Camp Woodland Blog

Woodland’s Neighborhood Community

Posted by on July 15, 2019

I can remember coming home from school in my youth and heading outside first thing after grabbing a snack. Many neighborhood kids would congregate at our house as we lived in the middle of the block. We played kickball in our side yard and wore paths between bases until there was no more grass (much to my Dad’s chagrin). The only way we knew it was time to come in for dinner was to listen for the bell that my Mom would ring from the front steps. Ghosts in the Graveyard was a popular night time game that usually took place across several connected yards. We would play for hours upon hours until our parents would drag us inside (kicking and screaming, no doubt!).

Being at Woodland reminds me of that same neighborhood feel I remember so well from being a kid. The cabins are nestled in the trees and create their own neighborhood as they are in close proximity to each other (more in a clump than a straight line). Each cabin is slightly different in design yet offers a similar inviting appearance with a porch, clothesline, cabin flag, and flowers on the stoop. There is a flurry of activity in this neighborhood multiple times a day when campers return “home” from a busy morning or afternoon of activities or following a meal.

I love hearing doors open and close as campers come in and out of the cabin to share the highlights of a fun-filled camp day with each other and their counselors. Girls will hang out on the porch or make their way to the tether ball areas for a friendly pick-up game. In the mornings and evening, the spigot is a gathering place for mixed ages to gather for communal toothbrushing and shaving parties. There are several camp-wide games that utilize the cabin area because of the ability to sneak up on the opposing team while playing tag or Cortation Fugation (a popular end-of-summer game).

I am reminded by my good friend, Jolly Corley, that this neighborhood that camp provides is something that has has long since disappeared from our communities.  While neighborhoods may no longer exist in very many towns or cities around the country, we both believe they can be found at camp.

Camp is place where children interact with children of all ages, and the person in charge very likely may not be over twenty-one years old; a place where children can still make up the rules to a game they’ve just invented; a place where play is valued. For these reasons, going to camp is more important for children now than it ever has been! 

(Woodland) creates a safe neighborhood for children to become independent and confident in their own abilities to control themselves and to contribute in a way they may not be able to do in their neighborhood at home.

At Woodland, the camper of the day rings the bell to bring campers back to the neighborhood community we have created in the Northwoods!

Click HERE to see Jolly’s full article found in Camping Magazine (published in January of 2014).

 

Woodland Passes 2 “Tests!”

Posted by on July 11, 2019

When we think of tests, we often think of being in school and the exams taken that mark the end of a chapter, unit, semester or year.  While we try not to compare camp to school, Woodland actually had two tests of its own this summer!  On Monday, Camp Woodland greeted 2 trained volunteers from the American Camp Association (ACA) for our accreditation visit that occurs every 5th year.  JoAnne and Lee gave our guests the grand tour of camp. They stopped to watch various activities in action, check out a few cabins, interview some campers and staff, and take a look at the kitchen and health center.  Following the tour, the visitors went through multiple notebook binders to verify that we have the necessary documentation to be in compliance with close to 300 health, safety, and program quality standards!  Whew!

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One of the first signs you see when you come into camp!

Why do we seek accreditation? We’re glad you asked!  Camp Woodland and Towering Pines PROUDLY display the ACA-Accredited Camp sign as it has 50+ years of parent trust behind it.  Accreditation means that both camps have proof of accountability, credibility, and commitment to the best practices established by the camp industry.  Experts from many fields including the American Red Cross and The American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, are consulted to work with ACA to continually improve the camp standards program.  We are happy to report that Camp Woodland “PASSED” this big test again this year!  Towering Pines will be on the list of camps to be visited next summer. Marion Jordan (JoAnne, Susan, and Jeff’s grandfather) was instrumental in getting the ACA Accreditation program started back in the day!

Wearing a helmet, boots, and long pants is an example of one of the program standards for horseback riding.

For our second “test” this summer, the Oneida health department came for their annual review last week, and they made similar stops to ACA on their walk around camp.  The great thing is that because our staff are well-trained at the beginning of each summer and on an on-going basis, they handled any questions that were asked like pros and did a nice job telling the story of what we do and why.  Camp Woodland had another excellent report from the health department (are you surprised?!)!  It made for a busy week, and we are glad to get back to the more FUN part of our jobs (like driving the ski boat, prepping for canoe trips, reading a story at campfire, and spending quality time with your daughters)!

The Start of Something New

Posted by on July 8, 2019

Now that the first 2 weeks are behind us, campers are more than ready to expand their horizons and take a deep dive into all the opportunities for fun and adventure at camp. Every day except Sundays, campers take activities that they can choose themselves. Today was especially delightful because it is the first day of the 2nd sign-up of activities.

Every other weekend at camp, campers choose their next round of six activities that they will take for 2 weeks. Some campers enjoy taking the same activities every time because they want to continue building their skills, they particularly enjoy being with those activity instructors, or they are just big fans of that activity. On the other hand, some campers choose new activities every rotation in order to try the most they can while at camp, since many of our activities are things that are often not available at home. Either way, campers practice decision-making and independence when they pick activities and challenge themselves to try new things.

At the waterfront, campers learn to swim, ski, knee or wakeboard, sail, windsurf, paddleboard, and canoe. They also can enjoy Rec Swim each afternoon and play on the water mats, take a try at log rolling, or catch a ride with a friend and tour around the lake on the Atom. 

Meanwhile on land, campers try their hand at archery, riflery, tennis, gymnastics, dance, drama, horseback riding, farm zoo, and arts & crafts. So hard to choose – each activity is a ton of fun!

No matter the activity, campers are able to take something away with them when they leave camp. Whether it is a freshly honed skill in knot tying (sailing), an experience on horseback they’ve never had before, or a new friend they made in arts and crafts, each camper heads home with more than they arrived with. The combination of immersion in nature, working with activity specialists, and daily opportunities to build both skills and relationships make activities at Woodland a unique learning experience.

Note: This blog post was inspired by Rockbrook Camp (NC).

Every Day is Independence Day at Camp Woodland

Posted by on July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day!  I remember my very first year as a counselor at Woodland and waking up to the sound of HORSES by my cabin instead of the usual wake-up bell.  I was a little startled to say the least, but I decided to roll with it and get into the spirit of the riders who were telling us that the “British were coming” and got my ten 13 and 14 year-old campers out of bed!

4th of July horses

The lodge was decked out in “red-white-and-blue” decorations that I’m sure the CIT on duty the day before had put up to make our dining experience festive.  Campers and counselors alike wore various patriotic clothing combinations of their own to contribute to the holiday celebration.  Activities continued as normal throughout the day; however, the hype for the evening’s “Red, White, and BOOM” campfire at Towering Pines built as campers negotiated the shower schedule to be sure everyone was squeaky clean and had time for proper primping before donning their Woodland Wear to get on the van to drive to the boys camp.

happy birthday usa

It is comforting to know that the 4th of July and all of the traditions that have become part of camp history are still in tact.  I am also reminded of the tie-in to the true reason we celebrate this July holiday in the first place.  We can be grateful to the many men and women who fought for the freedom we enjoy today, and you can sleep even better tonight knowing that your camper has an incredible opportunity this summer to exercise this right and explore her independence during her camp experience at Woodland.

Here are just a FEW of freedoms that come to mind when I think of a summer at Woodland:

  • the choice to select activities according to interests and talents
  • the ability to try something new if desired (2nd activity sign-up is this weekend!)
  • the opportunity to get to know girls from a variety of  geographic locations, backgrounds, and age levels that may be different from their own
  • the encouragement to be “real” and not some “fake” version of yourself
  • the gift of being in an outdoor environment where the sky, lake, trees, animals, and flowers make up your living room
  • the support of counselors and other caring adults
  • the chance to be independent during this opportunity for growth away from family and friends from home
  • the luxury of being away from the stresses and worries of school and have more FUN than you ever imagine!

You can be thankful that your daughter has this AMAZING opportunity to experience Independence Day EVERY day…just by being at camp!

fireworks

Woodland’s 50th season is underway!

Posted by on June 25, 2019

Woodland Welcomes 2019 Campers!

The moment we have all been waiting for is FINALLY here!  Camp Woodland’s 50th season is officially underway, and we couldn’t be more excited!  We also know that there are a lot of mixed emotions from campers and parents alike on Opening Weekend.  Shedding tears and feeling your heartstrings pull tight after giving one last hug is NORMAL.  We know that you love your daughters very much and that you will miss them while they are with us!  Thank you for giving them the gift of camp!

Fun at the Beach!

The first weekend is packed full of action and fun, but there is nothing like the first day of activities to help campers feel like they are settling into the flow of camp.  By mid-week your daughters will be pros with the routines of the camp day.  They will anticipate the ring of the Woodland bell to signal moving from one exciting activity to another.  They will know all about “hopping” and the “job wheel” and will have had enjoyed getting “canteen” in the afternoons at the end of Rec Swim or Sailing.  They will have joined in signing the “Ship Titanic” and the “Woodland Song” after dinner.

Lucy Landsports and Wendy Waterfront

Monday after dinner is designated as Cabin Night and is all about continuing the process of cabin unity and bonding.  Fun choices that vary each week including cabin canoe trips and trying out the Aqua Tramp at Towering Pines are typically scheduled for Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday evening activities.  Dinner on Wednesday is a cookout at the picnic tables by Treetops followed by Campfire at the beach where your camper will be working with her cabin to prepare a song or skit (and write her first “official” letter to update you on all that has been happening since she arrived!).  Camp will feel more like home with each passing day and the week will FLY BY in no time!

Every Day is a “Sunny” Day at Camp Woodland!

You packed, prepared and did everything you could to get your camper(s) ready for an AMAZING summer!  WE THANK YOU!  Now it is our turn to do what we do best – Woodland has been in the business of youth development for 50 summers.  We are very much looking forward to seeing all the ways your daughters SHINE in 1-9!  Stay tuned…