Camp Woodland Blog

Red, White and BOOM Campfire

Posted by on July 8, 2020

There is a great tradition in the Northwoods of Wisconsin that has been going on for many, many years.  It’s called the annual “Red, White & BOOM Campfire.”  It was hard to fathom or envision how this tradition would continue with Camp Quarantine 2020 and camp not functioning as it normally does with the hustle and bustle of campers and counselors here.  Thankfully, there is another tremendous tradition that resonates among these tall white pine trees here at Towering Pines Camp for Boys and Camp Woodland for Girls.  What you ask might this be?  It’s called RESILIENCE!!

At camp when a challenge presents itself or something doesn’t quite work out as planned, a subtle intention begins to emerge.  At first it’s a thought bubble that can almost be seen ruminating above the heads of those involved, and then it becomes a full out light bulb that illuminates brightly and creates a stir.  Before you know it, we’ve grabbed hold, and we aren’t letting go until we bring the idea into fruition, and it’s a full out event!!  Hence the very first “Virtual Red, White & BOOM Campfire!!”

Camp is all about learning how to adapt, how to adjust, and how to grow during times of adversity.  That’s part of the what makes camp a spectacular place to spend our summers!!  Campers learn from watching counselors and leadership staff take life’s failures and adversities and turn these into “shining” moments and successes albeit maybe not how we originally envisioned these.  This skill is invaluable and transfers into almost every aspect of life.

This year’s Red, White & BOOM Campfire was no different in that it was a tiny vision that became an idea, that turned into a reality via Zoom chat on July 1, 2020.  Those of you in attendance were the very first to experience this amazing twist on what is normally a gathering here at Towering Pines on July 4th in celebration of Independence Day.  Not even Camp Quarantine can keep brothers and sisters, camp friends and family from gathering to celebrate together and to experience what we all long for .  .  .  this camp bond that keeps us going throughout the year.

Songs were sung, skits were performed and even challenges were completed!!  Will & Calla served as  our campfire M.C.’s.  They carried us through a wonderful hour of camp traditions at their finest in what was just a change of venue since this all happened somehow magically through cyberspace.  How incredible that despite being in different locations all over the U.S. and even in other countries, we managed to come together as a camp family and carry on a tradition that we all know and love!!  There was even a fireworks show that elicited many “Ooohhhs, Aaahhhs and WONDERFULS!!”

The world may be in a strange and uncertain place right now, but some things remain the same—our camp friends and family are always here!!  As we close each campfire hand in hand when we are physically together, so we held on tightly to one another in our hearts.

“Each campfire lights anew the flame of friendship true. The joys we’ve had in knowing you will last our whole lives through.” (Excerpt from Woodland closing campfire song)

“By Nokomis rippling waters where our campfire bright, keeps the flames of friendship burning in our hearts tonight.” (Excerpt from Towering Pines closing campfire song)

A Little Woodland Dew for Summer 2020

Posted by on May 23, 2020

To the Camp Woodland and Towering Pines Family,

First of all, we thank you for your patience as you (and your campers) have been anxiously waiting for information about camp this summer. We wish there was an easy way to share hard news. We are heartbroken that we are writing to inform you that we will not be opening Camp Woodland and Towering Pines for the 2020 season. Without a doubt, this has been the most difficult decision we have ever had to make. We know that your sons and daughters need camp now more than ever. Camp is the bright spot that keeps us going all year and is a happy place for so many.

We want you to know that we have been coming together as a leadership team for the past several months to explore every possible way of how to make camp happen during these unprecedented times. We have listened to and read regulatory guidance from the CDC and the American Camp Association. We have been on weekly calls with camp directors in our region to process information and share ideas. We have been in contact with medical professionals and state and local health departments. We have consulted with our camp representative in Mexico to keep abreast of the situation there and the ability for travel to the US. We came up with an innovative plan to use our greatest asset – having 2 camps on separate properties. After a call on Friday with the county health department, the recommendation was made that overnight camps should not open for the 2020 season. With that news, the decision to operate camp this summer, though difficult, became clear.

We always say that it never rains at camp, but rather we have Woodland or TP “dew”. We welcome a morning to sleep in a little longer and mosey down to the lodge for a delayed breakfast. Cabin clean-up is extended while we await the news of the exciting events that will allow for a change of routine in our daily schedule. We are thrilled to have the much-anticipated Lip Sync Contest, TP Casino Day or Woodland Spa. We delight in the opportunity to put on rainboots and a slicker coat and grab an umbrella as we head out the door to splash through some puddles along the way to the Rec Hall. The “dewy” weather does not dampen our spirits. We are refreshed by a change of pace and appreciate the sunshine a little more when it returns.

We know that this news may temporarily place a cloud in the sky of our typical bright and sunny summer. We also know that there are still lots of questions to answer, so we will be in touch shortly with information on tuition refunds and available rollover options.

We wish to thank all of you for your trust in us and for being so supportive and encouraging during this most difficult time. As disappointing as this must be for you and your sons and daughters, our wish is that we can weather the “dew” while looking forward with excitement to the sunshine the Summer of 2021 will bring.

Woodland and Towering Pines Love,

JoAnne, Susan, Jeff & Jenny

Meet-Your-Neighbors Bundt Cake

Posted by on March 16, 2020

I was asked recently to share a recipe with a friend of ours whose son is getting married in May. This Mom is wanting to put together a really special book for the engaged couple that is a compilation of recipes from family and friends. Per the instructions for this project, the story that goes with the recipe was also to be included.

My first thought was to choose a recipe with the fewest ingredients. Something simple. Something that is easy to make (and to write) but really yummy. Besides, who has time to cook these days? So, I open up my recipe box and quickly put my fingers on a 7-ingredient bundt cake. I make this without fail every time we have company because it is a guaranteed winner. Bingo!

Double bingo because when I thought about the story behind the bundt cake recipe, a huge smile came to my face. This is perfect. This is what every bride and groom need as they start their new life together. This chocolate bundt cake was how we met our neighbors when we moved to Augusta, GA, when my husband was stationed at Fort Gordon in 2009.

A New Neighborhood

I remember making the journey from Mississippi to Georgia after Jeff finished dental school with our 2 dogs and spending the night on an air mattress in the 1920’s bungalow we purchased for the next phase of our married adventure. We were waiting for our furniture and goods to arrive, so it was like camping in our own house. Jeff reported to work the next day, and I anxiously awaited a multitude of boxes and “stuff” to be delivered so that I could set about making our house into a home.

Being Neighborly

Later that same day, I heard a knock on the door. When I checked to see who might be calling, I was greeted by a 6th grade boy and his 9th grade sister. Ben was proudly holding the mail that had collected in the days leading up to our arrival, and Ivey was carrying a still-warm-fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate bundt cake. “Hello! We live next door and  just wanted to stop by to welcome you to the neighborhood.” 

That simple gesture started a friendship with our neighbors that is still strong to this day (even though that was 4 moves ago). It is amazing how something so simple, yet so thoughtful and kind can be the spark that ignites a relationship. A friendship that strengthens for years to come. Neighbors who are now family.

Our Camp Neighborhood

How big is your neighborhood? At camp, there is a fun bunch of us. But if we compare our camp with all the camps in the US, it’s a very, very small neighborhood.

Our Earth is pretty big, right? It’s measured at 24,901 miles around the equator. However, when you compare the Earth to our solar system, it’s pretty small. Compare it to our larger galaxy, it’s smaller still.

For comparison sake, it would take you about 45 hours to circumnavigate the Earth on a plane. To get to Pluto and back, it would take 25 years and a really big rocket ship. To edge of our galaxy and back? That’s currently estimated at 220 million years.

So, when you compare it to the larger context, our Earth – our neighborhood – is pretty small. Mr. Fred Rogers touched on this a lot over his many decades of service. He didn’t care what you looked like, where you were from, or what was in your bank account. You were his neighbor and he treated you with kindness, patience, respect, and love. Period.

It is hard to believe that we are now a planet of around 7.8 billion people. Yet, we are all neighbors!

Neighbors Unite

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a virus in the neighborhood. We’ve got to work together to stamp it out.

This is not an opportunity to place blame. It’s an opportunity to realize that all of us in this tiny little neighborhood are in a fight against something that threatens us all. The good news? There are very simple and powerful ways to defeat it.

First, remain calm and patient. We humans have gotten through much worse. Secondly, wash your hands really well. If you aren’t sure how, here you go. The third is stay away from other people as much as you can for the time being, especially if you feel crummy.

Campers, we are most worried about those with challenged immune systems and the elderly. It would be neighborly of us to do our best to reduce the spread of this disease any way we can. (Here’s a great infographic that explains things well to young and old people alike.)

Woodland Neighbors

So, while this time is certainly strange for us, it’s also an opportunity to remember that we humans, despite our differences, are all neighbors. Let’s decide to be good ones for each other. You can start by making a “Meet-Your-Neighbors” Bundt Cake and taking it to people who live next door or across the street.

Heck, if enough of us bring a fresh-from-the-oven bundt cake to someone in our neighborhood in the days ahead, maybe that simple gesture will ignite into something more. When that happens (neighbors acting neighborly on a large scale), our Earth will feel a little bit more like a summer at Woodland.

this blog was inspired and adapted in part by camp friend, Cole Kelley

Meet-Your-Neighbors Bundt Cake (tastes best when made together as a family)

1 box yellow cake mix

1 small box instant chocolate pudding

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup oil

1 small container of vanilla yogurt

6 oz chocolate chips (I always add more!)

Mix together first 6 ingredients then add chocolate chips at the end. Pour into greased (and floured) bundt cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. If you really want to impress your neighbors, serve with vanilla ice cream and drizzle chocolate syrup on top.

 

Woodland/Towering Pines…Top 10 Summer Camps!

We’re extremely excited that camps Woodland for Girls and Towering Pines for Boys have been mentioned as two of the best summer camps in Wisconsin by The Summer Camp Hub!!  (Best Summer Camps in Wisconsin) This is a wonderful acknowledgment of what our brother/sister camps have to offer youth.

 

 

 

 

 

At Camps Woodland and Towering Pines we believe that it takes a lot of “slow to grow.”  This is why we choose to provide campers with a very unique six-week experience in which they have time to adjust to camp routines, schedules and group living.  After this period of “acclimation” kids have time to really extend themselves and explore within their daily activity areas, evening workshops (activities) and special events. Because of the expanded camp stay, kids find a comfort zone in which they feel safe to challenge themselves, and they have opportunities to “accelerate” in all areas of development.

 

 

 

 

 

In the last two weeks of camp this “acceleration” of learning translates into a wonderful time for campers to “celebrate.” They can see the progress they have made in so many areas.  It’s exciting for these youth to reflect not only on how much they’ve accomplished over the summer, but also on the personal growth they’ve experienced.

 

 

 

 

In the Summer Camp Hub article it mentions “kids enjoying childhood while learning valuable lessons. “The lessons learned at Woodland and TP are vast and varied because there isn’t a rush to push through.  Instead, campers have the time they need to practice daily what they are learning.  Additionally, they have the support of staff, counselors and peers to work through any challenges, successes and, yes, even failures, that accompany their personal journeys.

Woodland and Towering Pines camps are a wonderful place where young people have the opportunity to truly play so that the seeds of youth are able to develop and grow.  We’d love for your children to be able to share in the amazing camp traditions and the exciting new adventures that are about to transpire this summer!! Camp Woodland for Girls and Camp Towering Pines for Boys .  .  .  “A Place to Grow in 2-0.”

We want to thank The Summer Camp Hub for including Camp Woodland for Girls and Towering Pines Camp for Boys in their awesome blog!! (Best Summer Camps in Wisconsin)

Participate In I Heart Camp Day!


Our favorite time of year (during the winter) is almost here!!  February 1st (this Saturday) 
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, this Saturday 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: 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 Saturday, 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!