Towering Pines Blog

Camp’s Life Lessons from Towering Pines Alumni


In an uncharacteristic display of maturity, TP alum actually did a nice job of modelling positive behaviors.

In an uncharacteristic display of maturity, TP alum actually did a nice job of modelling a textbook buddy check.

 “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like.

It’s a camp thing, I wouldn’t overthink it if I were you.

But honestly, from all their “camp is so great, I learned so much!” exclamations, you’d think the TP alumni insights would be a lot more, well, you know…

…deeper, more philosophical.  Profound camp wisdom stuff.

So, aside from the septic-related pearl of wisdom, what other important life lessons do campers learn by spending their summers at Towering Pines?  A lot, according to the 100+ alumni who visited Towering Pines and Woodland during the 70th Year Reunion the weekend of July 17-19, 2015.

Throughout the weekend, TP Men and Camp Woodland Women from the 1950s through the 2010s were asked about important life lessons they learned by attending summer camp in their childhood – just like YOUR sons did this past summer.

You’ll be reassured to know that your boys are receiving an important education that will benefit them as they grow into men.

The alumni responses were compelling and occasionally playful.  FYI, the “flush” advice showed up several times. Funny how old friends regress back to the same level of immaturity of their last meeting…

However, despite their rapscallion tendencies, several serious, powerful themes emerged from alumni replies, including Tolerance, Respect for Nature, Respect, and Leadership. 

Here are some of the answers given that weekend by TP alumni in response to the prompt, “The most important lesson I learned at camp was…”


  • “How to get along with and deal with a lot of different personalities. This is something I use every day in my personal and professional lives.”
  • “In a world where we’re always online, the camp experience becomes more meaningful as it forces you to connect with other campers, with the environment, and with yourself.”
  • “Extreme patience, and some tolerance.”
  • “Teamwork and how to live with other people.”
  • “Being independent, open, and friendly.”

Appreciation for Nature

  • “Appreciation for nature, and how to be myself.”
  • “Never take nature for granted.”
  • “To be myself, be kind to others, and honor the land.”


  • “Friendship, respect, sharing.”
  • “Treat others with respect, and in return, you’ll receive a life full of love and great memories.”


  • “I learned how to be a leader.”
  • “Independence.”
  • “Leadership abilities. You learn them, or you sink fast!”
  • “Dodging a problem doesn’t fix it.”


  • “True friends, a.k.a., camp friends, last a lifetime.”
  • “Never take yourself too seriously. If you try, no one else will.”
  • “Enjoy every moment in life.”
  • “Everybody plays, everybody wins.”

Your sons probably believed that you sent them to camp just to have a good time, and that’s okay.

As parents and educators though, we know that they were simultaneously learning important life lessons through positive role modelling, structured learning, and shared experiences.

But for now, we’ll let the lads think it was all about friends and fun. When the time is right, the seeds of maturity and wisdom planted at camp will help them blossom into good men.