Monthly Archives:July 2015

This Is How We Summer!

Posted by on July 10, 2015

Walmart Sign

If I am not mistaken, we just celebrated the 4th of July holiday less than a week ago?!  I thought so!  So, you can understand why I was taken aback upon seeing the above sign while I was shopping yesterday for a few things I will need for a month at camp.  I have a feeling that Halloween and Christmas decorations will soon follow.  UGH!  Another reminder of how commercialism tends to RUSH things a bit!

How we do summer

So, I’m going to suggest that we have “Back to Camp” signs and enjoy the time of year that we have all been waiting for instead.  After all, the summer is just getting started!  We are only at the end of the 2nd week, and so there is a lot more AWESOME to come.  I think the slogan from Vineyard Vines, “This is how we Summer”, speaks better of what we do at camp.  From Wednesday cookout to crazy costumes and kissing the bunnies at Farm Zoo to cabin jammie parties…THIS IS HOW WE SUMMER at Woodland!


Wednesday Cookout


Crazy Costumes

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Kissing Bunnies at Farm Zoo

StarshineJammies in Starshine Cabin


Hairbrushes and High School Musical make for a FUN day!

Posted by on July 8, 2015

Driftwood sings “Breaking Free” from High School Musical

In case you didn’t know, it never rains at Camp Woodland for Girls!  We just get a little (or a lot) of “dew” as the case was on Monday.  Woodland Girls do not let a little gray weather dampen our spirits…the “show must go on”!  One of the most highly anticipated rainy day activities is the ever popular Lip Sync Contest.  I can remember dry summers when we actually got to the 4th or 5th week of camp and the campers were praying for a “dewey” day just so that they could have the Lip Sync Contest!


Sunny side performs to “Work This Out” from High School Musical

High School Musical was popular for song selections by several cabins for this year’s contest.  Both Driftwood and Sunnyside performed a number to one of HSM’s hit tunes.  Lip Sync Contest is the perfect cabin bonding activity.  With the help of their counselors, campers negotiate which song will be chosen for the performance, and then they must come together to decide on costumes, props, and dance moves.  It is not unusual to see hairbrushes used as microphones and other interesting items appear such as a broom and dustpan.  As you can see from the smiling faces in each picture, the annual Lip Sync Contest is a ton of FUN!


Treetops uses hairbrushes and towels for props

Because Monday was a “dewey” day all around, the afternoon was spent doing another favorite cabin activity called the “Human Treasure Hunt”.  Cabins rack up points in a number of categories, and the cool thing is that the more diverse a group is, the more points they can earn.  For example, campers with half, step, or adopted siblings add bonus points to their team.  First year campers and anyone born outside of the USA also contribute extra points.  Having a dog for a pet is awesome, but it only gets counted once towards the total score even if there are 12 dogs in the group.  If someone has an iguana or other unique animal for a pet, then the score increases.  Human Treasure Hunt is a really awesome way to learn about your cabinmates and appreciate each person’s contributions to the group as a whole.


Silver Birch is singing to their “Future Husbands”

p.s. The sun came back out on Tuesday, and it has been “business as usual” ever since.  Another gorgeous week in the Northwoods!

“Inside Out” Speaks the Language of Camp

Posted by on July 5, 2015

Inside Out

As I was traveling this past month working with various camps around the country and facilitating staff training, some good friends of mine asked me if I had seen the movie, “Inside Out.”  Since I had barely glimpsed the news in multiple weeks at that point, I had to admit that I really didn’t have a clue what it was about.  They both looked at me and said, “You HAVE to go see this movie – it speaks the language of camp!”


After seeing “Inside Out” this weekend, I couldn’t agree with my friends more!  Riley (an 11-year old girl) and her imaginary friend from year’s past (Bing-Bong) won my heart as Riley’s 5 emotions (Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear) desperately fought to keep control of the stress of moving to a new town.  I had a front row seat into the complexity of the human mind of a child and how conflicting emotions make it challenging to navigate every day life.  This movie did a great job of depicting a young person from the “Inside Out.”


It was a good reminder of how each child comes to camp with lots of “stuff” that plays into their adjustment regardless of being a new or seasoned camper.  Experiences and relationships from home, school, and beyond help shape the core fabric of each camper.  Because we take the business of youth development seriously, we are interested in learning about each girl beyond the surface level.  The first two weeks are important in that way as the counselors and staff get to know your daughter(s) and begin to discover the uniqueness each camper brings to the cabin group and camp community.  We are working hard to know each girl from the “Inside Out”!


Every Day is Independence Day at Woodland

Posted by on July 3, 2015

happy birthday usa

Happy Independence Day!  I remember my very first year as a counselor at Woodland in 1986 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 shuttle to drive to the boys camp.

Lizzy G

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.

TP 4th

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 (the 2nd activity sign-up is next 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 growing time away from family and friends from home
  • the time to be away from stresses and worries and have more FUN than you ever imagine!

3 campers

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


The Exception Is the Norm at Woodland!

Posted by on July 1, 2015


This past Saturday, I just happened to be passing through Chicago’s O’Hare Airport a few hours after the bus left with eager campers headed to the Northwoods of Wisconsin for the start of summer 2015.  Had my flight been a little earlier, I may have joined them for the ride to one of my favorite places on Earth! Lucky for me, travel plans will bring me to Rhinelander in about 10 days.

Having a little bit of time to kill before boarding my connecting flight to Houston, I wandered through the B Concourse looking for a tasty meal.  As I meandered past travelers hustling and bustling about, I passed by a family of four playing cards.  I did a double-take.  At some point in the not too distant past, this would NOT have struck me as being unusual; however, I was taken in by their sense of togetherness and enjoyment.


I actually got a huge smile on my face as I walked by because I did not see one technological device at this amazing scene of happiness.  No phone, e-Reader, laptop, iPod, Beats headphones…nada.  I saw four people truly enjoying each other’s company, and YES, they were LAUGHING!  I could only imagine that they were having a great time together – 2 parents and their 2 teenage children.  What a cool sight to see!  How sad, though, that this has become the exception and not the norm.


I continued to traverse the concourse to find my meal of choice and told myself that I would actually say something to this exceptional family should they still be at the same table upon my return.  After grabbing some healthy fast-food (ha!) and making my way to the gate area, this family was STILL playing cards and Mom was in the process of taking pictures of Dad and kids.


I decided that this was my chance to approach them and offer to be the photographer so that Mom could also be in the picture.  I told them that they had just MADE MY DAY merely by their choice of spending REAL “FaceTime” together in the airport when most people barely even notice the person(s) sitting next to them.  Many travelers keep their thumbs busy while waiting for their flight to be called or they retreat to their “zone” while listening to music being piped in via headphones.  It was imperative that I take their family picture so that this rare occasion could be documented!  This family had actually decided to engage with each for the 2-3 hours while waiting for a delayed flight – how refreshing!


On my way back to wait for my own flight, I couldn’t help but reflect on how spending REAL “FaceTime” at camp is the NORM and not the EXCEPTION.  While it may seem unsettling at first for you and your daughter(s) to be physically and technologically separated while away at camp, it is crucial to the adjustment process.  Campers will become more fully immersed into the camp experience if they are completely “unplugged” and able to jump into the process of making new friends without the distractions from a myriad of screens.


With the help of the amazing Woodland counselors and staff, campers are forming relationships with the girls in their cabin and activities this week.  They are singing and dancing and laughing together (minus the milk coming out of their nose!).  The best thing you can do to connect with your daughter is to send an upbeat letter from home via “snail mail” or Bunknotes.  Don’t be surprised if you get a return reply saying how much fun she is having in her new summer home and community.  This is the NORM at Woodland, not the EXCEPTION!