Monthly Archives:July 2017

A 6-week Woodland Camper

Posted by on July 31, 2017

Now that campers are into their 6th and final week of camp for this year, we thought we would give you a glimpse of what kind of camper you can expect from head to toe upon their return home….

Six-week campers have a good foot to stand on, two feet in fact. Feet that have been stepping one foot in front of the other, as they have taken steps giving them newfound independence. Feet leading your camper down paths untravelled, to step onto new shores. Your camper’s feet might be a little dirty from all the tromping through trails, and they might be a little tired from all the running, skipping, and dancing that comes with camp discoveries. But through the summer, these feet have carried your camper to places they’ve never been, planted themselves firmly into the ground with newfound confidence, and they have left footprints marking their way as evidence of their adventure.

Your camper’s hands held onto backpack straps tightly at first, then began waving to old friends and new faces. Hands giving high fives with successes, reaching out to others when they needed extra support. Your Woodland camper has creative hands that make and mold and paint in unique and exceptional ways. Hands that grab onto reins or canoe paddles, hands that work together to reach new heights and open new doors.

Let’s not forget about your camper’s eyes. A Camp Woodland camper’s eyes sparkle with a sense of adventure. These eyes widened at the sight of the many possibilities that were on the horizon several weeks ago. Eyes seeking opportunities not obstacles. Eyes watching new friends grow, and eyes gleaming as they realize they’ve grown too! Eyes capturing the most intricate pictures and memories of all their endeavors. Eyes shining with excitement at each new day, and eyes barely able to keep open at the end of each exhilarating quest.

Finally, the most important part of a Camp Woodland camper is the heart!  A heart overflowing with joy as memories from camp experiences are held ever so close. A courageous heart, that bravely tackled the newness, and even as the heart races, it carries on, over new obstacles and into the hearts of the friends we make here at camp. A heart that beats to its own tune, not like the other hearts you might know. This heart outpours in the forms of laughter and song. This heart has room enough for friends to stay and adventures to continue on past six weeks. The heart of a Camp Woodland camper, the essence of their very core, came to camp to be inspired, and in turn, inspired the hearts of each person it met.

How lucky we have been, as you shared your Camp Woodland camper with us for 6 weeks! We are looking forward to seeing you for Applause Weekend and celebrating all we have accomplished this summer!!

Kudos to Ansley D, a GA camp friend, for this awesome blog inspiration!

 

 

Come Sail Away With Me at Camp Woodland

Posted by on July 28, 2017

This week we are heading down to the waterfront to take a look at sailing, one of Camp Woodland’s “anchor” programs.  Sailing is offered five periods every day, with 2 back-to-back hours of sail race for the more advanced girls.  Sailing is an experience where campers learn valuable problem solving and creative thinking techniques along with life skills for the future. We offer basic through advanced levels of sailing, focusing on the fundamentals while having a great time on the water.

Here are some of the most important things campers learn in the Camp Woodland sailing program:

  • Water Safety: Before we start sailing at camp, we teach important water safety tips like how to properly wear and secure a life jacket, what to do to maintain control of the sailboat, and how to remain calm when we encounter challenges on the water. Learning about various cloud formations and weather patterns is another added benefit to learning how to sail!

  • Rigging the Boat: Campers also learn about all the different wires, ropes and lines that support the rig and control the sails. We teach them how to get the boat ready to sail and how to control the boat while you’re sailing. Understanding how the sailboat works helps campers be more confident and makes sailing more fun.  The Woodland fleet consists of X-boats, Sunfish, Hobies, and windsurfers.  Over the course of the summer, campers have the opportunity to try their hand at sailing the various classes of boats.

  • Finding the Wind: Some sailboats have special instruments that help measure the wind speed and find the direction of the wind, but there are other ways to know where the wind is going and how strong it is. Campers learn to be creative when finding the wind by watching for waves and paying attention to which way the telltale (piece of string attached to the sail)  moves when a breeze comes. We call upon Zulu, Woodland’s very own wind god, to give us many good sailing days on Sand Lake!

  • Basic Boat Handling: Campers gain practice steering and maneuvering the boat when sailing.  This means learning how to turn, speed up, slow down the boat, and avoid obstacles in the water.  Having a sense of direction and spatial awareness through sailing experience will be beneficial down the road, especially when learning how to drive.  Woodland’s extremely competent sailing instructors take the helm at the beginning of the summer, and soon after, campers take command of their boat and crew.  What a great confidence booster!

  • De-rigging and Boat Care: It is just as important to know how to take down the rigging when you are done having fun on the water. Campers are taught to put all the rigging equipment and parts away properly, and to work as a team to make sure the boats stay clean and are well cared-for. We are all responsible for maintaining the boats so they are ready for the next group to enjoy them as well.  Wouldn’t it be nice if  kids kept their bedroom at home in shipshape order, too?!

References: blogs by L Johnson, a sailing camp director in Nashville, TN and 5 Reasons Kids Should Sail

 

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate!

Posted by on July 25, 2017

Woodland celebrates 48 summers and 5 & 10 year campers!

Now that we are into the final two weeks of the summer, we are  transitioning from “Accelerate to Celebrate” in the group development process.  The girls have been at camp for a month now, and they are seeing the results of their efforts and persistence in activities.  This is evident in the numerous announcements made by counselors at our daily evening assembly celebrating campers’ many achievements.

Woodland girls are passing levels in archery, riflery, and swimming, gaining proficiency on the kneeboard, wakeboard or skis during Rec Swim, trotting and/or cantering in riding, sailing off a mooring or canoeing solo,…you name it…campers are doing it and we are celebrating it!  We were dazzled by gymnastics, drama, and dance performances this past weekend as the middle two weeks of activities came to a close.

The theme for the 5th week of camp is “Sportsmanship” as we take a break from our regular routine for the Woodland Olympics.  The camp is divided into teams and charged with selecting a team name and colors.  There will be an entire day dedicated to individual and team events that give girls a chance to shine in ways that differ from our normal slate of activities.

The morning will be a variety of track, field, and waterfront races and relays according to age group.  Individual competitions are held for archery, riflery, sailing, riding and gymnastics.  Tug-of-war, soccer, and the ladder jump are popular team events.  Campers with artistic and creative talents are enlisted for designing a flag and skit that are presented at the Olympic campfire.  The best part of the Olympics is the endless cheering that occurs regardless if a camper is in the lead or trying her best and in last place in a particular event!

Camp is a BLAST during the last two weeks because of the effort poured into the weeks preceding it. Friendships are closer, confidence is stronger, and experiences are unforgettable. New abilities and perfected skills, honed over an extended period of time, become manifest. Campers can’t help but to stand a little taller!  We are looking forward to celebrating both individual and group success in the days to come.  There is still MORE SUMMER TO GO!

The Power of Camp Alumni

Posted by on July 21, 2017

 

I had the privilege of spending the entire morning on my first Monday at camp with one of our new campers who was battling an uneasy stomach (lucky for me, not so fortunate for her!).  In the course of our lengthy conversation while at the Health Center, I decided to ask her how she ended up at camp since this is her first summer at Woodland.  The story that unfolded in those next few minutes blew me away and has been on my mind ever since!

My new friend described an experience her Mother had while traveling on a business trip several years ago that is the reason she ended up at Camp Woodland THIS summer!  This camper’s Mom was in Mexico at a meeting a few years back and couldn’t help but notice a gentleman sitting around the conference table and how he was so well spoken.  He clearly made an impact on her in comparison to his counterparts at the same meeting.

The Mom was so impressed that she proceeded to ask the young man after the event where he learned to have such an ease and command of the English language.  His response was, “I became comfortable with English during my time at summer camp in the United States.”  After a series of questions, she found out that the camp he was referring to was Towering Pines in Northern Wisconsin AND that there was a sister camp, Camp Woodland for Girls.

Fast forward to a few months ago, and this same woman picked up the phone and called JoAnne to enroll her daughter for her first of hopefully many summers at Woodland!  AND, this camper actually asked me at some point after she was feeling better if it was possible to extend her stay of the 4 weeks she originally signed up for to the full 6-week term!

This story is a HUGE reminder of how we never know how something that may seem so trivial at the time may turn into something much grander than ever imagined or realized!  Towering Pines added a camper or two in recent years because someone noticed a camp sweatshirt that a current camper was wearing at a hockey game and asked about it.  Another family contacted JoAnne this winter to inquire about camp for their kids based on an interaction they had while on vacation with an alum who was also staying at the same resort.  This former camper/staff member didn’t even realize that she was mentioning camp constantly in conversation because of her love of sailing (an activity she learned that at camp!).

The power you have as camp alumni is far greater than you will ever know.  We are grateful for the times you slip camp into a conversation when talking with family/friends/colleagues/neighbors, wear or use something with the camp name or logo, like or share a picture or post on social media, visit camp during the summer season, host a camp show during the winter, or send your own children to Towering Pines and Woodland.  Camp was here for you then, is still here now, and our hope is that camp will be here for generations to come!

p.s.  If you are the alum or you know the alum who was at the business meeting in Mexico, please let us know!  A big THANK YOU is in order!

p.s. #2  We are looking forward to celebrating Woodland’s 50th summer in 2019 and would love to have you reconnect with us!

 

Accelerate During Middle 2 Weeks

Posted by on July 18, 2017

After establishing our rhythm in the early part of the summer, we can push a little harder on the gas pedal and see what adventures await us during weeks 3 and 4. Some campers have decided to challenge themselves with a new activity (or two) while others strive for greater mastery in favorite activities.  We see campers testing their balance and focus by giving log rolling a try at the waterfront while playing soccer with brooms gives a “twist” to an old favorite!

It is SO EXCITING to hear the many announcements of campers passing levels at evening assembly: staying up on skis in choppy water, making a mooring for the first time, learning to canter, mastering a skill in gymnastics, or earning a qualifier in archery. Campers start to EXPLODE with accomplishments during the middle 2 weeks of camp – it is fun to watch them BURST with confidence like never before!

Having been together for a while, cabin groups usually discover that not everyone agrees all of the time. We embrace this opportunity for the real work of camp to begin! A number of cabins are taking a canoe trip for a fun bonding experience and a change of routine this week. There is something about paddling to a destination, cooking over a fire, and sleeping in a tent that provides an opportunity for campers to connect in a way that is different from being at “home” in the cabin. We also offer two ropes course excursions at this point in the summer for the oldest campers so that they are able to further challenge their leadership skills and foster teamwork and trust as key elements for unity as a group.

Song Contest and Gold Rush are highlights of this 2-week period.  With the support of the counselors, groups come together and appreciate each other’s unique gifts and strengths while preparing for Song Contest. I am always amazed at what cabins can do when they put their heads together, change the words to a song, add in some creative dance moves, and practice for an all-camp performance. Behind the smiling faces during show time is the teamwork, negotiation, compromise, and problem-solving that went into accomplishing a common goal.  Hilltop girls had their act together on Saturday night and dazzled the judges with their performance to earn the coveted 1st place award for this event.

During Gold Rush, campers stay together as a cabin group and work to figure out the location of the Mother Lode.  Meanwhile, CIT’s dressed in red vests interrupt their progress by having the girls sing a Woodland song, do a fun challenge, spend time in “jail”, or be cooled off by a blast of water from their ever-ready squirt guns.  Campers find “fools gold” and turn it in to the assayers office for money to buy Red-Eye (bug juice) or clues.  Clues are general at first and then turn specific over the course of the afternoon so that cabins are able to hone in on the biggest prize of all.  The Treetops girls made sense of all the riddles and hints that led them to find the big gold rock under the beach house near the buddy board!