Monthly Archives:March 2017

The Power of Play

Posted by on March 31, 2017

The Power of Play

The winter months are exciting as we prepare for the upcoming summer. Often we are asked, “so, what do you do in the off-season?” Believe it or not, this time of year can be just as busy as the summer months! We are meeting new and returning campers at camp fairs and open houses, putting together our staff team, checking out new program ideas and resources, and connecting with our camp family via various social media avenues. It is also a time of professional development as we take part in webinars and national and regional conferences so that we stay current with the latest trends in the industry.

One of the interesting themes we have noticed this year is talk around the power of playDr. Shimi Kang, a keynote speaker at the recent American Camp Association National Conference in Albuquerque and author of “The Self-Motivated Kid” talks about how play is directly linked to the development of the prefrontal cortex, which directs our highest levels of thinking and functioning. She goes on to say that play is so important to our survival that the impulse to play is just as fundamental as our impulse to sleep or eat. Play is also essential to the development of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, the skills needed for success in the 21st century. (Kang, 2014)The quote, “Play is the work of children,” takes on various forms and is contributed to Piaget, Maria Montessori, Fred Rogers, and other youth development experts.  Play isn’t exactly a novel concept at Camp Woodland – Mr. Jordan was a huge proponent of the power of play at camp!  Here are some of the ways we foster play throughout the summer:

  • Taking advantage of the outdoor playground all around us! There are sticks, leaves, rocks, etc. that can provide hours of creative thought and play.
  • Opportunities for camper performances at weekly campfires, the annual Lip Sync Contest, and promotional skits at assembly are various “stages” for true colors to shine!
  • Tetherball and other pick-up games are available for free time where campers often collaborate and make up their own rules.

  • Cards and board games provide great fun for cabins during rest hour and at nighttime.
  • The Woodland Drama class uses their creativity and imagination to design props, sets, and costumes for drama productions.
  • Arts and Crafts classes provide starting materials for an idea; it is amazing how each camper develops them into a unique project.

  • Campers use innovation and resourcefulness to plan theme events for evening activities and Sunday’s. Gymnastics mats become elaborate mazes for Camper Council Night, a giant painted rock is the infamous “Mother Lode” for Gold Rush Day, and soccer goals turn into the “jail” for Woodland Fair.  “Minute-To-Win-It” games were a big hit in 2016!
  • Cabin night is another opportunity for campers and counselors to improvise fun things to do.  Jumping on the Aqua Tramp or getting involved in an game of tag always make for a good time!


“It’s happy talent to know how to play”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Driftwood!

Posted by on March 17, 2017

Best Moments from Driftwood:

What is one moment at camp you will never forget?

Bunny: When I arrived and saw camp for the very first time.

Valentina: When I went on the banana boat with friends.

Valeria: When I was dancing too much and fell on Tory’s tennis racket; we all started laughing.

Tory: The first time I got up slalom on 1 ski; it was really hard, but I did it.

Rachel: I will never forget the moment I rode on a horse.  It was one of the best moments EVER!

What is something adventurous you did this summer?

Bunny: I tried kneeboarding.

Valentina: When I went on my canoe trip across the lake.

Valeria: When I shot a gun and waterskied  for the first time.

Tory: When we went exploring on our canoe trip and found a bunch of cool things.

Rachel: I water-skiied for the first time this summer.  It was really scary at first, but I love it!

What is an achievement for which you are most proud?

Bunny: I got a bullseye in riflery.

Valentina: I passed my level 4 in swimming and now I can go in the deep end.

Valeria: I worked hard to pass my level in swimming so that I could water ski.  It was hard but amazing!

Tory: I won sail race my 2nd time skippering.

Rachel: I am most afraid of passing out of level 4 swimming.  I have so many more opportunities.

What did you learn most about yourself this summer?

Bunny: I can survive a month away from home.

Valentina: that I’m not that complicated and I’m proud to have family.

Valeria: I can do things I thought I couldn’t.

Tory: I can do anything if I try and work on it.

Rachel: I learned that I can do anything I put my mind to.


From Camper to Counselor – Meet Daphne

We are proud to welcome Daphne to our Camp Woodland Staff!  Daphne will be a  Junior Counselor this ,and she grown up through Camp Woodland program, including our prestigious 2 year Counselor-in-Training program.  Please read her poem about all of her summers spent at camp!

Where I’m From

I am from the north woods, raised with my sisters, running wild with the dreamers surrounding me

I am from laughter under the pine trees as the sun peeks through the Climax forest

I am from splashing and smiling with the lake gnomes in cold-coffee stained Sand Lake

I am from “the wind through your hair and the excitement” of winning a sail race

I am from the pounding of hooves through the clearing in the woods.

Daphne helping campers during field games

And the bang of a gun as the bullet leaves the barrel, whizzes through the air, and finds its mark in the center of the target

I am from the crackle and pop of the always dancing flames of the fire next to the glass lake, reflecting the picturesque sunset

The roasting of marshmallows and the gooeyness of the first bite of that perfect s’more

I am from walking into the lodge every meal and knowing exactly what we are having to eat

I am from dancing and singing without a care in the world

I am from early mornings and late nights, talking with my cabin mates for hours about anything and everything, trusting them completely because I know they will always be there for me, like I will always be there for them

I am from camp, and nothing is stronger than a camp family’s bond

Daphne & 2nd year CITs helping during parents weekend