Author: Kim Aycock

Choose Camp: Vote for Camp Woodland

 

It goes without saying that you have seen your share of political ads over the past several weeks and months. More than likely, these ads are telling you something about the choices you should make on November 3rd.  So, instead of advising you who to vote for, we would like to give you a better choice this year. We want you to CHOOSE CAMP!img_7754Here at Camp Woodland, we actually care about the thing that most politicians only pretend to pay attention to – your kids and your family. Our goal in what we to do is to help kids get outside and explore nature, make new friends and connect with their peers face-to-face instead of through a screen, and to try new things and gain confidence. Regardless of who you vote for, make a great choice by choosing camp. We can’t wait to see you this summer!

CAMP TODAY – THRIVE TOMORROW!

ENROLL HERE FOR SUMMER 2021

We are Camp Woodland and we approve this message.

 

A Spooky Woodland Tale

With Halloween having been celebrated along with a blue moon this past weekend, ghost stories are certainly on our minds. Did you know that we have a spooky tale of our own at Woodland? If you take a leisurely stroll around the outskirts of the cabin area, you may stumble across something slightly amiss. One of the farthest boundaries of camp that is not off-limits to campers is behind the Hilltop cabin. Many curious campers have ventured back to that enchanted, peaceful place to enjoy the beauty of the North Woods just to end up with a sudden feeling of unease. It trickles down your spine like water from a slow dripping spigot as you creep around the bend and something strange catches your eye. 

Right there in the gloom is a lonely set of abandoned stairs. Three stone steps that lead to nowhere. “What could that be?” you ask yourself and, “why is it still here?” The HILLTOP STAIRS have become a favorite spooky destination for campers and counselors alike, all of whom try to make sense of their existence. There are many different theories floating around in the camp community as to what they could be from; some spooky, some silly, some downright ridiculous. 

Daphne (counselor extraordinaire) shared two of the most classic versions of the story with us, “I have heard it burned down from a candle and the ghosts still haunt the stairs. I have also heard that three girls left a hair straightener plugged in when they went out one night.” Both versions provide a nice cautionary tale against fire hazards.

JoAnne of course has a theory that she shares with us at a special campfire every summer. Her story explains the phenomena of our brown tinted Sand lake, leeches, and the Hilltop stairs all in one. History states that the stairs belonged to a big old coffee factory that burned down. All of the workers in the factory then turned into lake gnomes and took up residence as leeches in Sand Lake. So tradition goes that if you are fortunate enough to get a leech, you are really freeing a lake gnome.

No one will ever fully understand the true origin of those beautifully creepy stairs, but whichever story you prefer, it is definitely a spot to visit at Woodland…if you dare! Towering Pines has a spooky tale of its own – best stick close to your counselor when you hear the sharp clanging of metal on metal, echoing across Lake!

Calla Dellinger Craze

What Camp Woodland Can Do That Google Cannot

In a blog I read recently by Growing Leaders (excerpts are italicized below), Dr. Tim Elmore talks about how parenting, teaching, and coaching are different today, not because kids are different but because the culture is different. We are raising them in a society where Siri and Alexa offer quick answers, creating eight-second attention spans and expectations that solutions should be instantaneous and that life should be entertaining.

It’s not our kids’ fault, but it is our kids’ reality. (most definitely!)

We are at a fork in the road. We can either choose to compete with today’s on-demand, instant access entertainment or we can choose to offer what the digital world cannot. We must adapt to the world they’re growing up in, but we don’t have to adopt every new trend that surfaces along the way. Adapting simply means we recognize what kids gain from this new world and we complement it.

Kids today experience a Google reflex. (I have a Google reflex myself! You?)

Kids are asking Google questions they used to ask adults in their world. What we must recognize is kids don’t lack information. They don’t need us for that; Alexa actually knows more than I do most of the time. They need us for interpretation. All the sources of content they access can offer information, but not a worldview with which to interpret that information. Young people are drowning in information but starving for wisdom.

There is no downtime. They’re screenagers, always on and always online. They spend more time reacting to content than reflecting on content. And because there are so many posts, it leaves a little margin to invest time in any one issue. A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. So, our responsibility is not to compete against this but to compliment it by offering what they still lack.

Dr. Elmore states that “Our goal should not be to compete but to complete.” To this end, he gives a list of 7 things that young people need more than ever today. It just so happens that every item on his list represents one of our core values, the very foundation for our program at Camp Woodland for Girls since 1970.

1. Authentic and transparent relationships.

We provide opportunities for genuine connections to form within the Camp Woodland community. Cabin groups allow for a special bond to occur between similar aged campers and 2-3 counselors. Younger campers look up to and are mentored by older campers in activities. There is nothing but “real” face time as we engage in conversations where it is important to read and interpret social cues and communicate compassionately.

2. Interactive learning experiences.

We learn to sail, ride a horse, shoot a bow, do a forward roll, take care of farm animals, create in arts & crafts, paddle across the lake, dance, put together a play, and so much more without a single YouTube video or Zoom lesson. We navigate the ups and downs that come with the creation and duration of friendships.

3. Empathy.

“You think your backpack is the heaviest until you pick up someone else’s by mistake.” (Cynthia Copeland Lewis)

4. Significant people in their lives.

Being around near-peers (5-10-15 years removed), campers make connections with counselor and staff role models who by their example inspire confidence and growth towards what is possible.

5. Travel experiences to someplace they’ve not been.

We bring campers and staff together from all corners of the globe. Our camp community represents a variety of geographic locations, ages, backgrounds, values, interests, and socio-economic status. Being exposed to different cultures makes us more empathetic and understanding. As a result we are better able to work collaboratively with those who have a different view or perspective.

6. Growth guided by questions.

We provide hands-on learning through discovery and exploration. What if…?, how about…? and why? are always welcome. Guided trial-and-error mixed in with developmentally appropriate challenges are the best teachers of both the technical and people skills gained from the Woodland experience.

7. Autonomy in the goals they set.

Having the opportunity to make decisions that are not influenced by parents and teachers gives campers a sense of independence in their voice and choice. Selecting activities, pursuing friendships, setting and reaching goals, planning camp-wide events, and caring for self are just some of the ways campers have a vote in their overall experience.

Camp today. Thrive tomorrow.

We never take for granted the unique role we play in the lives of our campers. Camp Woodland is a place where kids learn, grow and develop in a positive community (we spend a good chunk of our time OUTSIDE and without the pressures of society and technology!). The skills campers learn last far beyond their years at camp and specifically help them in school, when they attend college, and in their first jobs (and there is research to back this up!). Camp Woodland is an experience that sets up young people for success as they enter adulthood.

Camp Woodland does what Google cannot.

To read the entire Growing Leaders blog: What Parents and Teachers Can Do that Google Cannot

From Virtual to…

We have been grateful for the opportunity to interact with staff, counselors, campers and parents through the virtual medium over the past several months. Zoom chats, virtual game nights, virtual campfires and even virtual alumni camp tours provided a way for the camp connections we all crave to happen. It’s a way to support one another during a time when, perhaps, things seemed far less than normal.

We were amazed by the creativity and ingenuity that our camp community summoned in order to surpass cyber boundaries to bring a bit of camp into our lives when we all needed it. Campers created skits, performed challenges, and sang songs while zooming from different parts of the world. CIT’s stepped up to facilitate parts of campfires and game nights showing that they truly are learning spectacular leadership skills that transfer into areas of life we may have least expected.

Counselors created the “Dining Hall Bracket” on social media to decide what the most delicious meal is at camp. Lasagna won, but the competition was fierce!! Other fun events were camp bingo and some challenging camp trivia. Finally, who knew that we could actually try our hand at virtual Gold Rush?! Again, when camp people come together, creativity abounds. We found ways to share positive vibes with our camp family even if that meant doing so through cyber space.

We are thankful for the opportunity to stay in touch through Zoom, social media and even “snail mail,” However, what we are REALLY and TRULY looking forward to is seeing all of you in person next summer! There is nothing better than the sights and sounds of campers and counselors engaged in learning and having fun while doing it. The echoes of laughter amidst the quiet whisper of the white pines is an almost magical sound. There is so much amazing growth that happens during those six weeks of camp, and we can’t wait to share it with campers again next summer.

As many different versions of school are beginning in the next few weeks, we are hoping for positive experiences for our camp families. We will stay in touch throughout this year, and as always, we love to hear from you!! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and look for e-mails and monthly mailings from us as well. We are currently taking early enrollment for our camp families. Early enrollment tuition remains at the 2020 rate through Labor Day, September 7, 2020. Use discount code OLDFAM to receive 2020 tuition rates. Click here to register!!  If you’d like to share the “awesomeness” of your camp experience with other potential campers, we are extremely appreciative of any referrals.

We are looking ahead to many positive adventure-filled moments at Camp Woodland and Towering Pines where these children can grow as individuals and members of a community. The future looks bright…Here Comes the Sun ’21’!!

Here Comes the Sun

Posted by on July 23, 2020

Some of you might recognize this photo being at the end of the Woodland “dew” post with our news to suspend programming for the summer of 2020. We decided that it is appropriate to begin this post with the same scene and a promise of better days ahead. As the weeks of July march on, we have seen the clouds dissipate and rays of sunshine start to peek their way through the pine trees and cast a warm glow on Sand Lake.

While the easy thing to do would have been to take a “vacation” from camp this summer, we decided to do the exact opposite. We brought our leadership team together for what we called “Summer Summit 2020”. With an end goal of 2 camps – 1 mission – no divide, we have worked towards bringing Woodland and Towering Pines together in a way that allows us to unify our message and plan for the success of the next 25, 50, 75 years and beyond. We have also agreed to disagree. Without straying from the mission, there may be programs and systems that look different or are carried out differently at each camp, but we are on the same page with why we are here and what is fundamental to both camps (community, growth, respect, responsibility, and safety).

We looked closely at the camper and staff experience, programming, our business and marketing plans, and alumni outreach as broad strokes. We got into the weeds a bit and had conversations about the CIT program, staff time off, length of activity periods, social media, and camper/staff recruiting/retention…just to name a few. We spent time training on Camp Brain (our new database) and gathering content for winter engagement with our camp community (holiday card photo – check!). We even had a pitch from two of our current staff on how Farm Zoo could take on a new look in future summers.

We rolled up our sleeves and dug into projects to make facility improvements. Several bathrooms have been updated, walls have been painted, cracks in the volleyball court filled, and the deck on the way to the beach has been given a new shine. We are grateful to Jeff, Evan, Jon and other camp friends who pushed through some pretty warm (bordering on HOT) days to make this happen.

All work and no play is NOT what camp is about. We had FUN together, too! We began our Summit with a game of Bunko so that we could ease into some topics on our list and begin conversations. We ate meals in the lodge at Woodland (thank you, Drinka!), enjoyed the TP and Woodland waterfronts just about every afternoon (JoAnne and Kim went for a spin on a paddle board in windy conditions and have decided that more “board” meetings are in order next summer!), took daily hikes/walks/runs in the woods or on County D, made s’mores, and gazed at the stars while hanging around the campfire at the site by Treetops.

This summer has been like no other. While we have spent this time at 8080 Camp RD and it looks like camp (the cabins and buildings are still here), sounds like camp (we ring the bell to keep us on schedule), and smells like camp (we may have had a skunk grace us near the barn), it doesn’t feel like camp. We miss every single camper and staff member who breathes life into the place of camp. We miss the people. We miss YOU. We can’t wait until we can be  together again. Here comes the sun in 2021!