Camp Woodland Blog

Happy Thanksgiving from Starshine!

As families gather for the holiday season, our camp family will be coming together in Chicago for the annual camp reunion.  We are truly grateful for the campers, parents, staff, and alums who are part of the Woodland community!

Find out a little more about Starshine through their “best moments”:

What was the highlight of your summer?

Katie: There’s a lot, but I really enjoyed the Red, White, and BOOM campfire!  It was so much fun to see and perform skits and songs.  I also loved seeing my brother; that was important to me.

Ellie: Sailing for the first time was so cool, and I’m glad I tried it.

Lucy: I was able to stay 6 weeks!

Aubrie: Winning Lip Sync was really amazing – we did “Survivor”!

Katherine: Landing a good dive.

Annie: Sailing with Paige and doing fun activities with my cabin.

Katie (CIT): Getting to spend time with my cabin during our last year as campers.

What are some ways you were able to enjoy just being a kind and getting to play at camp?

Katie: I could dance, sing, laugh, cry, and be me without ever being judged.  It’s hard to find places like that in this world, so I treasure that.

Ellie: There was no stress of school or home; I felt left off a leash.

Lucy: You aren’t put under a lot of pressure.

Aubrie: By just being able to be myself.

Katherine: At camp I don’t care what anyone thinks about me; I just have FUN.

Annie: Singing songs and dressing up.

Katie (CIT): Getting to compete in canoeing relay races.

What is an achievement for which you are most proud?

Katie: I was really proud of myself when I made my first mooring in sailing and when I sailed by myself (still others in the boat).  That made me feel strong and independent.

Ellie: Passing 2 levels in riflery.

Lucy: I passed multiple levels in each of my activities.

Aubrie: I passed into level 5 in swimming.

Katherine: Passing to level 5 in swimming.

Annie: Getting really close to my aeriel in gymnastics class.

Katie (CIT): Passing my Blue Archer after not getting qualifiers for most of the summer.

What did you learn about yourself?

Katie: That I definitely have unique ways of thinking about things, but also that I shouldn’t worry one bit about those who judge of those beliefs.

Ellie: Sometimes the best thing to do is just sit back and chill with my camp friends.

Lucy: I love meeting new people.

Aubrie: That I am super energetic.

Katherine: Having fun is more important than winning.

Annie: I love to play in the lake.

Katie (CIT): I can be very competitive and get very excited about things with my cabin when I am being the example and role model.

Translating Working at Camp to the Real World – Part 1

We have started a new format for connecting with staff this year and are holding monthly meetings via Zoom as a way to see each other (think mini-reunion!) and discuss pertinent topics of interest relating to camp.  Recently we asked 4 alums to join us and share their insight on how working as a counselor at Woodland or Towering Pines has benefited their career (and life!) success.  Let me just say that we were BLOWN AWAY by what our panelists shared – each person had very specific skills and experiences learned at camp that transferred to the ‘real world’, be it in the workplace or at home and raising a family.

Let me introduce you to Becky Coady Langton (on right in above photo), a former camper/staff member and now camp parent, who was one of two Camp Woodland representatives on the panel.  Becky was a camper for one year as a CIT in 1988 and worked several summers as a cabin counselor teaching gymnastics and anything that involved “jumping around.”  She is an exercise physiologist and currently works as an instructor in the Health and Fitness Science Division of Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina. Becky’s two kids, Sydney and Sam, attended camp for the first time this past summer!

Becky recalls gaining confidence and the ability to publicly speak as skill sets that were most developed during her time as a staff member.  She feels that this pushed her ahead of her peers, many of whom today have an intense fear of speaking in front of others.  Becky finds that having the ability to work with diverse experience and talent levels and massaging that atmosphere in way so that everyone is having fun (even if all you have is a paper bag!) were some of the biggest takeaways from her camp experience.  Camp certainly is the stage for learning how to make the best of every situation!

Becky teaches about the positive effects of exercise and a healthy lifestyle on longevity and chronic disease prevention.  One of the things that speaks to Becky the most about her experience at camp is being active and always doing something.  In the health world, physical activity rounds out and provides balance along with the emotional, social, environmental, intellectual, spiritual, financial and occupational dimensions of the wellness model.  Becky allows how all of these areas melded together describe the camp experience on steroids!  She attributes being at camp on her own without her tribe and THRIVING was a catalyst for her to seek out a career in health science and promotion.  So cool!

When talking about different aspects of applying for a job, Becky reminded us how important the first phone call can be because this is when the applicant has the opportunity to engage in a conversation with a potential employer and share about themselves.  According to Becky, the candidates who do this best find their voice, find their WHY and know in their gut what they want to do and are connected to it.  Being able to then verbalize who they are in a way so that the person conducting the interview can FEEL the energy and passion is what helps a person stand out from the masses of job candidates.  Becky believes the “amazingness” within each person that fuels this energy and passion grows at camp.  Being leaders of crazy and fun and being children ourselves as camp counselors fosters that amazingness!  So true!

Becky also pointed out how being able to communicate well verbally, utilize active listening and motivational interviewing, and understand nuances such as making eye contact and offering a firm handshake count as social collateral in a world where people are lacking in these areas.  This is another chance for job applicants with work experience at camp to shine because face-to-face interactions and being unplugged are the norm and not the exception.  Working at camp nourishes the exact skills that make for a strong candidate in just about any career field!

Next up – meet Rachel Davidson in Part 2 of how working at camp translates to the real world!

Happy Halloween from Tamarack!

Here is a little more about Tamarack:

What was the highlight of your summer?

Valentina: being with all of my friends and having lots of fun!!!

Lauren: spending time with my cabinmates and meeting new friends

Tory: getting to see all of my friends and doing all of the fun activities at camp

Ximena: being together as a group with my cabin because last summer we were in two separate cabins

Maitane: having so much fun and making new friends

Lilli: capsizing a mini-fish twice with Lauren while TP was visiting

Libby: trying a bunch of new activities this summer

Rachel: group cantering and passing my levels

What are some ways you were able to enjoy just being a kid and getting to play at camp?

Valentina: I liked that I could pass levels and I was able to play with all of my friends.

Lauren: doing my activities and being able to pick them

Tory: by trying new activities and having fun

Ximena: trying new things, being with my friends, doing games and activities

Maitane: that I am now more independent because my parents are not here

Lilli: I didn’t focus on passing levels, I just tried to have fun

Libby: having fun, living with my best friends, and going full out during camp activities and not caring what other people think

Rachel: getting to water-ski every day

What is an achievement for which you are most proud?

Valentina: shooting at 30 yards in archery passing to the next level on the 3rd day

Lauren: passing Black Yoeman in archery

Tory: passing my levels because it is a fun accomplishment

Ximena: doing all of the stuff for my levels

Maitane: being good at so many activities

Lilli: being selected for the riflery exchange with TP even if we didn’t win

Libby: remembering an entire dance routine for 2 sessions and passing two levels in tennis

Rachel: sitting on skis

What did you learn most about yourself?

Valentina: that if I have a goal, I try my best to accomplish it

Lauren: I’m not very good at sailing

Tory: camp helped me learn that I can do a lot more and still have fun

Ximena: I am really competitive, and if I want something, I will do everything possible to achieve it

Maitane: I can have a new experience without my parents

Lilli: to experience life in the moment and spend time with friends

Libby: I’m not afraid to try new things or look like a fool

Rachel: I am a very independent person

Happy Back to School from Sunnyside!

I think it is safe to say that by now everyone is “back to school”!  As much as we would like to stretch out summer as much as possible, somehow those lazy days quickly turn to carpools, backpacks, homework, extracurricular activities, and counting the days until camp begins once again!

Throughout the upcoming year, each month will have a blog that is “sponsored” by a different Woodland cabin from the Summer of 2017.  Each camper wrote her “best moments at camp”…here is a little more about Sunnyside!

What was the highlight of your summer?

Lauren: trotting on a horse again, passing my riflery level, Gold Rush, Lip Sync and Song Contest

Emily: meeting new people, learning how to shoot a gun in riflery, getting a bull’s eye in archery

Abbi: seeing and riding the horses

Molly: being with my cabin, making a million new inside jokes (pinecone, socadilly, oh-ma-goi, doggo, folding underwear…and many more!), passing levels, trying new activities and special events

Tori: passing level 4 in swimming, Olympics, seeing my friends, 1st place tie for Clown Contest, and passing lots of levels

Monica: getting into level 5 in swimming and getting to go in the deep end

Isa: getting to know everyone else better and making new friends

Viv: seeing friends again and meeting new friends

Jenna (CIT): being a Live-In CIT and Coed Show

What are some ways you were able to enjoy being a kid and getting to play at camp?

Lauren: Lip Sync and Song Contest

Emily: Lip Sync and Song Contest

Abbi: the fireworks for 4th of July and being “Camper of the Day”

Molly: just being in a casual environment and not worrying about what everyone thinks about me

Tori: swimming every day, not worrying about grades, being able to see my friends every day and doing activities every day

Monica: playing tennis and not thinking about passing levels or ladder or World Cup, the playak area and much more

Isa: enjoying my friends every single moment

Viv: just having fun and trying new things

Jenna (CIT): Olympics and playing “Queen of the Court” in tennis

What is an achievement for which you are most proud?

Lauren: passing levels in riflery

Emily: getting 2 bull’s eyes

Abbi: getting a qualifier in archery

Molly: getting to sitting in riflery (something I have been looking forward to for 3 summers!); I tried really hard, and I got it!

Tori: trying new things even when I failed; I kept going like doing the long shallow dive and wake-boarding

Monica: passing level 4 in swimming

Isa: passing out of swimming lessons

Viv: trying trick-skiing and knee-boarding for the first time ever

Jenna (CIT): passing my bar 9 in riflery and jumping in riding

What was something you learned about yourself this summer?

Lauren: my confidence

Emily: confidence to try new things

Abbi: that I am good at archery

Molly: Being more confident (not just this summer but at camp in general!).  I feel like I used to always be shy, quiet, and easily embarrassed.  At camp I learned to be comfortable around others.

Tori: I am able to do anything like diving off the Aqua Tramp, wake-boarding, and passing lots of levels

Monica: if you try your best, you always succeed

Isa: I don’t need someone to have fun, I just need someone to have fun with me

Viv: I don’t give up easily

Jenna (CIT): I am a hard worker, and I don’t give up


Create Your Own Scene: Hilltop & Sunrius

2017 was a summer where we CREATED OUR OWN SCENE! See what the campers from Hilltop & Sunrius had to say:


Valeria: giving my best effort in all the activities I did

Natalia: by being myself, having fun, and looking at everything in a positive way

Izzi: I learned a lot of skills and found what I love

Irene: I didn’t follow what people did, instead I found a new way to do it

Adri: by trying my best in all of my activities and making the most out of my summer

Veronica: looking at everything in a positive way

Sofi (CIT): I did a big achievement and a lot of people were proud of me


Molly A: trying a lot of different activities; I tried canoeing and sailing.  I also made the most of my activities – I always skied during rec swim or shot as much as I could during archery.

Parker: I tried new things! I tried a group canter in riding and assisting swim lessons.

Vale: I didn’t change who I am to fit in

Cayley: I tried new things and stepped out of my comfort zone

Molly J: I branched out of my comfort zone and tried new activities; I also made new friends and became closer with some girls I wouldn’t have expected.

Kelly: I stepped out of my comfort zone during my activities (riding, tennis, riflery, etc.)

Jae: I tried something new, made new friends and hung out with new people

Josune: I made new friends and did everything I proposed to do and learned new things every day

Barbie: being different from the rest of the people, by letting others know me deeply and telling them that everything you want, you’ll get it if you work, work, enjoy, enjoy.  Everything is possible!

Sam: I stepped up to another role with more responsibility and the transition wasn’t bad, the hardest was knowing how much campers look up to us

Sofi: making friends

Paula: by taking new activities, like riding

Amelia: I tried a lot of new things, and I worked hard in all my activities

Estefi: always trying new things