Author: Kim Aycock

Adventure Awaits: Starshine, Tamarack and Driftwood

2018 was a summer where there were many ADVENTURES  to be had!  See what the campers from Starshine, Tamarack, and Driftwood had to say about their FAVORITE adventure:

Angie: going to see the fireworks

Annie: our cabin canoe trip

Maddie: going on a trail ride

Ivana: tennis, arts & crafts, and TP & Woodland Fairs

Eleanor: riding

Mariana: drama

Alice: the aqua tramp was so fun

Sydney: my favorite adventure was our canoe trip – it was my first one, and it was AWESOME!

Lilah: a canoe trip across the lake

Carlota: our canoe trip and campfires

Lou: our cabin canoe trip

Lizzy: the morning walk on our canoe trip

Paz: I loved the canoe trip

Kaitlyn: canoe trip (I’m sensing a theme here!)

Heidi: going on a trail ride was so relaxing

Caroline: definitely my first trail ride – my horse kept eating at the greenery!

Emily: I have always loved dancing and was scared of doing it.  I wanted an adventure at camp, so I DID IT!

Sydney H: taking care of myself (without my parents)

Delia: Going to the Climax Forest during “Alien Invasion”

Eleanora: Song Contest and Gold Rush

Libby: going to the Climax Forest

Caroline: our canoe trip

I’ve Heard of Being Homesick but Campsick?!

Dear JoAnne, 

Ever since my daughter returned home from camp, she refuses to wear anything that isn’t Woodland blue or tie-dyed and Crocs with a million Jibbitz.  All she talks about is the fun she had at camp, stories about her cabin mates, and how many days there are until camp next summer.  She claims that she hears a bell ringing periodically throughout the day.  She won’t stop singing camp songs or looking at the online photos on the Woodland website and Instagram.  She even makes her bed every morning and asks if she can “hop” during dinner.  She insists that I ask you for Dan’s lasagna recipe and is now putting ketchup on potato chips.  Help!  Can you please explain to me what is going on with my daughter?

 A Concerned Parent

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Dear Woodland Parent,

Thanks for your letter; I can assure you that what your daughter is experiencing right now sounds like a typical case of  “campsickness.”  Not to worry…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  I receive calls and emails from parents every year at this time wondering what is happening to their camper(s).  Trust me, campsickness is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that your daughter(s) had an AMAZING summer, and they are sad to leave their camp friends.  It is normal to miss the nonstop activity and fun that camp offers at every turn.  Coming home to an empty room can be a bit of a shock after the excitement of constant interaction with a community of girls.

I have every confidence that she will adjust to being at home again; it just takes a little time.  You can let her know that we will be corresponding with her (and you!) over the course of the winter via mail, email, and various social media.  There are all kinds of ways she can stay connected to our camp family, and before you know it, we will be headed to Woodland for another fantastic summer!

Woodland Love,

JoAnne

p.s. The theme for 2019 is: Your Time to Shine in ‘1-9!

 

There is No Such Thing as “I Can’t” at Camp Woodland!

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Now that the summer of 2018 is becoming a collection of well-cherished memories, I would like to help make the transition back into the “real world” a little easier if possible.  All throughout the camp season, counselors and campers remind each other of the mantra that “there are no I cant’s at Camp Woodland.”  While there are people and things from camp that cannot physically be taken home, there are numerous lessons learned in the “Adventures Await in 1-8” summer that will keep us going throughout the upcoming school year until we drive down County D again to begin the exciting summer of “Your Time to Shine in 1-9”.  Thank you, Sunnyside, for doing such a great job with the final inspiration hour and helping us remember the things we CAN do until we meet again!

1) The Health Center (can’t take this with you): Memories of the TLC you received there (what you CAN bring home!).

2) The Rec Hall: The fun of dressing up, trying a new character on for size, and a little (or a lot) of zaniness!  (and seeing that it is never too late to realize your dreams of being on stage — thank you, Jackie Jordan!)

3) The Cabins: The bonds of friendships and your summer “family” (families stay close to one another, even when they are apart – we will be in touch often throughout the upcoming months to keep you connected to the Woodland Family!)

4) The Campfire: Fun songs, skits, and challenges – please share them with others you know!  (“Mmhhmm, and come September, Mmhhmm, I will remember, Mmhhmm my camping days and friendships true.”)

5) The Lodge:  The feeling of belonging to a larger group/community in which you are a special part.  Each person cares about the well-being of the other members of the community (“Good job everybody, good job!”).

6) The Office: The letters you received from your “other family” and reminders of home.

7) Vesper/Inspiration Hill: The lessons we learned there about friendship, optimism, kindness and other timely themes.

8) Arts and Crafts Room: All of the cool projects you made and an appreciation for the ideas and creativity of others.

9) The Bell: The special feeling you had when you were selected to be Camper of the Day for the specific reasons shared by the “Happy Hostess”.

10) Tennis Courts, Riflery Range, Archery Targets, and Gymnastics Equipment: Individual accomplishments made, the ability to compete with yourself, and the determination to be better than you were the time before.

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11) Woodland Sunday’s: “Woodland wear” and cabin/camp spirit. (We’ve got spirit, yes we do, we’ve got spirit, how ’bout you?!  We all got spirit…!)

12) Sailboats: A love for being on the water and being part of a team.

13) Horses: The ability to overcome fears, accept challenges, and work towards self-improvement.

14) Farm Zoo Animals: A love for taking care of and respecting animals and the fun of getting dirty and learning about nature and the beauty it has to offer.

15) Dan and Lazara’s Cooking: Thoughts of warm blueberry muffins, lasagna, taco bar, Jumbalaya, and homemade cookies.

16) Counselors: Knowing that you have other people in the world (in addition to your parents!) who celebrate your achievements and understand your disappointments.

17) Cabin mates: Friends for life because of the common experiences you have shared with each other this summer.

18) Sun and Moon: Even though we have spread across the miles, we all see the same sun and moon.  Remember the goodnight song: “I see the moon, and the moon sees me.  The moon sees somebody I want to see.  So, God bless the moon and God bless me, and God bless the somebody I want to see.”

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19) Trees: The strength and stability they represent.

20) Sand Lake: We remember the lake as a place to escape the heat, a place to play with friends, and a place to reflect.  Water has a certain sense of calmness and serenity.  May you find a place at home that offers you this same feeling when you need your own personal quiet time.

21) Eagles: The power and beauty they exhibit as they soar across the sky.  We all have the ability to be leaders in a positive way and to share our inner beauty and talents with others.

22) “I Can’t”: It is only “I can. I will. And I’m going to do it right away.”

23) Camp Woodland, the place:  Camp Woodland, the memories.  Camp Woodland, the smiles.  Camp Woodland, the many dreams you began to live here.

Continue living your dreams, practicing your “I Can’s”, and always keep a special place in your heart for the summer of 2018.  See you next year!

Kim Wenzl Aycock, revised from Closing Vespers in 1995

Why Are Camp Friends So Special?

Posted by on August 3, 2018

With only a few days of camp to go, it is obvious that campers and counselors are very much aware that our time together is all too quickly coming to an end.  There is a closeness now that we didn’t feel just 6 short weeks ago. For many, camp is the one time of the year that brings friends back together and so every precious moment of this final week is cherished and imprinted in our minds.

There is something about camp friends that is different from friends from home. Although it is hard to pinpoint the exact difference, camp friendships tend to be more genuine and often last a lifetime.  I decided to see for myself and ask Woodland campers of all ages, “Why are camp friends so special?”  Some answers are similar, others are different, but all encompass the spirit of Woodland and the friendships that are formed in the “Northwoods.”

One of the younger campers I asked observed that camp friends are special because “It is never, ever, ever awkward…even if we are just hanging out and doing nothing. It is comfortable and natural.” Another shared that “you can be yourself.”  Camp friends become “sisters over 6 weeks – it seems like you have known them since birth” and “they don’t judge you.”

Several girls around 12 and 13 years old, mentioned that camp friends  “know everything about you” and “rely on you because you go through everything together.”  Another camper piped in with, “you can’t hide anything from friends you live with for 6 weeks.”  One camper commented that, “at school I can’t even talk to someone who isn’t in the same grade as me. At camp I have friends of all ages, including CIT’s and counselors. Everyone at camp is so easy to talk to.”  Friends at camp “accept you for who you are – you don’t need to be a certain way for them to accept you.”

The oldest campers described their camp friends as  “family because you get to be with them for 6 weeks.” At camp they said, “you learn so much more about one another” simply because “not having social media breaks down barriers and you bond over things you wouldn’t do at home.”  Camp friends “see a different side of you because of living together for an extended period of time and accept you for who you are.”

One of Woodland’s senior counselors attributed the special character of her camp friendships to being “a purified version of yourself and being connected to others who are also the best versions of themselves. There is nothing superficial – it makes you stronger as a person and the friendships are more reliable.” “Going through challenges together,” another staff member says, “helps you grow stronger.”  At camp we “bring together a lot of girls from different places and with different beliefs, yet we come together because we share the same value system of listening, caring, and respect.”

A longtime Woodland girl and counselor shared that “you grow up in a special place that only camp friends share and understand. There is a sisterhood because at camp we are at ‘home’.”  Camp can also be described as a “shared experience and space. We speak a universal ‘language’ with camp friends through activities and events that lead to common jokes and a common experience.”  “When you leave camp and come back,” another counselor shared, “nothing changes. It is like you just saw each other yesterday.  It is like being on ‘pause’ instead of having to ‘rewind’.”

Regardless of the age, camp is unconditional acceptance and true friendship sharing wonderful experiences from which you both grow as people. It’s a lifelong gift, and we are indescribably grateful for it!

Each campfire lights anew, the flame of friendship true.  The joy we’ve had in knowing you, will last our whole lives through.  See you next summer!

A big shout out to the camp in North Carolina to whom I owe this awesome blog inspiration!

A 6-week Woodland Camper from Head to Toe

Posted by on July 31, 2018

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!