Overnight Camp and College Preparedness

As high school seniors are making their final college decisions, we’re reminded of how grateful we are for camp; there’s just nothing like camp in preparing kids for college! After all, embarking on a new adventure by yourself, without the comfort of familiar faces, is something you will have already experienced, survived, and become good at once you’ve been to camp! You’ll be great wherever you go!

College is all about new experiences and breaking out of your comfort zone. We do this every day at camp: on the zip line, on the tennis courts, in the kitchen, in our bunks.

Sharing a room with a roommate in college? No problem! We know all about building a community! Our campers have shared a bunk with many more! Living in a bunk with others strengthens social and communication skills and teaches campers effective strategies for conflict resolution with people who are both similar to and different from themselves!

Both camp and college require adaptability. Sure, the schedule is a little different than you’re used to. The food is a little different than you’re used to. The people are a little different than the ones at home. But that’s what makes it an adventure!

For many, college is a first real taste of independence. Not for you, campers! During the summer, you’ve solved problems that arise without your parents. You’ve formed meaningful bonds with peers and mentors. You’ve pursued interests on your own, straying from the beaten path.

In short, you’re ahead of the curve! So, TOP campers, rest assured. This whole college thing is going to be a BREEZE! We wish we could take credit for those A’s in Advanced Calculus, but we’ll settle for the rest!

Good luck and best from camp! 

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Teamwork at Camp

One of the best and most important lessons of camp is learning how to be a part of a team. Whether tackling a ropes course or a new recipe, participating in color war, cleaning a stable, or simply hanging out in the bunk, team environments are all around us and become a major way in which we interact at camp. When you think about it, your bunkmates are your teammates, too. Each person in the bunk brings something unique to the group, whether a funny personality, amazing guitar skills, or a cool magic trick. Your bunk is only as great as each person, and each person is valued for making up your bunk!

When we embrace this team mindset at camp, we learn to respect one another and ourselves. The teamwork skills we gain at camp end up translating to other areas of our lives outside of Greeley.

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Happy Pi Day!

We celebrated Pi Day the only way we knew how to in the TOP Camps office yesterday – with s’mores pie! This recipe will be a crowd-pleaser for any occasion.

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Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
1 stick softened butter
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
7oz container of marshmallow creme
8 whole (1.55oz bars) Hershey’s chocolate bars, unwrapped
1 cup marshmallows
¼ cup chocolate chips

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9” pie pan with baking spray.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until combined, then add egg and vanilla and stir them in. Stir in flour, graham cracker crumbs and baking powder.

Divide the dough in half. Press half the dough in the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie pan. Evenly spread the marshmallow creme over the bottom crust. Separate chocolate squares and place on top of the marshmallow creme. Place 1 cup of marshmallows on top.

Using the remaining crust, pat sections of dough on top of and around all the marshmallows (they will still show through and that is great!). Sprinkle with ¼ cup chocolate chips, then bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Warning: that toasted marshmallow color may induce nostalgia!

Remove pan from oven and set it on a wire rack. Let it cool completely before cutting.

Source: Tasty Kitchen

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Camp and Character

“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”  –Martin Luther King, Jr.

We can give our children many things, send them to excellent schools, take them on trips around the world, buy them books to read. But, as parents, we cannot give them character. Independence, grit, empathy, self-control, optimism, enthusiasm – these are qualities that children have to discover or develop on their own. And that,  is the true gift of camp. It provides a safe environment to find adventure, friendship and ultimately to find oneself, to find  one’s true character.

And that can make all the difference in the world.

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Trail Rides and Cookie Bake at Top Ranch Riding Camp

Our Top Ranch campers have enjoyed 5 days of sun and fun at the ranch.  Today, the campers enjoyed a trail ride through the beautiful woods of Greeley.   Grooming and feeding the horses are some of the activities our campers are learning during their time in the barn.

Back at camp, our Top Ranch riders have been participating in many activities.  Canoeing, creek stomping, outdoor recreation, gymnastics and arts and crafts have topped their lists.

Yesterday, we went on a trip to the movies for visiting day and then Timberween for an evening program.  What is better than trick or treating in July!

Tonight is Lip Sync and the girls have been working hard at creating an amazing dance/song routine.  Tomorrow night is cookie bake and a movie.  Yum – hot chocolate chip cookies!

We don’t want it to end, Mom and Dad!

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Sun and Fun for TOP Ranch Riding Camp

What a beautiful day today at TOP Ranch Riding Camp!  We welcomed a new camper today in Bunk Banyan.  Both campers and counselors are getting into the swing of camp, enjoying both camp activities and the ranch.

Last night during evening program, the girls participated in Adventure Challenge.  Balance, coordination and team building was helpful as they moved through the adventure course with their bunks.

Tonight, we will all go the ranch for a campfire.  We will enjoy s’mores and more bonding!  What a wonderful group of girls!

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A Beautiful Day at the Ranch!

We’re having a great second day at TOP Ranch Riding Camp!  Last night we enjoyed the Timber Tops Staff Show.  The counselors performed skits and songs to show us how exciting all of the choice activities are at camp!

Today was a beautiful day at the ranch.  We got to take care of the horses, ride in the ring, and saw horses being fitted for horse shoes.  Both riders and horses got to enjoy the sun!

Tonight we’re doing the ADVENTURE CHALLENGE for evening program!  We’re excited to climb the cargo net, do trust activities, and get to know each other and our counselors.  We love our counselors already!

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TOP Ranch Riding Camp: We’re Here!

WE’RE HERE!

The first day of TOP Ranch Riding Camp Session I is HERE!  We arrived today and unpacked our bags in bunk Banyan.  We set off for the Ranch to get our evaluations and met so many beautiful horses — some of them we recognized from past years, others were new horses.  We are so excited for the next few days of camp and can’t wait to have our first breakfast together tomorrow.  We’re off to the Camp Timber Tops staff show!

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Chess and Life

Chess is like life in that it always gives you another chance. If you lose a chess game, you can always play another. If you miss an opportunity or do something wrong in life, you are usually given another chance; however, those who succeed are generally able to take advantage of their opportunities or chances. One of my favorite expressions is “nothing comes from nothing”. If you want results in chess, school, with friends, or in whatever it is you are interested in, you must work at it constantly – over and over again. For some people, doing things over and over again can get boring quickly, so it’s important to practice in an environment you enjoy. If that means total quiet, arrange it. If it means having music on, then do so. If it means having the TV on in the background, so be it. Every individual has his or her own comfort level. At TOP Chess Camp, we are able to practice chess in a beautiful, rustic environment that a lot of players enjoy. As for my own preference, I like to have a baseball game on. Baseball is the perfect companion to chess for me because it is slow, long and thoughtful. Slow enough that I can take short stints from chess to watch the baseball action, but still be focused on chess. In what type of environment do you like to practice?

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Meet Devan, Head of TOP Ranch!

Devan

Hello there!

My name is Devan Blazey and I am very excited to be returning to TOP Ranch Riding Camp this summer! I am from Rochester, NY and started riding when I was 9-years-old. A group of my neighborhood friends invited me to participate in a camp program, and my life-long love of horses began that summer. Since then, the majority of my experience has been in Hunters and Jumpers (English), though I have worked for programs in various disciplines. I graduated from Binghamton University in December 2014, where I majored in Environmental Studies. Over the past few years I have ridden, worked, and volunteered at show stables, therapeutic riding programs, and an adoption center for off-track thoroughbreds. I love teaching and sharing the many wonderful benefits of horseback riding with students. My goal is to create a fun, safe experience where campers can gain confidence and improve their skills both on and off the horse.

I am looking forward to another wonderful summer at TOP Ranch!

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