Monthly Archives:July 2014

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This!

Posted by on July 29, 2014


Jenna, Sarah, and Lorenza from Driftwood Cabin

It is unfortunate that part of my duties yesterday included driving the Driftwood girls and their counselors to Cathy’s Ice Cream (they really had to twist my arm!) during cabin night as a reward for being “Clean Freaks” for a second week this summer.   After everyone agonized over their choice of ice cream flavor (Rainbow Sherbet, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Caramel Collision, Pirate’s Booty, and Superman made the final cut), we all ended up sitting outside at one of the tables on the deck.  I noticed that Lorenza was particularly “bubbly” and happy, and she announced to the group that this was the BEST DAY EVER!  It didn’t seem right to leave it at that, so I asked her to share what it was that made it such a great day.  She proceeded to recap her day with:

Breakfast: was AMAZING because we had donuts!

1st period: We got to do a “show” in swimming, and I love doing shows…and the water was SO warm!

2nd period: I finished my project in Arts and Crafts (a jewelry box), and it turned out to be AWESOME.

3rd period: I challenged another camper in tennis, and I lost, but it was so much FUN!  And, Jenny, my instructor told me how much I have improved over the summer, and that made me feel really good.

Lunch: We taught Sarah H. how to eat tacos (with the appropriate tilt of the head) so that you “bring the taco to your mouth and not your mouth to the taco.”


Lorenza, Sofia, and Ana Marta on Driftwood’s Canoe Trip

4th period: I had a blast during Rec Swim because I helped the CIT’s learn our Song Contest entry since they will be performing it at Co-Ed Show later this week.  And, it was fun just being able to hang out with my friends at the beach.

5th Period: Sailing was cool because I made my first mooring (kind of like “parking” the boat”) and we got to play Sponge Tag.

6th period: I enjoyed laughing and singing a funny song during Multi-Media while working on our project.  I wrote, “If I could change one thing about camp, it would be to have camp last 8 weeks instead of 6!” for my journal entry.

Dinner: Was really AWESOME because we had grilled cheese sandwiches, and I LOVE grilled cheese!

Evening Activity: Cabin night is one of my favorite evening programs, and it is so GREAT that we are all enjoying ice cream and hanging out together at Cathy’s.  IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!

After Lorenza shared an hour-by-hour account of her day, each of the other Driftwood girls followed suit and told what made their day FANTASTIC as well.


Driftwood Cabin at Cathy’s

As I sat back to take in what each girl was sharing in her report of a most awesome day, it occurred to me that this is what I LOVE about the last week of camp.  It is now pay-off time for all of the hard work the girls have put in during the first five weeks.  This last week is really FUN because the girls have been doing their activities daily for over a month now, and they can see the results of the skill progression that occurs when you work at something for an extended period of time.  That feeling of SUCCESS is what makes camp EXTRA SPECIAL in the days we have left.  Campers are fully aware of the short amount of time that remains for this summer, and they want to make the most of EVERY MINUTE they have together!



Best Summer Ever by Sarah H.

Posted by on July 26, 2014

Sarah H and Jenna  IMG_0010_2

I heard as a kid that life is all about making memories that last your whole life through.  Growing up I paid no attention to the deeper meaning behind that saying.  I lived in a place where money was no issue.  The houses in my neighborhood all looked the same.  But, our house had something special because it was situated at the base of a mountain, and we had a garden and an endless forest for a backyard.

I grew up traipsing and running around in the woods without a care in the world.  But recently my universe came crashing down.  We moved to a city that wasn’t in the mountains; it was a four hour drive to get back to the forest and giant garden.  When my aunt suggested that I go to a camp in the middle of the Northwoods of Wisconsin, I was all in.  My summer was starting to look a whole lot brighter!

Gigi and Sarah H at the Waterfront


On the drive to camp, I was a nervous wreck.  I had no idea of the magic Camp Woodland held within.  I have found my home here.  I have made friends that I will forever cherish and love.  I have met people who have altered my view on the world.  And, most importantly, I have made memories I will always hold close to my heart.  Camp is about letting go of what society expects of you and being yourself.

Living with seven other people for 6 weeks can be hard, but in the end, you come out loving them more than you might think.  Everyday I wake up and go to tennis, which is a sport I never thought I would like, but I love it!  People say that Camp Woodland is magic, and I firmly believe that.  It has the magic to give you the best summer ever.  So for that, thank you Camp Woodland!

Sarah H.

3rd generation camper

Sarah with her cabin at Pancake Breakfast


Summer Learning Surplus 2

Posted by on July 24, 2014

So often, we hear about the learning loss that occurs during the summer from having too much time away from school.  As a teacher who has spent 25+ summers at camp, I would like to propose that children who go to summer camp, actually experience just the opposite.  Kids who spend their summer at camp have a learning surplus.  While I do not have any specific data to back this claim, I can share with you my observations from enjoying more than a quarter of a century with kids in the camp environment (including 3 weeks at Camp Woodland this summer!).

Andrea, Isa, and Ana Pau at the Moss Garden

Moss Garden

  • Math: Friendships formed, skills learned, donuts consumed on Saturday mornings, mosquito bites, laughter and smiles…too many to count!
  • Science: When the outdoors is the classroom, campers learn about the natural environment at every turn.  They take hikes in the forest and look for the “stinky” tree,  jump on a bed of moss at the Moss Garden, go fishing, visit the bog, search for Lost Lake or the Enchanted Forest, take care of the animals at Farm Zoo, plant flowers and a garden, participate in camp-wide recycling, watch an eagle soar overhead, catch a glimpse of a deer darting into the woods, hear the loons calling to one another across the lake, observe a mother duck and her ducklings swim near the water’s edge, cook over a fire and sleep in a tent while on a canoe trip, gaze at the stars without the interference of city lights, see a full moon blaze its trail across the lake…just to name a few!

Starshine on Gold Rush Day

Starshine Goldrush

  • History: Camp traditions such as Opening Campfire, Gold Rush, Camp Birthday, Olympics, and Banquet are some of the lessons learned as they are passed on from generation to generation of Woodland campers.
  • Government/Leadership: From the youngest to the oldest, all campers are given the opportunity to be leaders during their stay at camp.  Cabins take turns being charge of planning various all-camp events, including the Camper Council activity for Friday night and Inspiration Hour on Sunday morning.  When an event calls for a station rotation, the girls are responsible for explaining their “game” to each group.  The oldest campers are Counselors-in-Training (or CIT’s), and they  dedicate an hour each day to leadership training that helps them prepare for their future role as a counselor.  These girls also rotate being “Officer-of-the-Day” (OD) and learn about camp from the administrative perspective as well as assuming responsibilities in activities when counselors have a day off.
  • Language: Writing letters home to family and friends is a favorite rest hour pastime.  Woodland girls learn about diversity and are exposed to different cultures as campers/staff come from various states and countries.

Lindsay reading a book to her cabin

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  • Reading: Campers often read books from home during rest hour or at Rec Swim while sitting on the deck overlooking the beach.  Counselors also choose an age-appropriate book and read a story to the entire cabin as part of the nightly routine.
  • Physical Fitness: Camp doesn’t happen sitting down!  Campers are playing tennis, doing gymnastics, swimming, sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing/paddle-boarding, canoeing, riding horses, sharpening skills at archery or riflery, dancing, walking to and from activities, running to get their mail, and skipping (just because they can)!
  • Music: The “official” time and a favorite activity is to sing after every evening meal and at weekly campfires.  Campers sing “unofficially” while out on a sailboat, during a trail ride, at the start of various activities (“I’m Alive, Alert, Awake, Enthusiastic!”), and just about anywhere and anytime during the camp day.  Song Contest is the highlight at the end of the 3rd week; cabins work together and change the words to a popular song and choreograph moves to tell their story of the summer.

1st Session Drama

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  • Performing Arts: Girls have the opportunity to be in dance, gymnastics, and/or drama performances that are put on for the entire camp every 2 weeks; they also act out skits each week at campfires.  The girls taking drama also design and build their own sets and utilize the drama closet resources to assemble their costume selections.  Put it all together, and the end product is one fabulous production!
  • Creative Arts:  Imaginations run wild during arts and crafts classes at camp!  From memory boxes to crayon prints and bottle decorating, campers are encouraged to be creative and think outside the box with every project.  Don’t be surprised if you happen to see a cabin group dressed as “nerds” or wearing a their underwear on the outside of their clothing to assembly – it is all part of the Woodland spirit that is celebrated at any given moment!

Lizzy and Lu making Memory Boxes

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  • Health: The Woodland camp community has the luxury of eating 3 well-balanced meals together each day, 7 days a week.  Not only is the food delicious, but being able to enjoy a leisurely dining experience in a family setting is a real treat!  The cabin bonding that occurs during meals is nourishment for the soul as many stories and accomplishments are shared through conversations within each cabin group.
  • Computer: OK, you got me on this one!  This is the only area where there is a deficit (but in a good way)!  We are able to accomplish all of the above without one smartphone, laptop, e-reader, TV, or other electronic device.  Being “unplugged” for 6 weeks is heavenly, and I highly recommend it!

So, as you can see, there is no such thing as learning loss while spending an amazing summer at camp!  The typical day at camp is packed with learning experiences that are EVEN BETTER than a typical day at school.  And that is coming straight from the keyboard of a math teacher!!!

Kim Wenzl Aycock, MST

Too Many Friends To Count!


Star Search Comes to Camp Woodland!

Posted by on July 23, 2014

Star Search Team


This week some unusual visitors “dropped by” on their coast-to-coast search for STAR CAMP STAFF, and Woodland being one of the premier summer camps in the US, was the perfect place for them to find the STARRIEST and SPARKLIEST staff around!  Once campers helped the Star Search Team spot and locate star staff, they got their picture taken, signed the Woodland “Hall of Fame”, and were given a special treat since they were “bursting with stardom” (a.k.a. Starburst candy!).

Star Staff Rachel, Sarah, and Alex at Rec Swim


The 3 agents on this important assignment found their first Star Staff, Allison, preparing for her overnight canoe trip with Starshine cabin.  The next stop was the riflery range where Star Staff Cami was teaching the girls at one of their favorite target sport activities.  The team encountered a constellation of Star Staff at the Waterfront: Natalie and Grace C were headed out for an afternoon sailing period, and Tori, Ceci, Alex, Sarah, and Rachel were getting into position for Rec Swim.  Meanwhile, Star Staff Susan, Grace W, and Courtney were teaching campers how to water-ski.

Star Riding Staff Bobby


The next Star Staff encounter was in the office where Wendy, Racquel, Alysia, and Calla were busy with preparations for Olympics and other important camp business.  Star Staff Jenny was in the Rec Hall meeting with the 18 girls who signed up for Drama 3rd session.  From here the Search Team found Star Staff Bobby, Suz, and Sam teaching riding.  Girls were practicing their steering skills (without using the reins) and trotting.

Star Riding Staff Sofia, Courtney, Fer, Paige, and Erina


Once the bell rang for 5th period, Star Staff Fer de Maria was on her way to Arts and Crafts, while Paige, Courtney, Sofia, and Erina made their way to the next fun adventure with campers.  Star Staff Lindsay was found working on Co-Ed Show moves and Star Staff Dan (and Cook Extraordinaire) was in the kitchen making Congo Bars and getting ready for Taco Bar.  It was reported that Star Staff Amanda, April, and Brianna were in on making a camper favorite, lasagne, for lunch.  Rumor had it that Star Ancillary Staff Chet had a much deserved day off!

Star Staff (and Cook Extraordnaire) Dan


The campers (without any prompting) have decided to award “Counselor of the Day” in a similar fashion to the “Camper of the Day” recognition that is given by the Happy Hostess every morning at assembly.  We have a WONDERFUL group of counselors and staff this year, and we can’t THANK them enough for all they do!!!

Woodland Counselors and Staff, WE LOVE YOU!

J*, Lee, and Kim

On Top of the World!!

We just finished the end of the 4th Week of the camp and these girls are on top of the World!!!  The girls are in their groove – excelling in activities, working as a team to accomplish larger than life goals, and just having fun being themselves! Every week at camp we have a “theme” that we strive to use in our daily camp routine.  Week 4’s theme was all about “Trust”.  Trust in themselves to work towards levels they never passed before. Trust in their cabin mates to try new group activities:

Overnight canoe trips


Zip line at the Ropes Course

ropes course14

Trust Walks in our Exclusive Climax Forest



A lot of these experiences would not be as fun without girls knowing each other for the last 4weeks. It’s amazing to see such  growth in such a short period of time. The 4th week of camp is also about celebration.  Celebrating the years every girl has been coming to camp:

  • First, we mark the celebration by every camper getting a wood medallion with their name, summer theme, and years at camp.
  • Secondly, we all get dressed up for the big birthday bash (yes dresses, hair do’s and all) where we eat dinner and fancy birthday cake!
  • Lastly, we have a ceremony to honor all the girls who have attended camp for 5 years (sterling silver pendants) and for 10 years (Camp Woodland logo blankets).  These items will be cherished forever as many of our alumni still wear their pendants proudly at alumni events.

Thank you Jordan Family for running this most cherished camp for 45 Years!  This is a special place that so many kids call their “summer home”.  Thank you Parents for keeping this tradition going and proudly letting everyone know how special camp is to your children.

Camp Birthday Honorees

camp birthday