With camp life pleasantly interwoven into the rural lifestyle at the farm, campers are treated to a relaxed family atmosphere where the emphasis is placed upon a variety of wholesome, noncompetitive experiences. Unlike other camps, at Road’s End Farm all of the counselors join the campers as knowledgeable companions in each of the camp activities. This camaraderie combined with the camp’s limited enrollment results in a mostly unregimented environment in which the campers enjoy considerable freedom of choice. To ensure a healthy balance between structured activities and worthwhile pursuits of an individual nature, leisure time is aptly interspersed among the horsemanship, waterfront, and farm aspects of the camp program.
Every morning, except on Sundays, the campers spend an hour and a half on the horses learning about English pleasure riding or actually experiencing it in small groups on the bridlepaths. The riding ability of each camper is carefully considered in the assignment of horses and riding groups so that all campers can derive the utmost enjoyment and progress from their time in the saddle. As horsemanship extends well beyond riding, the campers are also responsible for the complete care of their mounts as well as the tacking and untacking of them. To aid the learning process, campers have full access to the horses which are stabled a stone’s throw from their living quarters. Besides being a dream come true for many a camper, this broad exposure to horses enables rank beginners to become respectable equestriennes in a relatively short period of time.
After a hearty noon meal and a quiet rest period, activities at the lake are pursued by all. The waterfront program is oriented toward helping campers become safe swimmers and confident in the water. Campers needing to improve their swimming skills do so with lessons from Red Cross qualified instructors. Under the watchful eyes of the lifeguard, competent swimmers are given considerable latitude at the beach, including the use of the deep water rafts.
Canoeing is also popular, and when campers have learned to be safety-minded paddlers, they are welcome to use the camp’s canoes to explore along the lake’s shoreline or travel to its island. Of course, the firsthand experience acquired at the lake helps to prepare the campers for their daylong canoe trips on the Connecticut River which are considered to be special outings in the minds of many.
All farms have chores, and at Road’s End Farm the campers are expected to lend a hand according to their age and ability. Together the staff and the campers carry out many of the day-to-day tasks of operating the farm, and for their efforts they earn a say in determining the nature of their camp experience. Although their farm responsibilities are but one facet of a varied camp program, the campers view them and the resulting sense of accomplishment as a most valued part of their stay at the Farm.
Activities after supper are mostly a matter of campers’ choice, and may include any of a number of favorite pastimes from a boisterous capture-the-flag game to a peaceful walk with friends to watch the sun set over Vermont’s Green Mountains. The time between nightfall and lights out is usually spent bedding down the horses and then sitting back sharing stories, playing games, or perhaps singing a few songs. Three evenings each camp session are set aside for the girls to create scrumptious sundaes, to enjoy a movie in the hayloft, and to bask in the warmth of a roaring bonfire. Many a starry night will find small groups of campers sleeping out hither and yon across the Farm’s expansive lawns.
Meals and Bedtimes
As camp activities require the energy that comes from proper nourishment and rest, mealtimes and bedtimes are important aspects of any camp program. At Road’s End Farm meals are prepared and served homestyle at 8:00, 1:00, and 6:00, except on Sundays when sleeping late delays breakfast an hour and dinner half an hour. The camp’s menu is tailored to suit the campers’ preferences without sacrificing their nutritional well-being. Naturally, fresh produce handpicked from the Farm’s garden enhances the healthy fare enjoyed by all, especially the vegetarians. Every evening around 8:15 the campers partake of snacks to tide them over until morning. Bedtimes range from 8:45 to 10:30 depending on age and are subject to change if the 7:00 wake-up is unduly sluggish.
In an overview, the camp program has three primary goals. The first is to make sure campers feel at home and happy at Road’s End Farm. The second is to teach recreational skills and work habits that will serve campers well in terms of lifelong enjoyment and personal achievement. Lastly and most importantly, the program is designed to foster maturity, inspire self-confidence, and instill a spirit of cooperation in each and every camper. Since the camp’s beginning, these sensible goals have remained constant to the benefit of the campers and to the satisfaction of their parents.