Monthly Archives:August 2015

A Priceless Gift To Give My Daughter

It happened again. You know the look. You know the comments. And this time it was from another mom who I respect, has a great attitude, and is raising wonderful children. My daughter, Maya, and I were talking with a friend and her daughter about Maya’s summer camp experience at Woodland.

Maya: “…And next summer I want to go back for six weeks.”

Other mom gasps loudly: “I would never let you go for that long, Sweetie!” (hugging her daughter tightly)

Other mom’s daughter: “I would never want to go for that long, Mom.” (hugging back and smiling)


Okay, I know the drill. I went to Woodland for eight weeks when I was nine. I went for ten summers after that for eight weeks. There was never a two week or four week session when I attended. There was a reason for the long session. The same magic in terms of growth, confidence, and perseverance just can’t happen in two weeks. I remember Anne Jordan explaining it to me when I was a counselor during pre-camp. The same way she explained to me when I was a camper that if she let me call my mom during camp not only would I not feel better, I would feel worse. She was right on both accounts.


Now, as a mother who has experienced the loss of a child, I don’t think I would have sent my daughter if Woodland did not have a two week session. I am grateful for the shortened option because now both Maya and I will be better prepared for the separation next summer.

So, what to do about these parents who would “never” let their daughters go to camp for so long? The ones who tell me they love their daughters too much to let them go. Do they understand they are implying I do not love my child? Some seem to think we are somehow damaging our children by sending them away from us for several weeks.


I know the best response to this is to dismiss it and not care what anyone else thinks. Most of the time I can remember what camp did for me, and let go. Every once in a while, though, I start to question my choice. I am “losing” all this time I could have with my daughter. How can I send her away and let other people take care of her for so long? Will she be okay? Will she get hurt? Will she feel alone when I am not there for her?

All these questions bring me back to three things: my own practical life experience at camp, inner strength, and faith.

Silver Birch Maya

I know the gifts camp gave me: confidence in myself in areas other than sports, meaningful and deep lifetime friendships, LOTS of time in nature, and exposure to activities I would not have had at home. Why wouldn’t I want to give this to my daughter?

Knowing how it enriched my life, how could I not let her go? When I am clear about this, I know it truly is a priceless gift to give my daughter. But our society and culture seem so different now than when I was a child. The parenting is different, the activity level is different, and what our children are exposed to is different. It seems to me that it takes more than the knowledge that extended overnight camp is a valuable experience in order to take the plunge. It takes inner strength and faith.


It takes the strength to dismiss the other parents’ reactions – respecting what they need to do in their own families -while calling upon the gifts I received from attending camp. It takes the faith that my daughter will be taken care of well. It will be different from how she is taken care of at home, and this is okay, even good. She will have camp sisters to help her through the hard times. It takes faith (still working on this one) to know if I don’t get a call home from JoAnne, everything is fine. It might not be perfect, but it is fine.


Let’s face it: Six weeks can be a long time to be separated from our children. I am relatively certain Maya did better in the two weeks we were away from each other than I did. Seeing her again, and having her home again is wonderful. Even in the short time of two weeks I noticed subtle changes; growth that I’m pretty sure would not have occurred for her if she was at home attending a day camp.

If you’re reading this, you already understand the gift of extended overnight camp for your daughter. But for anyone who still has insecurity or doubts when other parents’ comments come your way, just know you are not alone. We are in this together. And that is just one more gift Camp Woodland gives us all.

by Susan Austin Short, Woodland Alum and Parent

Maya and Regina

Dear JoAnne,


Dear JoAnne, 

Ever since my daughter returned home from camp, she refuses to wear anything that isn’t Woodland blue or tie-dyed.  All she talks about is the fun she had at camp, stories about her cabin mates, and how many days there are until camp next summer.  She claims that she hears a bell ringing periodically throughout the day.  She won’t stop singing camp songs or looking at the online photos on the Woodland website.  She even makes her bed every morning and asks if she can “hop” during dinner.  She insists that I ask you for Susan’s lasagna recipe and is now putting ketchup on potato chips.  Help!  Can you please explain to me what is going on with my daughter?

 A Concerned Parent

sick-teddy-bear.jpgDear Woodland Parent,

Thanks for your letter; I can assure you that what your daughter is experiencing right now sounds like a typical case of  “campsickness”.  Not to worry…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  I receive calls and emails from parents every year at this time wondering what is happening to their camper(s).  Trust me, campsickness is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that your daughter(s) had an AMAZING summer, and they are sad to leave their camp friends.  It is normal to miss the nonstop activity and fun that camp offers at every turn.  Coming home to an empty room can be a bit of a shock after the excitement of constant interaction with a community of girls.

I have every confidence that she will adjust to being at home again; it just takes a little time.  You can let her know that we will be corresponding with her (and you!) over the course of the winter via mail, email, and various social media.  There are all kinds of ways she can stay connected to our camp family, and before you know it, we will be headed to Woodland for another fantastic summer!

Woodland Love,


p.s. The theme for 2016 is: Everything Clicks in 1-6!


It’s A Camp Thing…You Wouldn’t Understand!

Posted by on August 6, 2015

Bug juice, s’mores, sleeping in a bunk bed, sharing a bathroom with 10 other people, getting canteen at Rec Swim, being the “hopper” at meals, playing tetherball, shaving your legs at the spigot, running to get your mail after lunch, hanging out at rest hour, and putting ketchup on chips at Sunday night picnic are just a FEW things that many people who don’t go to camp or who have never been to camp just wouldn’t understand.

Here are few other examples to further illustrate my point:


You can never have too many friendship bracelets!


What is your favorite color of Crocs?!


Rain boots are not just for rainy days!


Everything is better tie-dyed!


Special talents that only make sense at weekly campfire challenges…


Dressing up like TP boys for a campfire skit


Showing your Olympic Spirit


 Hard core for both teams!

5 emotions

Clown Contest for Woodland Fair


It’s Time for Spoon Assassins!

p.s. “It’s a Camp Thing” is the theme for Co-Ed Show 2015!

Taking Reservations for 2016

Posted by on August 3, 2015

Haley, our nurse from Tennessee and now Texas, told me that she wanted to go to a true Wisconsin fish fry before heading home at the end of the summer.  So, after polling a few people at the staff table for the BEST place to go for Friday Fish Fry, we decided to try the Honey Bear Inn in Eagle River.  When we pulled into the parking lot before 5:00 pm (we were told that we had to get there early), it was PACKED beyond belief!  Evidently, the only parking space that was guaranteed was the one posted on the sign below.


Haley then got out of the car and went inside to ask how long the wait would be and came back saying that it would be 45 min – 1 hour.  Since we had baby Emy with us, we thought better of waiting for an extended period and ended up going back to Woodland.  I guess we will have to leave camp earlier next time!

Sport Pack Little Girl

Elmer and Barb are not the only ones who have their spot reserved – you can, too! 

It is hard to believe that we are heading into the last week of summer 2015 – it has gone by really fast!  The good news is that you don’t have to wait to enroll your camper(s) for summer 2016.  You can reserve your spot now and take advantage of our early enrollment promotion for all 2015 campers!  Just fill out the application before or when you come to camp to pick up your daughter(s) next weekend (or mail it in by August 9th).  The deposit is $250 (instead of the usual $500) and there is a 5% discount on next year’s tuition.  On top of that great deal, we are giving out a special Woodland Sport Pack as a thank-you for taking advantage of this one-time offer!

Early Enrollment Application

p.s. The theme for 2016 is: Everything Clicks in 1-6!