Author: Lee Albrecht Biear

Coming of Age

First off, birthdays are the B-E-S-T at camp. If you are the birthday camper, each cabin enthusiastically wishes you a happy birthday and sings happy birthday to you at morning assembly. At rest hour you get a special phone call from your Mom and Dad, and at the end of the day the camp directors throw your cabin a birthday party with a homemade cake and a sparkler to top it off.

Maddie celebrating her 7th Birthday!

My daughter, Maddie, would not celebrate her birthday at any other place. How do I know? She has never spent her birthday anywhere else. I was very fortunate that my life took a positive turn 7 years ago, and the Jordan Family invited me to come back to camp to connect with our alumni and start a few new camp marketing projects. I never thought in a thousand years I would be packing my 11-month-old baby and spend 7 weeks in Northern WI (especially since I live in Virginia). I never thought in a million years that we would continue the annual pilgrimage to WI and Maddie would spend every birthday at Camp Woodland for Girls. But here we are – Maddie turned 7 years old last Sunday!!! This year was more special than ever, because she is now a full time camper celebrating with her cabin mates in Starshine.

Maddie’s Cabin – Starshine

You heard it right, my daughter just turned 7 years old is a full-fledged camper for 6 weeks. Like all first year parents, I was nervous. Will she change her underwear everyday, wash her hair, eat anything at meals, and be able to keep with the older girls in activities? I soon realized everything would be ok when she quickly stopped calling me Mom and started calling me Lee! She also stopped referring to her younger siblings as her family members and only refers to them as the “day campers”.

The “day campers” formerly known as Maddie’s siblings

The super cool thing is that I now get to see the “fruits of my labor” pay off. Maddie is the quiet girl at school. She does what she is told and sits back and watches everyone else. Teachers weren’t sure she was learning anything until she took her first test. They soon realized she was absorbing everything.

Maddie riding Snoopy

At camp we do not need her to take a test to know that Maddie is learning so much. She is a doer- loves to sing, tell jokes, rides an enormous horse with confidence, and is part of a cool little crewe called the Starshine Cabin to put on skits at campfire. I have a feeling she is going to be an unstoppable 2nd grader this fall. If not, that is ok, because I know she will always be an unstoppable Woodland girl.

Maddie’s first birthday at Camp!

Trying Something New at Camp

When campers try something new, there are feelings of vulnerability and unease.

Lauren loving gymnastics!

We sometimes allow self-doubt and negative self-talk to tell us “I’m terrible at this,” or “I probably won’t be good at this” we say to ourselves.  But at camp, everyone embraces a can-do attitude.  Starting on the first Sunday at activity promotions, every activity area leader tells the ALL girls to sign up for THEIR activity, no matter their skill level.  It quickly becomes clear that anyone can do anything they set their mind to at camp and that beginners are respected. Feelings of, “Maybe I should know how to do this before I start” fade away.  This sets the stage for a community of supporting each other, no matter what the level. Even those girls who are nervous about trying something new quickly become more confident and proud of their determination.  It’s only the end of the first week of activities and many girls have already felt the assurance of progress. So many levels have already been passed and goals have been set. This lesson is such an important one to learn to carry us through life – “I tried something new. It was hard at first, but I got a lot better. I can do hard things when I set my mind to it!” Think of how much confidence this lesson, learned many times, can bring to the emotional toolbox of a child.

Annie trying riflery!

Angie said, about trying archery for the first time, “At the beginning it felt weird and new and also exciting.  I was afraid of the arrow!  Now I’m more confident.  I gained confidence by just starting to do it.  I even just passed a new level!”

Alice said, about trying riding for the first time, “It was so scary at first.  I was afraid of tipping over and I didn’t even know how to hold my hands or place my feet.  Now I can hold my hands correctly and place my feet without anyone telling me.  I am excited every day to find out which horse I get to ride.  I can stop the horse by myself and I’m not scared anymore!”

Maddie said, about trying riding for the first time, “I was nervous about riding and scared that I might fall off the horse.  Now I feel good and confident because one time, the teachers were holding the reigns and they let go and Max (the horse) ran for a second and I was fine.  So now I know I’ll be ok!”

I can’t wait to see how much progress, not only skill progress, but also the emotional progress of gained confidence, determination and bravery, the second week of activities brings!

Caroline trying horseback riding!

-Written by Aron who’s working in the office this year (also a camp mom, a 5th grade teacher and a former Woodland Counselor!)

Your Adventure Awaits at Camp Woodland!

The word “adventure” holds a lot of possibility – the possibility of the unknown, of new memories, of high excitement. After five or ten summers coming up to camp, you wouldn’t naturally think that camp could hold any more adventure – you’ve lived in most of the cabins, tried close to every activity, and know which meals you look forward to the most. Yet something has us coming back year after year, and it’s exactly what this summer’s theme encapsulates – adventure, and the possibility of more.

Whether you’re a Woodland girl who is just arriving for her first summer or a Woodland girl who has lived in every cabin, tried every activity, and has the meal calendar memorized, your adventure lives outside of camp’s routine just as much as your comfort lives within it.

For a first-year camper, adventure will be in everything you do; the new friends that you make, the new food you try, and the new challenges you take on. Adventure is waiting for you at Woodland just as sure as you are waiting for your first summer at camp to start. Make sure to try every activity you can, from the ones you know all about to the things you may have never tried before. Your ability to slowly step outside of your comfort zone will only make your adventures that much more exciting!

For a returning camper, adventure lies in the unknown within the components of camp you feel you know so well; you know you’ll have cabin mates and counselors, but who will they be? What fun games, tasks, and challenges will your counselors have in store for you at your favorite activities? Will you win Gold Rush or make it to the end of your Spoon Assassins circle? Everything from your daily routine to the biggest special events is bursting with a possibility that can’t be replicated from years before — adventures are peeking out at you from around every corner!

Regardless of whether you’re arriving at Woodland for the first time or the tenth, your adventure at camp awaits you eagerly. Don’t be afraid of stepping a little further out of your comfort zone, because Woodland will be waiting for you with opportunities at every turn We are so excited to see what kind of challenges, exploration, and inspiration Summer 2018 has in store for you!

-By Natalie, Director of Sailing, 16 summer at Camp Woodland

 

 

Get Parent Pro Packing Tips!

Thank you Judy for writing great tips and tricks for all of our new camp families!  Judy has a boy and girl at both camps.  Judy went to Camp Woodland while her mom was the camp nurse for many seasons in the 1980s.

Tools  (I learned from a former boss that “any job is easier when you have the right tools”):

  • Stick on Labels (from everythingsummercamp.com)
  • Silver and Black Sharpie
  • Black permanent ink clothing rubber stamp with LAST NAME ONLY.
  • Silver permanent ink clothing rubber stamp with LAST NAME ONLY (for dark clothes and items).

Stick to the list for the most part. Camp Woodland has been in operation for 49+ years…the Jordan Family knows what works and what doesn’t at camp.

Rules

Order the minimum recommended camp apparel and maybe one or two other items you know for a fact they will wear. I thought my daughter would love the “baseball jersey” Woodland shirt. She did not and it never got worn. She does love her sweatpants, though. The pajama bottoms are very popular, as well, and those get worn throughout the year.

Don’t send your child to camp with an article of clothing (or any item) you/he/she would be devastated by if it were ruined/lost/misplaced.  There really is no “fancy occasion” that requires formal attire.  A romper or a simple dress is acceptable attire for Woodland’s banquet.

One of the best things about camp is it truly is a place where everyone looks the same. Everyone dresses at the same very casual level of shorts, t-shirt, hoodie. Camp is the place to show your personality, not what kind of clothes you have. So it’s not going to matter if your kid’s riding jeans are from American Eagle or if they are from Walmart. No one seems to be able to tell the difference or even cares about that stuff. Just send the towels from Walmart or whatever happens to be laying around your house that you don’t mind never seeing again, because it may get mixed up in someone else’s bags on the way back.

Label everything so it makes weekly laundry easier for the counselors.

Get high quality flip flops such as “sliders” or “Crocs”.  That seems to be what the kids live in all summer. Mark them with a Sharpie that shows up on whatever color they are.

Don’t stress out too much about having a rain poncho. It’s on the list but if your kid has a rain jacket/outershell type of thing from Lands End/LLBean/NorthFace that will work.

No dangly jewelry for every day, especially earrings…I still remember when a girl’s small hoop earring got caught on a tree branch on a trail ride…my mom was the camp nurse and had to take her to the emergency room for stitches. Leave the jewelry (except for a 5 year Woodland Pendant)  at home and if your child does have pierced ears, make sure they have simple posts to wear for every day.

The actual packing process:

Pro Tip:  The best camp luggage is duffles. We got ours from LL Bean but everythingsummercamp.com has them, too, I believe. Plan on the process taking about 2 hours, maybe a little longer if this is your first time. I designate an area of our house as the packing area.

  1. I am a batch processor. It helps keep things from getting mixed up of half completed. If you have more than one child going to camp, you might want to pack them individually (get one completed before starting on the next) so things don’t get mixed up.
  2. Lay everything out in piles (10 socks, 12 shirts, bedding, etc. ) before packing anything in a duffle so you can double check everything as it goes in.
  3. I pack all of the bedding in one duffle and the clothing in another.
  4. I have the child pull things from the list (10 socks, 10 pairs of underwear, 2 Woodland/Towering Pines shirts, 8 other shirts, etc.).
  5. As the items are pulled, I stamp them with name and check it off the list. Anything I can’t stamp, I sharpie. My mom (who was the camp nurse for many years) used to hand sew cloth labels into all of my clothes (and my brothers’). Every year. Such dedication…but I am not doing that.

The iron on ones don’t seem to stay in very well (and are time consuming). Just rubber stamp the name onto the white label of many clothes on the inside back of the collar  or on the seam and get on with your life. Use the sticker labels for non-clothing items like water bottle, hair brush, shower stuff. Sharpie shoes on the inside exterior sole or where visible elsewhere on the shoe.

 

 

I Heart Camp Day 2018 – Check out new camp photos to post!

Our favorite time of year (during the winter) is almost here!!  February 1, 2018 is National I Heart Camp Day! Help us spread the word on the importance of summer camp. Remember all those funny pictures we took of you with the “I heart Camp ” Poster. Well, on February 1, 2018 Camp Woodland campers, parents, staff, and alumni are encouraged to post their ” I heart Camp” photo as their Facebook Profile. Don’t have Facebook?

Here are a few ideas to show the world (or just your friends) how much camp means to you!

  • Instagram your photo! #Woodland4Girls #Iheartcamp
  • Print it out and paste on your favorite school tablet
  • Post it on your Pinterest Site
  • Make it a screen saver on your computer

Click the link to retrieve your daughter’s photos (we included brother-sister photos): I heart Camp Woodland Photos Link

Need your son’s photo too? Click the link to your son’s (Towering Pines) photos: I heart TP Photos link

All you have to do is: 1- find your picture, 2- download it by clicking the download tab on the bottom right of the photo, 3-Post it this Thursday, Feburary 1!

Check out our archives of I Heart Camp Day. It is fun to see how we have grown!:

* We took these photos at the end of the summer. We apologize if your daughter could not be part of this project and hope to do the photos throughout the entire next summer! Make your own photo and post it!  We love to see your child’s creativity!