Location: Smoke Farm
Theme: Adventure Builds
Partner(s): Wild Tree Woodworks

Tree House Remodel – Summer Camp

One week, thirteen teens, six professional carpenters, and an 8-sided treehouse, 30 feet up in the air: welcome to Sawhorse Revolution Summer Camp! Our team took on a challenge to be remembered with the renovation of our first-ever project.

We stripped the old platform to its bones, then added new deck framing, new decking, and an octagonal hipped roof. The project, two-thirds complete, will be finished next summer. Barron Peper and Patrick Brennan put together a gorgeous, mandala-like design that is intended to honor the tree, and give visitors the best possible view thanks to the creative geometric framing.

As for student learning, Summer Camp is our most immersive project. Youth worked for more than 50 hours with professional carpenters on a variety of projects in the shop and at height. Some of our youth began the week having never touched a power tool, and by week’s end were making compound miter cuts and welding steel brackets.

Camp highlights included builders from Wild Tree Woodworks teaching teens their canopy-based craft, the brain-breaking triumph of creating eight double-compound angled roofing panels and hoisting them almost 40’ above the forest floor, and, as one student put it, “dinner.”

Much to our joy, a former Sawhorse camper, Tony Palomo, cooked us a week’s worth of feasts, from burgers to tacos to the camp-classic grilled pizza night.

Summer Camp is at the heart of what we do. Community is forged through a group project, meals, hikes, pre-build “micro-stretching,” and stories around the camp fire. Students discover their strength by encountering new challenges and environments, and begin to see what is possible (like a crazy-beautiful tree house) with a little hard work, imagination, and skill.