Just after sunrise in the valley, there’s already movement in the cabins. Campers and counselors come awake and dress for morning chores in the cool summer morning. There are cheers, songs and some grumbles as the day begins with the chores that will help sustain this community of men and boys and will encourage each individual to see beyond his own needs and work towards fulfilling the larger needs of the group. Cabin groups move through the camp, working together to stack firewood, tend to the animals on the farm, wash a stack of pots, maintain the trails, and set the tables for breakfast.
After a hearty morning meal – after the dishes are cleared and voices are joined in song and the community sits together in the silence of Quaker Meeting – the active day truly begins. Boys spread throughout the camp, immersed in a dynamic wilderness classroom. The morning at Timberlake is structured into six distinct areas: Waterfront, Outdoor Living Skills, Barns & Gardens, Boating, Arts, and Work Projects. In these areas, boys learn a diverse set of skills as well as learning about themselves. They are forming relationships that will last a lifetime and are sharing experiences that will both challenge and empower them as they grow into young men. They will hike across a local ridge, ascend the crags of a stone chimney, swing from a rope swing into the clear waters of the TL Cove, gather eggs up at the farm, harvest carrots for a dinner salad, carve a wooden spoon from the limbs of a fallen tree, or frame out a new storage shed for the kitchen. Logs might be cut and hauled to the site of a fire to celebrate the week. After patient practice, a boy builds his first wet weather fire. Campers of every age will be called on for their contributions and leadership and, through work and play, will find the self-esteem and confidence needed for both.
After lunch and an hour of rest, the counselors offer a diverse range of activities for campers to choose: A high-spirited game of soccer down on the field, a short hike to Peggy’s Pond, an adventure to explore the local caves, help to finish up the new cabin, complete a long distance swim or continue working on a long term project or skill set. There are days when the woods are filled with boisterous laughter as the whole community plays one of the many All Camp Games such as Stage Coach, 40 Thieves, or Bears. There are also numerous opportunities for wilderness adventures all across New England and beyond, including backpacking, climbing, canoeing and community service. Each trip is unique, but on each one, the boys will develop and use the skills that they have learned, giving them the increased confidence and ability to help others.
The evenings are varied and might include a campfire and cookout, storytelling, activities with one of the other F&W camps, discussion and debate. On Saturday night’s Council Fire, the community comes together to sing, dance, laugh and celebrate the week’s accomplishments.