Camp Woodland Blog

Driftwood & Starshine Setting Good Examples!

There are so many extraordinary ways our girls learn to set good examples for their younger counterparts at camp.  From the time they wake up in the  morning to the sound of the Woodland bell, to the moment they fall asleep in their bunks at night after a busy day of activities, they are surrounded by staff and other campers leading by positive example.

There are role models guiding them each step of the way as they stay in their summer home at Camp Woodland. There are a plethora of opportunities to learn healthy, productive and favorable habits by observing, listening, interacting and practicing what they see.  These girls are encouraged to live by their “good examples” and to be a positive force in all aspects of not only what they do at camp, but also what they do at home, in school and for their communities.

The young leaders from Driftwood and Starshine are no exception to these principles. They have grown into some of the best role models for our younger campers and embody all things Camp Woodland. They jump right in to their activities with passion and enthusiasm and are always willing to lend a helping hand. These fun loving, enthusiastic campers had a lot of memories to share from their most recent summer at Camp Woodland, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next summer when they officially join the CIT (and CIT in training) program!

What is something new that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022?

“Something new I learned about myself is that I am able to live and be happy in an environment that is so different from the one I’m usually in at home.” – Sydney H. (Starshine)

“I enjoy not having my phone and being present.” – Lilah D. (Starshine)

“I learned that I’m really capable of doing whatever I want and reaching my goals if I set my mind to it. Everything you dream is possible if you set your mind to it!” – Mariana M. (Starshine)

In what ways did you GROW this summer?

“This summer I grew by never giving up when I couldn’t do something on the first try. I grew emotionally in the way I respond to others.” – Andrea G. (Starshine)

“I took risks, tried new things, and learned more. I also learned how to work better as a team.” – Kaitlyn G. (Starshine)

“When I joined sail race and skippered my first race, when I rode different horses, and when I jumped for the first time.” – Sydney L. (Driftwood)

In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY?

“When we all accepted each other. Also, in ropes course we learned that what matters is teamwork and kindness in every conflict so that we can solve it together.” – Ivana R. (Starshine)

“I felt that I was a part of a community when my cabin lifted me up whenever I was feeling down, and when I lifted them up.” – Delia C. (Driftwood)

In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer?

“I had some hard times with my friends and my cabin helped me through them. When I am struggling my friends always help me.” – Lizzy E. (Starshine)

“My counselors were very empathetic and patient for each and every one of us.” – Lou D. (Driftwood)

“Accepting differences, listening to others’ needs and my own, tolerance, and appreciation… especially seeing it from a CIT/counselor point of view.” – Ana V. (Driftwood Live-In)

Befriending Fears at Camp

I was an anxious kid. Life, for me, meant constantly fighting an incessant stream of questions like what if that plagued my mind. But there was an escape–spending the summer at Camp Woodland. At camp I took six activities, the same every year: swimming lessons, free swim, riflery, archery, tennis, and horseback riding. The familiarity of my camp routine distracted me from facing anything unknown. There was a simplicity in my regimen that I clung to for most of my early summers. I never wanted to try any new activities for fear of embarrassment and failure. So, I stuck to what I knew. My activities were like old friends. I knew them blind. That worked perfectly for three summers, until my fourth year, when I was placed in a more advanced horseback riding hour and my little world flipped on its head.

I had ridden horses for three summers by then, but the prospect of being in the advanced hour, surrounded by older, skilled riders, made me so anxious I felt sick. I had caught glimpses of the pasture during these sessions and seen blurs of beige and brown, clouds of kicked-up dust, and what seemed like impossibly fast speeds. I was certain that the second I mounted any horse going that fast I would be flung off and land somewhere in the trees.

My first day in riding left me in tears. I already felt miles behind my peers. I trooped, defeated, back to the cabin, and I was in no mood to unpack the day with my friends, so I sat on the porch in the sinking sunlight alone. The door creaked open and my live-in CIT, a girl named Arantxa, sat beside me. She introduced herself, but said nothing. I was grateful for the silence. Her presence was comforting enough, as if she was letting me though she was there for me. She would wait until I was ready to talk.

Day after day, I wandered out to the porch. When I felt like crying after being reminded again and again I was the worst in my class, I found some semblance of solace on the rickety cabin steps. Arantxa came out and sat with me every day. Eventually, I began to tell her about riding and my debilitating fear each time I walked into the barn. I confessed I wanted to quit. She frowned. “The fear you have,” she said, “is not something to run from. You have to accept your fear. Live with it. Free it, and it will make you better. Don’t quit riding because you’re scared. Just keep going.”

Those words kept me enrolled in riding for the next six weeks. She was right, I was afraid–that never went away. But Arantxa helped me befriend my fear. I made peace with it, and understood that its very existence was proof that I was growing. Growth, I learned, was not what resulted from natural skill or prowess. It was earned from that uncomfortable in-between, that space where what if still pestered me. But this time I was armed with the tools to twist what if into something powerful. Something hopeful. Instead of asking, what if I fail? I found myself asking, what if I succeed?

We had a horse show on the last day of camp to demonstrate all of our acquired skills. I mounted my horse, welcoming the flutter of anxious butterflies in my gut. Scanning the crowd, I saw my friends beaming at me. But something else caught my attention: Arantxa, breathless from running to escape her CIT duties, stood at the fence with a handmade sign drawn just for me. She waved and smiled, and warm pride bloomed inside my chest. As I rode around the arena, I felt like a blur of beige and black, fast and flying, ready to take on the world. I knew then that I could conquer any activity, any obstacle, and any challenge in my way.

This blog was originally written by Molly K as an influential figure essay for a college-prep English class assignment. We are excited to have Molly join our staff team in 2023!

Cabin Theme Poster Tradition (Featuring Treetops)

One of our favorite camp traditions that we have kept alive over the years is CABIN THEME POSTERS. Each summer, counselors blow us away with their creativity by coming up with a cabin theme and creating a cabin poster and name tags for each bunk. Getting to see the theme and their name above a bunk is one of the most exciting moments for a camper entering their summer home for the first time. These themes and decorations really transform the cabins into the cozy, magical places we call home all summer. The Treetops theme did not disappoint! They embraced differences by appreciating all special gifts and talents with their Encanto theme this summer.

What is something new that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022?

“I am stronger than I think.” – Maddie B.

“At home I’m really quiet, but at camp I’m more open and outgoing.” – Maddie H.

“I’m better at arts and crafts than I thought.” – Casi

In what ways did you GROW this summer?

“I went out of my comfort zone by trying swimming lessons again.” – Monica A. (Live-In CIT)

“I got on a horse.” – Maddie B.

In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY?

“I feel that I am a part of my cabin because I have a special relationship with each individual peer in my cabin and camp community.” – Orla W.

“I worked through conflict in the cabin and felt supported by my cabin-mates.” – Olivia T.

“I felt a part of the cabin community when we worked on projects like lip-sync and song contest.” – Maddie H.

“We worked together and we included each other.” – Casi

In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer?

“I saw campers learning to live in the same space as each other and respect differences.” – Monica A. (Live-In CIT)

“This summer I saw kindness and empathy all around our camp grounds. The girls I met this summer treated me with kindness by having manners and empathy.” – Orla W.

“I saw everyone appreciate each other’s differences and people could be themselves.” – Olivia T. 

Winter Traditions Bring Memories of Summer (Featuring Tamarack)

The winter Holidays are a special time of year. You can’t help but find yourself full of joy, nostalgia, and self-reflection as the year comes to an end. Everyone has different traditions and favorite memories that help sculpt this wondrous time of year. Whether it’s baking, playing games, or enjoying the great outdoors, there is no shortage of fun to be had in the winter months.







For many of us, enjoying family holiday traditions can get us thinking about camp and the traditions we enjoy most with our friends in the summer. So much of what we enjoy doing with our camp friends and cabin mates reflects a tight knit community and parallels what we cherish most with our family.

Our camp community is unique in the way that everything we do intentionally builds strong relationships through shared experiences. We eat together, sleep together, cry, laugh and grow together. In an environment like that, it would be impossible NOT to develop strong bonds. One group of girls living their best lives as a family this summer were the girls of Tamarack. These energetic goofballs had lots of fun things to share from their summer.

What is something new that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022?

“That it is so fun to try something new.” – Eloise J.

“I can do a backbend now.” – Lia D.

“How to ride a horse because I used to be scary for me.” – Morgan B.

“Don’t try to be the exact same thing as everyone because It’s Cool To Be You in ’22!” – Aria C.

“That I could make lots of friends, I don’t need to be shy to meet new people, and I can be without my parents for 4 weeks :)” – Marina G.

In what ways did you GROW this summer?

“I grew in swimming by passing a level.” – Maggie T.

“I kept trying even when I didn’t understand English.” – Ana Roberta

“I rode a horse for the first time and at first I was scared, but now I really like it!” – Olivia H.

“Getting in the lake fast.” – Roberta K.

“This year I got to level 4 in swimming and got to 20 yards in archery.” – Masyn

“I tried skiing.” – Aria C.

In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY?

“I enjoyed getting to know my cabin and building relationships with them.” – Isa G. (Live-In CIT)

“My counselors made me feel included.” – Clara S.

“When I was sad my cabin tried to cheer me up and when others were sad I cheered them up.” – Eloise J.

“Cabin Night brought us together.” – Lia D.

“Karaoke brought us together.” – Morgan B.

“I worked through conflict and others built me up.” – Maggie T.

In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer?

“Everyone was including everyone and they had fun together.” – Marina G.

“In my activity areas and by my counselors.” – Ana Roberta

“When I did not know what to do my cabin mates helped me.” – Olivia H.

“Cheering for my cabin.” – Masyn

“I listen and was present to people who needed me and learned to embrace peoples differences.” – Isa G. (Live-In CIT)

Happy New Year from Sunnyside

New year, new you… and we will be Soaring Free in 2023! Camp is all about growth and becoming your best self through new  experiences and building relationships that can’t be found anywhere else. The girls from Sunnyside showed tremendous growth knocking out personal goals all summer long and we can’t wait to see what they can achieve in summer ’23!


What is something new that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022?

“That every day I can learn new things and try my best.” – Luciana C.

“That I love being outside and having as much fun as I can at archery, riding, sailing, and all of my other activities.” – Katharine B

“I learned about how I love teaching and helping others.” – Tori N. (Live-In CIT)

“I learned about myself that when I want to pass a level or something I don’t give up and I keep trying until I do it, so I am very determined.” – Amalia L.

In what ways did you GROW this summer?

“If something doesn’t go right, try again! I learned something new every day and went out of my comfort zone.” – Olivia S.

“I tried archery again and I also passed my levels and got announced at assembly.” – Katie

“I learned how to slalom.” – Ivana R.

“This summer I tried many new things like cantering in riding and waterskiing. I passed levels and I have done things I would never normally do and I am proud of that.” – Sophie S.

“I went out of my comfort zone when I learned to ski.” – Isabel H.



In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY?

“I made a lot of new friends.” – Luciana C.

“When we got our birch necklaces at birthday or just simply carrying on simple camp traditions like singing after dinner.” – Katharine B.

“Cabin activities, camp games, meals, activities, canoe trip… These all helped me become closer with people.” – Olivia S.

“We worked together during cabin night and gave each other compliments.” – Katie


In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer?

“I saw girls in my cabin work hard to include others and make new girls feel welcome in the camp family.” – Tori N. (Live-In CIT)

“When people wouldn’t question my decisions, and when they congratulated all of my level passing, and just knowing they are all always there for you.” – Amalia L.

“In all activities if you do something good, everyone cheers you on and is happy for you. Everyone wants you to do your best.” – Sophie S.

“When I first came to camp this summer and was homesick my cabin was really kind.” – Isabel H.