Category: A Place to Grow in 2-0

A Little Woodland Dew for Summer 2020

Posted by on May 23, 2020

To the Camp Woodland and Towering Pines Family,

First of all, we thank you for your patience as you (and your campers) have been anxiously waiting for information about camp this summer. We wish there was an easy way to share hard news. We are heartbroken that we are writing to inform you that we will not be opening Camp Woodland and Towering Pines for the 2020 season. Without a doubt, this has been the most difficult decision we have ever had to make. We know that your sons and daughters need camp now more than ever. Camp is the bright spot that keeps us going all year and is a happy place for so many.

We want you to know that we have been coming together as a leadership team for the past several months to explore every possible way of how to make camp happen during these unprecedented times. We have listened to and read regulatory guidance from the CDC and the American Camp Association. We have been on weekly calls with camp directors in our region to process information and share ideas. We have been in contact with medical professionals and state and local health departments. We have consulted with our camp representative in Mexico to keep abreast of the situation there and the ability for travel to the US. We came up with an innovative plan to use our greatest asset – having 2 camps on separate properties. After a call on Friday with the county health department, the recommendation was made that overnight camps should not open for the 2020 season. With that news, the decision to operate camp this summer, though difficult, became clear.

We always say that it never rains at camp, but rather we have Woodland or TP “dew”. We welcome a morning to sleep in a little longer and mosey down to the lodge for a delayed breakfast. Cabin clean-up is extended while we await the news of the exciting events that will allow for a change of routine in our daily schedule. We are thrilled to have the much-anticipated Lip Sync Contest, TP Casino Day or Woodland Spa. We delight in the opportunity to put on rainboots and a slicker coat and grab an umbrella as we head out the door to splash through some puddles along the way to the Rec Hall. The “dewy” weather does not dampen our spirits. We are refreshed by a change of pace and appreciate the sunshine a little more when it returns.

We know that this news may temporarily place a cloud in the sky of our typical bright and sunny summer. We also know that there are still lots of questions to answer, so we will be in touch shortly with information on tuition refunds and available rollover options.

We wish to thank all of you for your trust in us and for being so supportive and encouraging during this most difficult time. As disappointing as this must be for you and your sons and daughters, our wish is that we can weather the “dew” while looking forward with excitement to the sunshine the Summer of 2021 will bring.

Woodland and Towering Pines Love,

JoAnne, Susan, Jeff & Jenny

Meet-Your-Neighbors Bundt Cake

Posted by on March 16, 2020

I was asked recently to share a recipe with a friend of ours whose son is getting married in May. This Mom is wanting to put together a really special book for the engaged couple that is a compilation of recipes from family and friends. Per the instructions for this project, the story that goes with the recipe was also to be included.

My first thought was to choose a recipe with the fewest ingredients. Something simple. Something that is easy to make (and to write) but really yummy. Besides, who has time to cook these days? So, I open up my recipe box and quickly put my fingers on a 7-ingredient bundt cake. I make this without fail every time we have company because it is a guaranteed winner. Bingo!

Double bingo because when I thought about the story behind the bundt cake recipe, a huge smile came to my face. This is perfect. This is what every bride and groom need as they start their new life together. This chocolate bundt cake was how we met our neighbors when we moved to Augusta, GA, when my husband was stationed at Fort Gordon in 2009.

A New Neighborhood

I remember making the journey from Mississippi to Georgia after Jeff finished dental school with our 2 dogs and spending the night on an air mattress in the 1920’s bungalow we purchased for the next phase of our married adventure. We were waiting for our furniture and goods to arrive, so it was like camping in our own house. Jeff reported to work the next day, and I anxiously awaited a multitude of boxes and “stuff” to be delivered so that I could set about making our house into a home.

Being Neighborly

Later that same day, I heard a knock on the door. When I checked to see who might be calling, I was greeted by a 6th grade boy and his 9th grade sister. Ben was proudly holding the mail that had collected in the days leading up to our arrival, and Ivey was carrying a still-warm-fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate bundt cake. “Hello! We live next door and  just wanted to stop by to welcome you to the neighborhood.” 

That simple gesture started a friendship with our neighbors that is still strong to this day (even though that was 4 moves ago). It is amazing how something so simple, yet so thoughtful and kind can be the spark that ignites a relationship. A friendship that strengthens for years to come. Neighbors who are now family.

Our Camp Neighborhood

How big is your neighborhood? At camp, there is a fun bunch of us. But if we compare our camp with all the camps in the US, it’s a very, very small neighborhood.

Our Earth is pretty big, right? It’s measured at 24,901 miles around the equator. However, when you compare the Earth to our solar system, it’s pretty small. Compare it to our larger galaxy, it’s smaller still.

For comparison sake, it would take you about 45 hours to circumnavigate the Earth on a plane. To get to Pluto and back, it would take 25 years and a really big rocket ship. To edge of our galaxy and back? That’s currently estimated at 220 million years.

So, when you compare it to the larger context, our Earth – our neighborhood – is pretty small. Mr. Fred Rogers touched on this a lot over his many decades of service. He didn’t care what you looked like, where you were from, or what was in your bank account. You were his neighbor and he treated you with kindness, patience, respect, and love. Period.

It is hard to believe that we are now a planet of around 7.8 billion people. Yet, we are all neighbors!

Neighbors Unite

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a virus in the neighborhood. We’ve got to work together to stamp it out.

This is not an opportunity to place blame. It’s an opportunity to realize that all of us in this tiny little neighborhood are in a fight against something that threatens us all. The good news? There are very simple and powerful ways to defeat it.

First, remain calm and patient. We humans have gotten through much worse. Secondly, wash your hands really well. If you aren’t sure how, here you go. The third is stay away from other people as much as you can for the time being, especially if you feel crummy.

Campers, we are most worried about those with challenged immune systems and the elderly. It would be neighborly of us to do our best to reduce the spread of this disease any way we can. (Here’s a great infographic that explains things well to young and old people alike.)

Woodland Neighbors

So, while this time is certainly strange for us, it’s also an opportunity to remember that we humans, despite our differences, are all neighbors. Let’s decide to be good ones for each other. You can start by making a “Meet-Your-Neighbors” Bundt Cake and taking it to people who live next door or across the street.

Heck, if enough of us bring a fresh-from-the-oven bundt cake to someone in our neighborhood in the days ahead, maybe that simple gesture will ignite into something more. When that happens (neighbors acting neighborly on a large scale), our Earth will feel a little bit more like a summer at Woodland.

this blog was inspired and adapted in part by camp friend, Cole Kelley

Meet-Your-Neighbors Bundt Cake (tastes best when made together as a family)

1 box yellow cake mix

1 small box instant chocolate pudding

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup oil

1 small container of vanilla yogurt

6 oz chocolate chips (I always add more!)

Mix together first 6 ingredients then add chocolate chips at the end. Pour into greased (and floured) bundt cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. If you really want to impress your neighbors, serve with vanilla ice cream and drizzle chocolate syrup on top.

 

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)

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.”

 

 

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!