Monthly Archives:January 2020

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!

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)

Angie Wenzl Ziller

  • Mom at TP
  • Leadership Staff at TP/Office Manager
  • Marketing TP/Woodland
  • Assistant Waterfront Director at Woodland
  • Counselor at Woodland
  • “This is goodnight and not goodbye.”



Charting a Course for Life

by Alice Lurain (camper, staff, sailing director, alum)

Last July, I returned to Camp Woodland for the first time in 22 years. This small slice of heaven was the locus of my universe for 10 summers in the 1980s and 90s, and what struck me most the moment I turned onto Camp Road was how little it had changed. Despite the accelerated pace of modern life and the constant churn of new technology that alters the way we interact with our world and each other on a daily basis, Camp Woodland has remained wonderfully steadfast in its values and commitment to developing each girl’s sense of herself and nurturing independence, confidence, and good old-fashioned fun. Everywhere, this was in evidence – from the intricately choreographed song contest performances, to the quirky outfits and boundless enthusiasm for best-dressed cabin, to the Inspiration Hour led by Silver Birch Cabin.

For me, one of the most impactful experiences of the alumni weekend was sailing on Sand Lake. I still remember the sense of weightlessness, freedom, and elation I felt the first time I went out on a Woodland X-Boat at the age of 9; I couldn’t stop smiling and I never wanted that feeling to end. When I was a camper, I would have spent all 6 periods down at the waterfront, if they had let me. As it was, I could usually be found on a sailboat at least 3 hours a day. When I became Director of Sailing as a counselor, I could hardly believe that someone was paying me to do something I enjoyed so much. This notion that work and responsibility could exist in tandem with fun and self-determination is an invaluable lesson that I carried forward in life.

When I walked down to the Woodland waterfront to see the sun glinting off the waves and the boats bobbing on their moorings, I felt my chest expand and a lightness enter my being. The buddy board still hung reassuringly on the side of the beach house, and when I entered, the smell of sunblock mingling with wet towels, soggy life jackets, and
lake detritus and the scrape and crunch of sand on the red all-weather carpeting instantly transported me back through the decades. How many times had I changed in that very room, hurriedly pulling on a bathing suit so as not to miss one precious moment of sailing or swimming or water skiing? How many confidences had I shared with friends while changing for the next adventure? How much sand had I personally tracked in from the beach or swept back out with the broom? It was impossible to know.

During alumni weekend, I sailed a Minifish until it hummed with the perfect sail trim; I breezed by Camp Menominee, which always looked to me more like a resort than a summer camp; I wound my way through conversations about life and love with old friends as we tacked back and forth until even camp life seemed far away; I was admonished by
JoAnne, who drove out in the ski boat to tell me I shouldn’t sail in the cove. How many times did that happen over the years? It is impossible to know.

What I do know is that sailing continues to be an essential part of my life as an adult, not only as a recreational activity, but as way of investing myself in my community. For the past 11 years, I have been involved with a non-profit organization, called Hudson River Community Sailing. Its mission is to use sailing to teach science, math, and engineering concepts, build leadership skills, and support the academic and personal growth of underserved New York City high school students. Despite growing up on an island, many of our kids have never set foot on a boat and have certainly never thought of the Hudson River as a resource for recreation and learning. I have seen participation in this program literally change the direction of kids’ lives and the possibilities they see for their futures. When we head out from the docks, I feel as though we pass through a portal to an alternate universe. Manhattan, with all its noise and fervor looks quiet and serenely beautiful from the river; time slows, and all that matters are the other people on my boat and how we will work together to make it glide seamlessly through air and water.

In my “day job,” I am a high school chemistry teacher. In addition to teaching about the behavior of matter, I encourage my students to figure out what they care about, what brings them happiness and makes them want to engage deeply and share part of who they are with others. Then I urge them to find ways to turn that into meaningful work, whether in the form of a future career or volunteer service. I feel incredibly lucky that Camp Woodland offered me the opportunity from a very young age to identify my passions for sailing and for working with young people, passions upon which I have constructed the foundations of a joyous and meaningful life.

Six Ways Camp Can Help You Focus in 2020

Happy New Year!

Not only is it a new year; it is also a new DECADE. I love that this year is 2020 because that gives us even more impetus to become crystal clear about what we would like to focus on in the year ahead. In addition, 2020 is a leap year, which means that we have an extra day to take actions towards becoming the type of person we would like to be for ourselves and our families.

In reading the daily blog I receive in my inbox from Growing Leaders, I couldn’t help but think about the recommendations the author was making to becoming intentional with raising kids in 2020. Tim Elmore believes that the “problem is not intention; we all intend to raise good kids. Our problem is hectic lifestyles. We become so busy—we unwittingly shift into defensive mode. We stop playing offense and play defense; we began reacting to all the events, payments, and the demands that today’s “system” places upon us. We fail to heed our intentions and turn them into intentionality.”

Elmore offers a starter list for leading your kids intentionally this new year, and I am going to add to it with how Camp Woodland is already intentional with each of these points.

1. Determine screen time and its replacement.

This is the most common categories that parents get off track and fail to lead their kids—especially their teens. Part of the reason for the mental health challenges kids face today is social media and the high number of hours teens spend on a portable device. Dr. Jean Twenge notes that two hours or more per day puts them at a greater risk of anxiety and depression. Less than two hours a day makes them less vulnerable to such mental health issues.

At Camp Woodland, we believe that outside is the place to be! We take advantage of being in a natural setting by unplugging and communicating using real ‘face-time. Campers tell us that they enjoy the break from being tethered to a device. What a treat to hang out with friends from sun-up to sun-down! 

2. Determine family time and what will be engaging.

Studies have shown that families who enjoy meals together also enjoy greater satisfaction and less stress than those who don’t. As our kids were growing up we tried to schedule at least three dinners a week at our kitchen table. When they were teens we also tried to insert at least one monthly family date. This meant we limited their extra-curricular activities to one per semester.

We eat 3 squares a day with our cabin group. If you do the math, that is 21 meals together in a week which is UNHEARD OF in today’s busy world! There is nothing better than the exchange that occurs as we share with each about our daily successes and challenges while getting the fuel we need to keep us strong for active days at camp. 

3. Determine financial boundaries.

This one is tough because we are frequently guilty of merely reacting to bills and invoices instead of planning our spending. We follow this simple rule: give first, save second, and live on the rest. This means we choose the charitable giving we want to do and decide our amount each month; then we put money in savings, and then we see what we have left to cover all else. This offers a guideline for the emotional conversation about buying “stuff” for your kids.

Our tuition fee is mostly all-inclusive. Regular programming for daily activities (like horseback riding) and services (such as laundry) are included in the cost to come to camp. We’ve got you covered for snacks and other incidentals. There truly is no need for anything else during your camper’s stay with us. The best thing you can send is a weekly letter or Bunk Note!

4. Determine service projects.

As our kids grew older it became more challenging to do this one together. But, we attempted to schedule one time a month to find a place to serve together. It may be a homeless shelter; it may be a local food pantry, or a department in a local church. For years, we sponsored a child overseas (in Africa) to fund his or her education and personal needs. This gave us perspective on our own “first world problems” and conditioned to be generous and grateful.

We believe that kindness really does matter! Being kind to one another with words and actions is part of the fabric of living in our camp community and the service project we embark on all throughout the summer. Campers bring the spirit of kindness back home to their families, schools, and world.

5. Determine growth and quiet time.

We didn’t do this as regularly as we should have. But after researching the topic, I believe kids (especially Generation Z) need time when it’s quiet. This can be reading time; or journaling time, or a project where they learn to think critically. Neuroscientists say silence and solitude cultivate creativity and empathy in us. This counter-cultural act won’t make sense at first to adolescents. I’m convinced that it will foster peace of mind.

We incorporate rest hour into our daily schedule. We recognize the need to give our bodies and mind time to just “be”. The hour after lunch is designated as the official camp-wide time for rest. Campers can choose to nap, read a book, write letters, or just enjoy some down time. Hanging out at the beach during Free Swim is another potential time for a slower pace if desired. Rest hour is personally my favorite time of day and something I try to incorporate into my schedule in the off-season!

6. Determine work time and chores.

If you don’t plan this, it usually doesn’t happen with most tweens and teens. I believe it is healthy for every family member to contribute to the family, by doing age-appropriate tasks around the home—and eventually working a job.

Cabin clean-up and other community chores are also part of our daily schedule. Every morning after breakfast we go back to the cabin where each camper makes her own bed and tidies up her area in addition to contributing to keeping the communal living space clean by sweeping, putting away clutter, taking dry clothing off the clothesline, etc. Cabin groups take turns for a week at a time to set tables in the dining hall prior to each meal. We also divide the camp into various areas that cabin groups will check weekly for any left items or trash on the ground. The CIT’s even cook a pancake breakfast outside on a Sunday morning! Parents often tell us that they are amazed at how their camper will make her bed or put dishes away without being asked after returning from camp!