Author: Natalie Behnke


The following post is a piece written by first-year CIT, Susie Elfman.


Camp is close. Close to what, I don’t know. Maybe to true happiness, maybe to fun. But one thing I know camp is close to is perfect. It’s perfect in all of the little ways, like how the sunlight makes the leaves look bright green when you look to your right. Or how when you stare up at the tops of the trees you get dizzy. Maybe it’s the water hitting the shore that makes it perfect. Or it could be the noise a sail makes when it’s windy. Perhaps it’s the sound of the birds in the early hours of the morning.

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I can’t be too sure if it’s the patter of rain on the cabin roof or the mumbles of “goodnight” when the lights turn off. Maybe it’s the way your arms are sore after canoeing, or how an arrow sounds hitting the target. Maybe it’s the smell of the riflery range after your shoot or the cheer of your friends when you get a bullseye. Is it the smell of paint in the art room? No one can know for sure what makes camp so close to perfection, but it might just be the little things. Whatever it is, I know that it makes me excited when I drive down the Woodland Road to take my first deep breath of the Northwoods air. And it’s then I know I’m in a place I can only describe as home.

Woodland Weekly!

It’s been a whirlwind past few days at Camp Woodland, and our summer is just getting started! The first week at camp is packed with so many new friends and activities that we thought we’d stop in to update you on everything that’s been going on here in the Northwoods. The following are just a few things our campers have been up to:

  • Get-to-Know-You Games: After most of the campers have arrived, everyone gets to participate in fun name games and activities that bond the whole camp together! One of the challenges we all get to take on as a camp team is to gather into a cohesive circle based on how many years we’ve been at camp — without talking!
  • Field Games: Our first evening activity as a camp is to participate in field games, which were led by our wonderful counselors Jenny and Sofia this year! SPUD, Buddy Tag, and “I Like Woodland Girls Who” were just a few of the exciting games that the girls got to play this summer.
  • Activity Rotations: On Sunday morning, all of our campers get to go to activity rotations, which gives them a taste of all thirteen of our camp activities! Afterwards, they write down their top six activity choices at lunch so that JoAnne can schedule them for their first session activities!
  • Clue: On Sunday afternoon, our lovely Counselors in Training (CITs) led the whole camp in a riveting game of Clue! Each cabin was responsible for visiting with each “character” and taking a guess at who the “murderer” could be — but only after playing fun circle games!
  • Camp Rec Swims: One of the campers’ favorite things about the first few days of camp is that they get to have all-camp rec swims! The girls had a ton of fun playing on the blue mats, jumping off the yellow raft, and practicing their dives on the diving board!
  • Counselor Campfire: On Sunday night, the counselors performed fun skits and songs for our campers to watch! Our wonderful MCs Roxy Brown (Racquel) and Sally McGriffin (Grace C.) had a blast kicking off the first official campfire of the summer!
  • First Session Activities: On Monday, the campers started the activity schedules that they will keep for the first two weeks of camp! Fun was had by all as the girls jumped from the waterfront to the land sport areas to participate in fun lessons in horseback riding, sailing, archery, gymnastics, tennis, crafts, farm zoo, and so much more!
Waterfront fun starts at the buddy board!

Waterfront fun starts at the buddy board!

As you can see, the first few days of camp are packed! Although those beginning activities are super fun, the girls are ready and excited to settle into their normal activity routines! Some special events they have to look forward to are recess games for evening activity this week, CIT-led Fourth of July Games on Sunday, and the Towering Pines/Woodland Red, White & Boom Campfire on the Fourth of July next Monday! Although our initial days at camp have been a blast, we can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer brings!

Welcome Campers!

The docks are in, the horses are here, and the cabins are so clean they sparkle — that is, if wood could sparkle. All that’s missing are the campers, and boy, are we excited for them to arrive!

Over the past week, our counselors have been hard at work readying the camp for all of the campers, and now our favorite day of the summer is here. Whether you’re an old-timer excited to jump right back into your second home or a first-time camper eager to depart on an amazing adventure, there is no better place for you to be this summer, and definitely no better staff to be surrounded by.

Our counselors performing a fun skit at our traditional counselor campfire!

Our counselors performing a fun skit at our traditional pre-camp counselor campfire!

The bunks are waiting for you, so don’t delay! Here are some important things to remember to make your arrival here at camp as smooth as possible:

  • Check in at the office! There you will find counselors ready to welcome you and tell you your cabin assignment!
  • Get your health check and your lice check! The very first thing to do upon your arrival should be to head to the lodge for a lice check or the health center for your health check! After you’ve checked those tasks off your list, you can head to your cabin to make your bed and start unpacking your things!
  • Meet your counselors! At least one of your counselors will be waiting to greet you at your cabin and help you get settled in, and they’re very eager to see you!
  • Take a camp tour! Some counselors will be available to show you around our camp grounds, or, if you’re familiar with the lay of the land, you can meander among the cabin area and take in the lively atmosphere.
  • Check back into the office, just to make sure you are ready to be on your way! If you didn’t pick up a social media handout on your way in, make sure to stop back into the office to pick one up! It will have all the links to our social media, photo gallery and blog sites.
  • Stay in the loop! Not only will you have online access to your cabin’s counselor profiles, but we will also be regularly updating all of our social media accounts with blog posts, photos and camp updates so that you can follow along with all of the Woodland fun!

If you have any questions throughout this process, don’t hesitate to ask! Our counselors will be looking snazzy in their staff polo shirts, and everyone will be wearing a name tag. Any member of our staff will be able to guide you in the right direction should you have any questions.

We can’t wait to see everyone and kick start another wonderful summer at camp! We know this summer will be filled with fun, laughter and friends, and we’re ecstatic to have all of our campers join in on the camp experience.

Everything Clicks: A Pre-Camp Perspective

Sitting outside under the Woodland pines with the sound of my fellow counselors’ laughter surrounding me, the conception of what this summer’s theme means to me is starting to take new form. As per usual, this past school year was full of stress and tension, and thinking about “everything clicking” at camp was a faraway dream — right up until I got in the car to drive to Eagle River.

Now that I’m here, though, with no need to visualize the tall pines and blue skies that are laid out right before me, I’ve started to think about this summer and, of course, summers past. Along with those thoughts comes the realization that — for me — “everything clicking” starts the minute the counselors start to arrive on the first day of pre-camp.

Pre-camp is the six days where our hard-working, fun-loving staff comes together to clean up the camp grounds, put together the waterfront, crank up those tennis nets, ready the barn for the horses, and bond into the team we aspire to be. It’s not only the classic ice breakers, staff meetings, and hours spent on dock assembly that allow us to build our team, though — it’s the fact that we are all working together towards a common goal: to make this summer the best it can possibly be for every camper who steps foot on Woodland turf.

2016 Woodland Staff

2016 Woodland Staff

Whether we’re telling stories about the past winter over well-deserved meals or teaching each other how to tie bowline knots to secure equipment, every single thing we do during the six days that precede the campers’ arrival is — whether consciously or not — geared towards ensuring the excellence of their experience. Working together with 20 of my closest friends to make all of the puzzle pieces of camp fit together is six days well-spent in my book — it’s also where everything about my own summer begins to click.

There’s no better way to start my summer, nor any other group of people I’d rather start it with. And although the campers may not realize it, the young adults who can be spotted putting up the flag pole and fitting window screens are the start of their summer as well. So when the sun rises early on Saturday morning to meet every bright and shining face that comes down the Woodland road, there’s a staff full of bright-eyed counselors ready to go to any measure to make sure their next weeks at camp “click” in the best way they could imagine.