the history of the Indian Brook name and how it serves the current community. Advocacy and critical thinking skills were the main drive in requesting the F&W community look at the name.

Our philosophy: At IB, everyone is encouraged to develop appreciation of their strength, competence, and creativity. We provide a space where campers can explore the fullness of their identity, redefine failure, and build on success. During our time in the wilderness we strive to: learn new skills in the outdoors (fire building), work towards a goal (distance swimming), build structures that serve our community, encourage digital detox, promote healthy risk-taking, foster resiliency (trips), cultivate community (chores), support wellness, and encourage critical thinking that leads to action.

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Revisiting Our History With a Modern Lens

At Farm & Wilderness, we occasionally revisit our history with a modern lens to ensure that we honor ourFarmAndWilderness-196 roots, while remaining sensitive to current dynamics. In that light, F&W is reviewing potential cultural appropriation in the name of our Indian Brook camp, and we have started a conversation about a possible name change. We respect how words and policies may affect underrepresented communities. F&W founders Ken and Susan Webb wrote in their book, “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams,” that a Mohawk camper and staff, Wakio Rassenes, shared his tribe’s culture with Timberlake campers. The place where these skills and practices were shared was a location called Indian Village. “Because Indian Village was south of the camp near the brook which came down…to the lake, the brook became Indian Brook, and that’s how the girl’s camp got its name,” according to the Webb’s book published in 1989.

Knowing the history of IB’s name is helpful. In the summer of 2016, IB staff raised the issue and composed a letter to share with the Board of Trustees. Subsequent Facebook posts generated lively discussions on the topic.

The Board asked F&W’s Management Team to lead a process and discussion of a possible name change and evaluate the impact any outcome may have on current and future IB communities and alumni. At Indian Brook-Dark Meadow Reunion in September, Executive Director Rebecca Geary led a “threshing session” that attracted about 40 people invested in IB’s history and future. Similar discussions occurred at Harvest Weekend 2016, Ice Cutting and one is planned for Spring Planting 2017. Participants are asked to be open and to listen to various opinions, without trying to convince others. F&W wants to offer a safe space where candor can flourish.

Here are some perspectives raised during these heartfelt conversations: Let’s look carefully at reasons for a name change and how much this place goes beyond a name… What is the point of view of the Indian community? We should not look at this issue in a vacuum …Is “Indian” our word to use as a mostly white community? How does it look to someone new to F&W?

Similar conversations will be facilitated this Summer at the camp and at fair by Rebecca Geary and Megan Chamberlain, IB Director. After we gather and weigh the perspectives offered, the Management Team will make a recommendation to the Board at its October 2017 meeting.

F&W is listening and informing our community over the next year. To join the conversation, visit https://farmandwilderness.org/IBNameDiscussion or email [email protected]


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Summer Camp at an Organic Farm

Day camp and overnight camp at an organic farm is different from many summer camps. Our working organic farm is one aspect that makes Farm & Wilderness summer camp stand out.

Kneeling Tamarack Farmers pull carrots out of the soil, barely brushing off the dirt before tasting theFarmAndWilderness-171 sweet flavor. Day campers delightedly manage potato bugs in their organic garden with pails of sudsy water. And Indian Brook campers give their pigs a Spa Day—complete with a buttermilk massage.

The farm distinguishes F&W summer camps and extends into many activities, from spinning wool to churning milk in jam jars. In an age of digital connections, the farm gives kids a space to negotiate their social place face-to-face. Ordinarily distanced from physical work, campers find joy
in chores. Somehow, amid the sweat and hay-pricked arms, the work of hoisting bales into wagons helps young people connect with the land, the seasons and each other.

Embedded in their work are other lessons: the math of measuring and tallying the weekly harvests. The science of seeds, composting, and new sprouts. The responsibility learned by high school students mentoring young campers on BDC farm stand days, as they sell lettuce, green beans, and raspberries.

The farm provides the raw materials for many art projects and meals. Harvested flowers become yellow and orange hues in sun-soaked bottles, naturally dying the fiber, or garnishes on dinner plates. Campers see the origins of their food as they learn how to collect eggs, wash them in the Timberlake kitchen and crack them into bowls to create a homemade meal.

Many a camper discovers solace and companionship, curled up against
the rhythmic, steady breathing of a farm animal. The tinny music of milk squirted into metal pails is part of barn chores. So are the quiet moments of the farm, the daily rituals of filling buckets with water, coffee cans with sweet feed and listening to a choir of munching, content animals at dusk.






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We All Eat, We All Grow

Our relationship with food is a foundation of what we do at Farm & Wilderness and is directlyTimberlake Kitchen connected to the skills we learn and the values we practice. Campers learn self-reliance by growing their own food, packing and carrying their food on trips, and helping to prepare meals. We live our values when we support the diversity of diets amongst us – those we are born into and those we choose; all are part of a person’s identity and merit respect. This may take the form of awareness in a buffet line not to cross-contaminate neighboring foods, or in what we eat on wilderness trips because of one member’s allergy. Being intentional about values and skills creates a rich and healthy relationship with food that is supported by our organic farming program.

At Timberlake, we focus on project-based learning. Campers become motivated by choosing their projects and seeing it through to its completion. For example, in our Barns and Gardens program last summer, campers chose to make pizzas from ingredients grown at F&W. This included grinding TL-grown cornmeal for the base, and adding our tomatoes, vegetables and mozzarella cheese made from our cows’ milk. It was baked in a cob oven and enjoyed as a group.

PLAN1405-Sheet A2-11X17 copy copyWe may not all choose to specialize in the skills of food production, but we all eat! Our dining hall or “Upper Lodge” is where we eat, clean, sing and celebrate. Our kitchen is the heart of this space. Providing meals that are made from scratch three times a day requires a lot of hard work—as does cleaning up! At F&W we believe:

Work Is Love Made Visible
and we honor this by making time for each cabin to contribute. For some campers, this is not enough, and they will wake before 6 a.m. to come up and volunteer in the kitchen. We are excited that the renovation of the kitchen is a priority for the Thrive for 75 Capital Campaign. The new kitchen will also receive upgrades to serve the diversity and plurality of dietary needs. Everyone works, everyone counts, we all grow—we thrive together!

– Tulio Browning, Timberlake Director



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