During our daily life at Tamarack Farm, there is a balance of free time and time where everyone works together.
Six days a week, we are all up by 6:30 a.m. for chores – feeding and milking the farm animals, watering the greenhouse, sweeping the buildings, and setting the breakfast tables. After breakfast (7:30 a.m.), we have Silent Meeting (patterned after Quaker Meeting for Worship), followed by general announcements. Then it’s off to work for the rest of the morning. Work is the backbone of Tamarack Farm. We create and maintain the buildings we use, grow as much of our food as possible, develop our physical strength and skill, and learn to live in harmony with each other and the land. Campers sign up and work on a project for a week at a time: building a chicken coop, harvesting vegetables, turning compost, repairing a roof, cooking for 100, clearing a trail, hauling firewood for the sugar house, making shelves in the Farmhouse, and more.
In the afternoon, activities are offered such as art, theater, rock climbing, swimming, photography and more. On some afternoons, everyone participates in one of the planned activities. On other afternoons, campers may choose how to use their time: attend an activity or teach a skill they have to share, read in their bunks or write letters under the Maple tree, get a game going or help plan a special event. Campers may sign up for apprenticeships, which are a chance for more in-depth learning in a specific activity such as ceramics, herbalism, meeting facilitation or lifeguarding. In the late afternoons, people tend to play music on the porch, run around the lake, throw a Frisbee, swim to Bear Pit (a landmark on the lake), or simply relax with friends.
One important part of living together is eating together. At meals, we check in with each other and find out what is happening in the whole camp, not to mention eat the fresh food that campers help grow and prepare. The camper bread crew makes fresh bread of some kind every day! The end of each work project day finds campers bringing in baskets full of fresh vegetables from the garden.
Each evening, an activity is planned for the whole camp. We may be gathered around the stage in the Dance Barn for a show of everyone’s talents (from the sublime to the ridiculous), or settled in the living room couches sharing experiences and thoughts on racism, or racing around on the soccer field in a game of Capture the Flag, or being together as women or men in the Young Women’s/Men’s Circles.
Once a week, Tamarack Farm comes together for Town Meeting. Campers train to facilitate these often challenging meetings. Anyone may put an item for discussion on the agenda — anything from ideas for a new special event to concerns about work crew dynamics or wake up bells. Sometimes the group makes decisions; decisions are always made by the process of consensus.
And then there are volleyball games, costume parties, art shows, bonfires on the lawn, Farm Party (the harvest celebration), music-making, Twins Day, and general frolicking and mischief.
As we recognize that young people of this age are capable of handling a great deal of responsibility, Tamarack Farmers are offered the chance to take charge of any activity at camp, from chores to work projects to afternoon or evening programs.