Camp Woodland Blog

Happy International Camp T-Shirt Day from Silver Birch

Woodland girls never miss an opportunity to show camp spirit!  Whether it be dressing up for the weekly Sunday morning assembly Woodland spirit, making a tie-dye t-shirt with the current summer theme backdrop, going to Towering Pines for a class activity or special event, or being in the end-of-summer Coed Show, we are always proud to sport “Woodland Wear!”  As  you can see in the photo above, the Silver Birch girls are oh-so-cute in their coordinated Woodland t-shirts at the annual Song Contest at the end of the 3rd week.

On the last day of camp, the countdown begins for the arrival of the first day of the following summer, so it is fun to have a few “milestones” to mark the passing of time along the way.  International t-shirt day in mid-November is definitely one of them (we are closing in on 200 days until camp 2020!).  So, grab your favorite camp gear (t-shirt or other item), take a photo, then post on your favorite social media platform using #camptshirtday!

The inside scoop from the girls of Silver Birch 2019: 

In what ways did you SHINE this summer?

Angie: When I was hanging out with my friends.

Audrey: Trying new foods because when I am at home I don’t really try new foods at all because I am scared but now I know not to be.

Ivana: Passing my beginner in tennis, to 20 yds in archery, to level 5 in swimming. My counselors helped me shine!

Mariana: I met new friends!

Marion: I passed to level 4 in swimming.

Elizabeth: Making new friends and having so much fun!

Katherine: Sailing and archery.

Sophie: I made so many new friends and really improved in so many things!

When were you at your BEST this summer?

Angie: When we played games as a cabin.

Audrey: When I know I can do better at swimming.

Ivana: When I was helping people in Spoon Assassins.

Mariana: I liked when I was able to teach my counselors in swimming (and being in charge)!

Marion: When I tried new things.

Elizabeth: At the beginning of camp when I was meeting new people. Being my best is trying my hardest.

Katherine: Passing to 20 yds in archery and to level 4 in swimming.

Sophie: Learning to post in riding and doing good in swimming.

Describe a CHANGE you noticed in yourself while at camp:

Angie: I’m no longer afraid of the dark because my friends helped me with this.

Audrey: Taking a risk of trying fruits and vegetables and other stuff like different kinds of foods.

Ivana: I don’t cry as much anymore!

Mariana: My shooting improved.

Marion: I can do a back handspring.

Elizabeth: Doing better at trying new things.

Katherine: I accepted myself more.

Sophie: I really came out of my shell and found a way to fit in at camp!

What lessons were learned from something CHALLENGING this summer?

Angie: I learned to always stay calm when you are frustrated.

Audrey: Trying new things even though I was terrified at trying them. Now I know to try new things because I might like them!

Ivana: Passing levels and that if I try my hardest, I can do it!

Mariana: Passing levels was challenging, but I learned persistence and to work hard to achieve my goals.

Marion: Archery was challenging because it was my first time.

Elizabeth: Passing a lot of different levels.

Katherine: If you try your best, you will succeed.

Sophie: Sometimes swimming was hard, but I still did it and did great!

Happy National Croc Day from Treetops

Who would have thought that colored plastic laced with holes would be part of the camp ‘uniform’ at Woodland?! By looking at the shoes left on every cabin porch and on feet of all sizes and shapes, it is obvious the Woodland campers love their Crocs! While Crocs are not officially on the packing list, it is definitely something we tell new campers so they can be part of the Camp Croc Craze.

Crocs are comfy (check out the cushion), practical (they make great shower shoes or to wear at the lake), stylish (sort of – they do come in a variety of fun colors even though they tend to exaggerate a person’s normal shoe size), warm (if you add socks), and are virtually indestructible (my 8 month old puppy has been chewing on the same pair of Crocs for the past 6 months, and I am happy to report they are still completely in tact; my Chaco sandals, not so much!).

You may also notice in the above photo that Crocs can also be personalized with fun Jibbitz shapes and characters that can be inserted into the holes. Maybe they are more waterproof this way for when we have a little Woodland Dew?! It looks like this camper wanted to leave one hole empty to ensure proper ventilation.

Since Treetops has the honors of ‘sponsoring’ this National Holiday (October 23), here is a little more insight into their 2019 camp experience:

In what ways did you SHINE this summer?

Heidi: By being myself and trying not to let anything bring me down

Caroline: I was always nice and included the younger campers. I tried my hardest to do my best in all of my activities.

Catherine: I passed into level 5 in swimming and passed a few levels in riflery.

Lindsey: I met new friends, tried new things, and passed multiple levels!

Eleanora: When I was with my friends.

Anna: By meeting new friends, learning to water ski, doing new skills in all activities and having fun all summer!

Sydney: I met new friends who are so awesome and I can’t wait to write!

When were you your BEST this summer?

Heidi: When I was riding horses and doing archery.

Caroline: When I was swimming.

Catherine: In swimming.

Lindsey: I was at my best in all my activities because I try to do my best in everything I do.

Eleanora: At tennis because I also do it at home.

Anna: When I learned to stand on 2 skis for the first time and passed out of swimming lessons.

Sydney: When I was achieving new things and reaching our goals with my best friends!

Describe a CHANGE you noticed in yourself while at camp:

Heidi: I became more confident with myself, and I started to believe in myself by standing up for myself more.

Caroline: I listen more instead of just talking, and I eat faster.

Catherine: I became more nice and empathetic.

Lindsey: I feel more outgoing and determined now, being able to be myself, also helped.

Eleanora: I became more confident and independent.

Anna: I am now more responsible and open to new experiences and making new friends. I’m not afraid of the lake anymore and things that have to do with it!

Sydney: I started becoming more open to new activities and new challenges.

What lessons were learned from something CHALLENGING?

Heidi: I was homesick at the beginning, so I tried to enjoy my activities and focus on other things at camp.

Caroline: You have to stay confident and power through.

Catherine: I learned that I should never give up because I will eventually achieve my goals.

Lindsey: I learned that no matter what you do, never give up because you lose faith in yourself and stop trying when that happens.

Eleanora: Teamwork solves almost everything.

Anna: By persisting with archery and riflery (shooting at different levels) and learning to water-ski!

Sydney: That I have to swim really fast to get to my goal every day.

“Coming Home” – Then & Now (from Camper to Lawyer)

by Alex Karahalios, former camper & counselor

I remember the feeling I had when it was time to head up to Camp Woodland for the first time. My parents kissed me goodbye and I begrudgingly stepped onto a large coach bus to confront a sea of unfamiliar faces. As an eleven year old who had never been away from home for more than a typical school day or sleepover, knowing that I would not be coming home for four weeks was paralyzing.

Two weeks into the summer, my parents came to visit. I ran out of Tamarack, jumped to hug my parents, and then promptly sat them down to talk. With my friends – not so subtly – hiding behind a tree in the assembly area, I asked my parents if I could stay for six weeks instead of just four. “Oh, honey, I wouldn’t do that to you! I know how much you didn’t want to come, and I don’t want to make you stay one second more than you already are,” my father said with a smirk to convey his victory. “Dad, please!” I insisted, “I can’t leave. I’ll miss Coed Show and Woodland Fair and everyone says the last two weeks are the best and when you think about it two weeks really isn’t that long of a time anyway…” My parents looked at each other, smiled, and told me I could stay. Immediately, I turned around to give my friends a thumbs up, to which they all jumped out of their hiding places to celebrate. Flash forward one year to a twelve-year-old girl who cannot push her mother out of the door fast enough to get in the car and head north. That feeling of excitement and impatience to soak up as much Northwoods sun as I could get my hands on would flood me every single June for the next six years: every time I was finally coming home.

Since graduating from college at Northwestern University, I have been fortunate to come home twice: once as a counselor the summer following graduation and once for Woodland’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. The first summer I came home to reconnect with the roots of my childhood and reset before three years of law school at the University of Virginia. The second visit was another coming home celebration, but this time only for three short days. Those three days as a visitor, however, gave me the perspective I did not realize I needed before beginning an intense interview process to work at a law firm.

I arrived at the Rhinelander airport after an early morning wakeup call in Washington, DC and was greeted by four of my best camp friends. Back together after many years, it was all but too natural for us to revert back to our camp routine: we arrived at our base, put our things down on our respective beds, washed our hands, and turned right back around to the next activity. The rest of the weekend allowed us to delve completely into our old camper selves as we ran from one activity to another after the bell, changed quickly into our appropriate activity-wear, and arrived at each meal ravenous and already ready for seconds. Those three days went by just as quickly as I remember every six weeks.

What I didn’t realize until after the 50th Anniversary was that weekend was all of the interview preparation I needed. Having just reconnected with the place where I developed all of the skills I would need as a law firm summer associate, they were fresh in my mind and ready to go: my fluency in Spanish, my ability to work in a group, my independence in completing tasks, my ability to multitask and manage multiple responsibilities at once, my timeliness, and my intellectual curiosity. Unsurprisingly, my nine summers at camp came up quite a few times during my interviews. I detailed how supplementing my Spanish education over the summer through practicing with my best friends from Mexico pushed me to fluency and inspired me to pursue the language as one of my majors in college.

I confidently assured them that spending six weeks in a cabin with seven other girls and one bathroom prepared me well to work alongside any kind of personality even in the most pressured and dire of circumstances. I recalled how cabin cleanup taught me the importance of playing my part in the team. I explained how the ability to choose the activities of my day and the goals I wanted to reach within each of them meant that I could independently manage the responsibilities I assumed. I understood the importance deadlines and promptness from running out of instructional swim to riding so that I could start my lesson on time. And I demonstrated how the encouragement I received at camp to always try new things – food included – inspired my curiosity to also try new classes, legal internships, cities to live in, and career paths.

Coming home as a camper, CIT, or counselor every year was the release of pent up excitement and impatience that grew throughout the school year and culminated in a new summer adventure. Coming home as an alumni was the timely reminder that those nine summers continue to shape me and propel me forward to new professional adventures I never could have foreseen when I confronted that sea of unfamiliar faces eleven years ago.

Happy International Literacy Day from Starshine

I realize that I am a week late with this post, but I decided to write it anyway because of the significance this September 8th “holiday” has with the program at Camp Woodland. International Literacy Day serves as a reminder of how important literacy is for individuals and society, women in particular (2/3 of those who can’t read are women).

As you can see from the headline photo for this blog, reading is something that girls have time to do at camp. Without the influence of screens for 6 weeks, campers can enjoy those things that often get pushed to the side due to busy school schedules. It is not uncommon for campers to grab a book while waiting for a turn at the archery or riflery range. Afternoons at the beach during Rec Swim offer another carefree chunk of time that can be filled with favorite characters or storyline. We also encourage campers to use their daily rest hour as a time to cozy up with a book or two. And, one of my personal favorite times of the camp day is right before bed as counselors read aloud to their cabin group as a way to transition to the quiet time necessary for a good night’s sleep!

The theme for International Literacy Day 2019 was ‘Literacy and Multilingualism’. Multilingualism is where a person or group of people can use more than one language when communicating. Without multilingualism, we wouldn’t be able to communicate on a global scale or understand different culturesAt Woodland, we practice multilingualism every day due to the blending of domestic and international cultures. Having campers from multiple states and several countries, we embrace the opportunity to learn from and understand each other’s cultures. This happens organically on a daily basis as girls have conversations in the cabin, at meals or in activities – they start to see the world as a bigger place than the community from which they are from.

Here are reflections on the recent summer from the girls in Starshine:

How did you SHINE this summer?

Sydney: I showed all the things about myself that I was proud of and not being afraid of doing.

Lilah: I felt I was my best self this summer!

Katie: I got up on the kneeboard and passed levels.

Libby: I learned to dive off the docks.

Pollita: Passing my goals.

Kaitlyn: I tried a new activity, passed levels in swimming and archery, made new friends, and did new things.

When were you at your BEST this summer?

Sydney: Just being here with everyone I love.

Lilah: Trying my best!

Katie: When I tried my hardest.

Libby: At gymnastics I kept trying to do a handstand until one day I did it!

Pollita: When I was at arts & crafts or tennis.

Kaitlyn: I was at my best the whole summer!

Describe a CHANGE you noticed in yourself while at camp.

Sydney: Looking at the bright side and being more open.

Lilah: I have grown more as a woman.

Katie: I was happier.

Libby: I envisioned myself diving and then it happened.

Pollita: Getting better at what I try.

Kaitlyn: I became a better gymnast, swimmer, horseback rider, dancer, and I also became better at archery.

What lessons were learned from something CHALLENGING?

Sydney: In swimming lessons I learned that I have to be patient as I improve.

Lilah: I learned how to make a mooring in sailing.

Katie: How to shoot a bow and arrow.

Libby: Learning to dive off the docks.

Pollita: Swimming lessons were challenging for me.

Kaitlyn: Teaching a cabin mate to be more patient while waiting for a turn to use the bathroom.

Happy ‘Just Because Day’ from Tamarack

On August 27th National Just Because Day offers up an opportunity to do stuff…just because.

Every day we all do things that are expected or required of us. Sometimes we even do things because we have to do them, we don’t know why.  At Camp Woodland, that does not apply.  Every day is a chance to do something without rhyme or reason.

It could be that you stop to notice a unique leaf on the path…just because.
Maybe you want to use rest hour to read a favorite book…just because.
Perhaps you would like to do something nice for a cabin mate having a bad day…just because.
Possibly you want to sing really loud while you’re in the shower…just because.
Or surprise someone with a note…just because.
Make something up…just because.
Or maybe, just maybe, do something just because your counselor said so!

The girls of Tamarack lived the essence of ‘Just Because” all summer long! It is interesting to note that more than half of this cabin are daughters of camp alums and they, too, have a few years of camp under their belt. They have been at camp long enough to know the ropes and are really progressing in various activities. From earning the highly esteemed Skipper Award in sailing to having a lead role in all 3 plays this summer, these girls can do a lot! Tamarack took cabin cleaning seriously and won “Clean Freaks” 3 weeks of the summer. They earned a pizza party, a trip to Cathy’s Ice Cream, and an evening of tubing on Sand Lake.

Here are reflections from the Tamarack girls on the recent summer:

How did you SHINE this summer?

Brooke: I tried canoeing.

Maria: Passing out of swim lessons and getting better at archery and riflery.

Tess: I learned to waterski and got significantly better in all of my other activities.

Ava: Skiing, riding, tennis and swimming quick laps.

Anika: Trying my best when working to pass levels.

Sofia: I improved in skiing and I cantered for the first time in riding.

Maya: I have always done riflery, but this year I felt more confident about this activity.

Isabella: I did really well in skiing, arts and crafts, drama and dance.

When were you at your BEST this summer?

Brooke: I’m at my best when I am being kind and nice.

Maria: When I am having fun!

Tess: When I was laughing in a carefree way with my cabin mates and when I soloed in a sail race.

Ava: I am at my best when I am with my friends, doing what I love, and having the best time.

Anika: When I was laughing and being happy.

Sofia: Dropping a ski and cantering.

Maya: I felt my best when I was trying hard to pass my level in archery and go to 40 yards.

Isabella: I was my best at ropes course. I am my best when I am genuinely having a good time.

Describe a CHANGE you noticed in yourself:

Brooke: I made more friends this summer, and I got my 5-year pendant.

Maria: My hair grew!

Tess: I became less stressed and more confident. I also became more attuned to other’s emotions.

Ava: I got a tan and my hair got lighter (hee, hee)!

Anika: I feel for others when they are sad.

Sofia: I became more open and not afraid to be myself.

Maya: I am more empathetic towards others.

Isabella: I became more open.

What lessons were learned from something CHALLENGING this summer?

Brooke: Facing my fears.

Maria: I worked hard to pass my beginner in waterskiing.

Tess: I learned that perseverance pays off (archery) and listening to others helps (riding and sailing).

Ava: I learned how to stay calm during an intense situation (capsizing a sailboat).

Anika: I have learned patience!

Sofia: Winning “touch the fence” because I learned from losing.

Maya: I learned never to give up even if the goal will not be completed this summer.

Isabella: I learned how to confront people.