Author: Kim Aycock

Happy Sweetest Day from Starshine!

For the month of October, we are celebrating “Sweetest Day” (the 3rd Saturday of the month) and highlighting our youngest cabin for 2018, Starshine. Sweetest Day has an interesting origin tied to the Midwest that goes back to the 1920’s and is not celebrated in every state. While there is disagreement on the true story of the beginnings of this holiday, there is consensus that the sentiment remembers those less fortunate through distribution of candy by a group of people who were trying to make a difference. Sweetest Day might be described as a tamer version of Valentine’s Day. One blog writer mentions that the October version focuses on the “actual thoughts behind the actions” that we normally associate with the popular February holiday.

In learning more about the history of Sweetest Day, I really like the ties to camp that it promotes. At Woodland, being kind to others is part of our culture and an important thread that is woven in the fabric of our community. It is who we are and what we do. I can’t think of a better cabin to “sponsor” the blog this month than the sweetest group of girls found in Starshine. Being the youngest campers and ranging from 7-9 years of age, they captured the hearts of us all. The giggles that flowed freely from this group was nothing short of contagious.   When laughter erupted, the whole cabin and sometimes the entire camp followed suit!

It must be magical to experience so many things for the very first time as did the campers from Starshine this summer. At every turn there was a song, a game, an event, an activity or skill, a food choice, a camp tradition or a budding friendship that was a path untraveled. I love watching the oldest campers nurture the impressionable beings of those who look at everything with fresh eyes gleaming with wonder and awe. The sisterhood of our camp family invites veteran Woodland girls to assist youngsters whose size is most certainly dwarfed by a horse and often by the bow used to take aim at an archery target. Being a role model for the younger campers is an honor that is not taken lightly – it is a continuation of the caring cycle of those campers and counselors who came before.

I would be amiss not to mention that another tie to camp is that Sweetest Day is often marked by a gift of candy. I can say with conviction that this year’s Starshine girls LOVED their candy!   This was verified every afternoon during Canteen at Rec Swim and Sunday movie nights.   Just ask the CIT’s if you need proof of this claim (or check out the photo below showing popsicles as a “sweet” treat)!

We invite you to read on and discover the “sweetest” or best moments from the 2018 Starshine campers.

What is one thing you know now that you didn’t know at the beginning of the summer?

Angie: How to shoot an arrow

Annie: How to survival float

Maddie: Archery

Ivana: My English is better, and I learned how to be away from my parents for 6 weeks

Eleanor: Front crawl

Mariana: Swimming, riding, and speaking English

Alice: Don’t pack off the packing list

Describe a change you made in yourself this summer:

Angie: I became more independent

Annie: I have better hygiene

Maddie: I am better at riding

Ivana: When someone tried to speak in French, I was able to answer in English

Eleanor: I became less scared of trotting

Mariana: I know more English and am more responsible

Alice: I used to get snacks between meals and now I don’t

What are ways you were kind to the campers in your cabin or in general:

 Angie: I comforted them when they were sad

Annie: I helped out

Maddie: I tried to be nice

Ivana: By making them laugh

Eleanor: Helping them

Mariana: I tried to be more tolerant

Alice: By helping them and telling them what to do if they needed help


How did others show kindness to you?

Angie: They hung out with me and comforted me when I was sad

Annie: If I made a mistake, they wouldn’t yell at me

Maddie: By helping me in activities

Ivana: By making me feel welcome at camp

Eleanor: By helping me

Mariana: By teaching me about camp

Alice: In riding the CIT’s helped me with the stirrups


Happy Daughter’s Day from Driftwood

While the date of Daughter’s Day varies across countries and is celebrated on different dates around the world, the sentiment of this special day remains the same. “Daughters Day is fоr parents аnd оthеr family members tо bond with daughters аnd spend ѕоmе exclusive moments tоgеthеr tо cherish for a lifetime.” (

We thought that it was particularly fitting to celebrate this “holiday” since all Woodland campers are daughters first before they join our camp family. We are very fortunate to have a strong parent-daughter connection at Woodland as many campers are daughters of parents who went to camp themselves at either Woodland or Towering Pines. At least 25% of our campers this year had mothers and/or fathers who are camp alums! That number doesn’t include the girls whose grandparents, or aunts and uncles came to camp “back in the day.”

The Daughter’s Day blog is “sponsored” by Driftwood cabin, a special group of girls who spent their very first summer at Woodland in 2018. Part of this fun cabin included a mother-daughter duo from Pennsylvania.  Caroline was a camper in Driftwood and her Mom, Aron, was our superstar office manager extraordinaire (and also a camp staff alum)!  We will take this opportunity to share what the Driftwood campers wrote as part of their “best moments at camp.”  We will also look forward to having these girls be part of our camp family for many years to come so that their daughters will one day, too, join us!

What is one thing you know now that you didn’t know at the beginning of the summer?

Emily: I love swimming and am a pretty good dancer

Syndey: I didn’t know that Crocs were such a popular thing

Delia: I know that I am stronger than I was at the beginning of the summer, and I can canoe across the lake

Eleanora: If you use teamwork and work hard, you can have fun and reach your dreams

Libby: I didn’t know that I could dive.

Caroline: How to play tennis.

Describe a change you made in yourself this summer:

Emily: to enjoy what you have and take advantage of every minute you have

Syndey: I was more confident, and I didn’t get homesick

Delia: I have learned to be more responsible and to be cleaner (because of cabin clean-up)

Eleanora: I started to be more open

Libby: I dove for my first time ever!

Caroline: Be more enthusiastic about working harder than usual.

What are ways you were kind to the campers in your cabin or in general:

Emily: When they told me stuff or gave me tips, I took it to heart and listened when they wanted to talk

Syndey: Helping clean the cabin; I also helped by braiding their hair and borrow my stuff

Delia: If I was done with my job during cabin clean-up, then I would offer to help others. I also explained what was happening to first year campers.

Eleanora: If they needed help, I would help them.

Libby: I let them sit on my bed and never got upset.

Caroline: I tried my hardest to include everyone in everything.

How did others show kindness to you?

 Emily: Saying they cared

Syndey: They shared their stuff and helped out when I needed help.

Delia: If I was ever confused, they would help me figure out things or be nice and welcoming.

Eleanora: They made me happy when I was homesick.

Libby: They were nice and kind to me because they let me sit on their bed.

Caroline: They were friends to me.

Happy World Beard Day from Treetops

Happy World Beard Day!

“While there have been places that it hasn’t necessarily been in style, or even possible to grow for some, overall there has been a great deal of admiration and respect for someone sporting a fine beard (like Isa G!). World Beard Day (September 1st) celebrates the beard and all it has been, become, and will be in days to come.

Every year people gather in places all over the world to sport their beard, with various ways of celebrating all over the world. The origins of World Beard Day have been lost to history, which isn’t surprising considering that there is evidence that the Danish Vikings have held a day in honor of their beard going back as far as 800 AD. Back in those august days, there wasn’t a specific day held to honor the beard, but multiple celebrations throughout the region.”


Throughout the upcoming year, blogs will be “sponsored” by a different Woodland cabin from the Summer of 2018 to celebrate a “national holiday.”  We will also take this opportunity to share what campers wrote as part of their “best moments at camp”…here is a little more about the zany gals from Treetops!

What is one thing you know now that you didn’t know at the beginning of the summer?

Monica: I am more confident in my riding abilities

Molly: It’s OK to be annoyed and sad if the rest of the time you have a positive attitude

Tori: I am more independent and confident

Isa: If you believe in yourself, you can do anything!

Valentina: If you find a grizzly bear, you have to look dead

Caitlin: I didn’t know anything about sailing and riding, and now I know how to rig a sail and how to take off the halter on a horse

Describe a change you made in yourself this summer:

Monica: I learned to be kind to others

Molly: I’m more comfortable as myself, and I don’t care what others think about me

Tori: I’m more fit, and I have learned many life skills

Isa: I became more comfortable with myself

Valentina: I began to not care about the mean stuff that people say about you because it is worthless

Caitlin: I became more confident, and I feel I got better at asking questions

What are ways you were kind to the campers in your cabin or in general:

Monica: I tried to be patient when people were sad or upset

Molly: I tried to include everyone, the little girls and the new girls in my cabin

Tori: By trying to be inclusive and friends with everyone

Isa: When I saw someone upset, I went to help them

Valentina: I lent things of mine even when I didn’t really want to

Caitlin: I included everyone and was friendly to everyone. I also helped other campers, and encouraged them, too.

How did others show kindness to you?

Monica: They taught me things and were patient when I wasn’t

Molly: Everyone encouraged me and cheered me on; they asked me if I was OK and lifted me up

Tori: By always being there for me and being my friend

Isa: They made me believe in myself when I thought I couldn’t do it

Valentina: By being nice to me

Caitlin: Talking to me, complimenting me on something and helping me when I needed it

Adventure Awaits: Sunnyside, Sunrise, and Aquarius

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

Lily: the canoe trip was pretty fun; I felt like I got closer with my cabin

Lauren: passing my intermediate water-skiing and being in a TP exchange for archery and winning

Rachel: going to the ropes course; I had a great time bonding and doing team-building skills

Amelia: canoe trip and ropes course because I stepped out of my comfort zone and had a lot of fun doing it

Xime: canoe trip and being with my cabin

Bunny: an evening swim on our canoe trip

Libby: trying drama and going on canoe trip and ropes course

Isabella: going swimming on our canoe trip, meeting so many awesome new people, the ropes course, CIT games, trying tennis, ALL ABOUT CAMP!

Lilli: I loved taking a canoe trip with my cabin; we really bonded and had a great time canoeing and swimming

Valentina: canoe trip

Irene: CIT day trip

Amelia: going to ropes course and doing team bonding activities with my cabin – it brought us so much closer!

Cayley: day trip to Dam Lake and County O bridge

Barbie: being a 2nd year CIT and hopefully will help me be a JC next year! Ropes course was challenging; I proved that I can do anything even if there are limits

Jae: everything! From bouncing from my cabin to my “live-in” cabin and making different, amazing, and funny memories with each group of girls and counselors to working on Co-Ed Show! It was an AMAZING last summer as camper/CIT, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one!

Sofi: getting to be with my best friends in the cabin and bonding with them more

Vale: ropes course was a huge challenge that I overcame

Kelly: going on a run in the Climax Forest with my friends in the morning; we saw deer in the meadow. It was a great start to the day and a moment I will always remember.

Adventure Awaits: Hilltop, Silver Birch, and Treetops

2018 was a summer where there were many ADVENTURES  to be had!  See what the campers from Hilltop, Silver Birch, and Treetops had to say about their FAVORITE adventure:

Catherine: going to the Aqua Tramp and playing Clue game

Lauren: ALMOST getting kicked off a horse (now he is my favorite horse!)

Brooke: canoe trip across the lake

Isabella: dropping a ski and going around the entire lake on one ski; I also loved our cabin’s canoe trip

Sofia: our cabin canoe trip because I had never done anything like that before and it was extremely fun

Maya: archery exchange at TP

Tess: the exchanges at TP; I was proud of getting picked to go, and I was nervous, but it was so much fun! I played well and was relaxed enough to have a good time.

Ava: trying sail race; I love to sail, and I had so much fun in sail race and learned so much this year

Annie: learning how to water-ski!  It was so hard, but when I finally got it, it was one of the best feelings!

Riley: knee boarding for the first time and our cabin canoe trip

Molly: I loved trying new activities and making a lot of friends

Lucy: I loved trying new things in sailing (like capsizing)

Ana: trying new things and meeting new people at both Woodland and TP

Katherine: our cabin canoe trip because even though it was raining, we still managed to have fun

Ari: canoe trip

Paloma: our canoe trip…I’m never forgetting that experience!

Ellie: I liked being able to help out at the barn

Monica: we went to pick blueberries and got stuck in the moss garden!

Molly: canoe trip and getting stuck on Sunny when the rudder broke

Tori: canoeing across the lake by myself (to pass advanced canoeing level)

Isa: I loved coming back and seeing all of my friends and spending time with them!  I loved that I got to know myself better and other people, too.  I loved “man overboard” – it was so much fun!

Valentina: riding through the trails with the horses

Caitlin: coming to camp – I love camp and had a lot of fun trying all of my activities

Makayla: trying canoeing for the first time