Category: Camp News

Woodland Passes 2 “Tests!”

Posted by on July 11, 2019

When we think of tests, we often think of being in school and the exams taken that mark the end of a chapter, unit, semester or year.  While we try not to compare camp to school, Woodland actually had two tests of its own this summer!  On Monday, Camp Woodland greeted 2 trained volunteers from the American Camp Association (ACA) for our accreditation visit that occurs every 5th year.  JoAnne and Lee gave our guests the grand tour of camp. They stopped to watch various activities in action, check out a few cabins, interview some campers and staff, and take a look at the kitchen and health center.  Following the tour, the visitors went through multiple notebook binders to verify that we have the necessary documentation to be in compliance with close to 300 health, safety, and program quality standards!  Whew!


One of the first signs you see when you come into camp!

Why do we seek accreditation? We’re glad you asked!  Camp Woodland and Towering Pines PROUDLY display the ACA-Accredited Camp sign as it has 50+ years of parent trust behind it.  Accreditation means that both camps have proof of accountability, credibility, and commitment to the best practices established by the camp industry.  Experts from many fields including the American Red Cross and The American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, are consulted to work with ACA to continually improve the camp standards program.  We are happy to report that Camp Woodland “PASSED” this big test again this year!  Towering Pines will be on the list of camps to be visited next summer. Marion Jordan (JoAnne, Susan, and Jeff’s grandfather) was instrumental in getting the ACA Accreditation program started back in the day!

Wearing a helmet, boots, and long pants is an example of one of the program standards for horseback riding.

For our second “test” this summer, the Oneida health department came for their annual review last week, and they made similar stops to ACA on their walk around camp.  The great thing is that because our staff are well-trained at the beginning of each summer and on an on-going basis, they handled any questions that were asked like pros and did a nice job telling the story of what we do and why.  Camp Woodland had another excellent report from the health department (are you surprised?!)!  It made for a busy week, and we are glad to get back to the more FUN part of our jobs (like driving the ski boat, prepping for canoe trips, reading a story at campfire, and spending quality time with your daughters)!

The Start of Something New

Posted by on July 8, 2019

Now that the first 2 weeks are behind us, campers are more than ready to expand their horizons and take a deep dive into all the opportunities for fun and adventure at camp. Every day except Sundays, campers take activities that they can choose themselves. Today was especially delightful because it is the first day of the 2nd sign-up of activities.

Every other weekend at camp, campers choose their next round of six activities that they will take for 2 weeks. Some campers enjoy taking the same activities every time because they want to continue building their skills, they particularly enjoy being with those activity instructors, or they are just big fans of that activity. On the other hand, some campers choose new activities every rotation in order to try the most they can while at camp, since many of our activities are things that are often not available at home. Either way, campers practice decision-making and independence when they pick activities and challenge themselves to try new things.

At the waterfront, campers learn to swim, ski, knee or wakeboard, sail, windsurf, paddleboard, and canoe. They also can enjoy Rec Swim each afternoon and play on the water mats, take a try at log rolling, or catch a ride with a friend and tour around the lake on the Atom. 

Meanwhile on land, campers try their hand at archery, riflery, tennis, gymnastics, dance, drama, horseback riding, farm zoo, and arts & crafts. So hard to choose – each activity is a ton of fun!

No matter the activity, campers are able to take something away with them when they leave camp. Whether it is a freshly honed skill in knot tying (sailing), an experience on horseback they’ve never had before, or a new friend they made in arts and crafts, each camper heads home with more than they arrived with. The combination of immersion in nature, working with activity specialists, and daily opportunities to build both skills and relationships make activities at Woodland a unique learning experience.

Note: This blog post was inspired by Rockbrook Camp (NC).

Every Day is Independence Day at Camp Woodland

Posted by on July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day!  I remember my very first year as a counselor at Woodland and waking up to the sound of HORSES by my cabin instead of the usual wake-up bell.  I was a little startled to say the least, but I decided to roll with it and get into the spirit of the riders who were telling us that the “British were coming” and got my ten 13 and 14 year-old campers out of bed!

4th of July horses

The lodge was decked out in “red-white-and-blue” decorations that I’m sure the CIT on duty the day before had put up to make our dining experience festive.  Campers and counselors alike wore various patriotic clothing combinations of their own to contribute to the holiday celebration.  Activities continued as normal throughout the day; however, the hype for the evening’s “Red, White, and BOOM” campfire at Towering Pines built as campers negotiated the shower schedule to be sure everyone was squeaky clean and had time for proper primping before donning their Woodland Wear to get on the van to drive to the boys camp.

happy birthday usa

It is comforting to know that the 4th of July and all of the traditions that have become part of camp history are still in tact.  I am also reminded of the tie-in to the true reason we celebrate this July holiday in the first place.  We can be grateful to the many men and women who fought for the freedom we enjoy today, and you can sleep even better tonight knowing that your camper has an incredible opportunity this summer to exercise this right and explore her independence during her camp experience at Woodland.

Here are just a FEW of freedoms that come to mind when I think of a summer at Woodland:

  • the choice to select activities according to interests and talents
  • the ability to try something new if desired (2nd activity sign-up is this weekend!)
  • the opportunity to get to know girls from a variety of  geographic locations, backgrounds, and age levels that may be different from their own
  • the encouragement to be “real” and not some “fake” version of yourself
  • the gift of being in an outdoor environment where the sky, lake, trees, animals, and flowers make up your living room
  • the support of counselors and other caring adults
  • the chance to be independent during this opportunity for growth away from family and friends from home
  • the luxury of being away from the stresses and worries of school and have more FUN than you ever imagine!

You can be thankful that your daughter has this AMAZING opportunity to experience Independence Day EVERY day…just by being at camp!


Strong Woodland Women

Posted by on March 10, 2019

If this photo doesn’t scream “strong women,” I don’t know what does! Last year McDonald’s flipped the infamous golden arches on International Women’s Day; however, the ‘W’ of Woodland always represents the girls who leave camp a little (or a lot!) stronger than they were before. As we honor the women in history who have blazed a trail before us, I can’t help but think of the Woodland CIT’s and their counselors who do the same each and every day at camp.

We saw these girls take on numerous leadership roles as they are a HUGE part of the equation for making camp “magical” for the younger campers as did the CIT’s before them.  CIT’s are involved in the day-to-day operations of camp and take turns ringing the wake-up bell, sorting the outgoing and incoming mail, doing cabin inspection with the nurse, assisting with activities, giving ski help and taking canteen orders during Rec Swim,…just to name a FEW!  As a group they take part in a daily leadership training hour with their counselors during the first few weeks of the summer and plan all-camp Sunday events such as Gold Rush or other fun themes. These gals make it happen!

CIT’s who are in their second year of leadership development live in a cabin of younger girls and see first hand what it is like to be in charge from sunrise to sunset! “Live Ins” can be found assisting counselors with cabin clean-up, sparking conversation during meals, planning skits for campfire or other special cabin activities, initiating a group game, or reading a bedtime story. These gals are integral to cabin life and develop important leadership skills as a result because they practice them over and over. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We can’t wait for many of them to be counselors in 2019!

Find out more about a growth moment for some the 2018 CIT’s (the end of camp craziness took priority over filling out the ‘best moments’ sheet for the others in case you are wondering why your camper isn’t listed!):

Irene: I have learned how to really bond with the younger girls and have become more responsible and aware of my actions.

Amelia: I am now more aware that a small gesture of kindness can make someone’s whole day!

Cayley: I am more in tune with how my actions affect others.

Barbie: I’m more open to the people I trust and feel at home with. I now that I can be a good leader with kids and show them new things.

Jae: I really tried focusing on the positive side in many situations and making sure that everyone felt included/welcome.

Sofia: I learned that every year is completely different and to make each one awesome!

Vale: I know now that the best memories are made when you least expect it!

Kelly: I became more confident and outgoing this summer. I also learned empathy as I became aware of the hardships each person goes through.




Happy Trivia Day from Hilltop!

The World famous trivia game, Trivial Pursuit, is thought to have sparked people’s fascination with trivia and competing to see who knows more odd facts about geography, history, art, science, sports and entertainment. Trivia day is the perfect day to share all of those silly little facts that almost nobody knows.


The king of trivia at Camp Woodland is our very own, Chet Riehle! Chet can tell you the most amazing pieces of information as he has been with us going on 35 years this coming summer. Chet knows (almost) every inch of the Woodland property and has a lot of knowledge about the history that goes back to the first summer the Jordan’s opened camp in 1970.  If you do the math, that means that Woodland is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019! You won’t want to miss out on the festivities of this important milestone which will be officially celebrated the weekend of July 12-14.

Here are a few trivia questions to test your knowledge about Woodland history (answers at the end of post):

  1. Which cook has been here the longest since the Jordan’s owned Woodland and is known for the yummy lasagne we all love?
  2. What was the original purpose of the ACC room (on the spigot side of the office)?
  3. What is the oldest functioning appliance and what is its color?
  4. What was the original use of the Woodland bell?
  5. Where was the riding ring when the Jordan’s first bought Woodland?

Find out more about the many adventures of the 2018 Hilltop girls:

Catherine: my favorites were going to the aqua tramp and the Clue game, I learned that ropes are called sheets in sailing, and a change I made was becoming a nicer person.

Lauren: the horse that almost kicked me off became my favorite horse, and I didn’t know how to take a halter off a horse, let alone ride one!  A change I made this summer was becoming more confident.

Brooke: I enjoyed our canoe trip across the lake, and I learned how to do a front handspring and back walkover in gymnastics.

Isabella: I loved learning how to drop a ski and go around the entire lake and how to make a fishtale bracelet.  A favorite adventure was our cabin’s canoe trip. I became nicer, more easy-going, and “chill” this summer.

Sofia: Our canoe trip was extremely fun; I had never done anything like that before. I know now that if you stay for 6 weeks, you have a lot more fun and you make strong bonds with everyone. I started trying more things and believing in myself more.

Maya: I liked the archery exchange at TP! I learned that if you give someone the tiniest bit of support, it can give them the biggest push.  I also found that when I am struggling, I can look at the situation in a better way.

Tess: I learned that there is no harm in trying new things, and I can do anything I want if I’m positive. I also tried to be more relaxed about passing levels and to be conscious of what I say so that I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Ava: I love to sail, and I tried sail race this year. I had so much fun and learned a lot. I now know that perseverance and passion can help you improve and reach your goals. I made a change by taking chances and striving to take (good) risks (like trying and getting my arial in gymnastics!).

Answers to Trivia questions:

  1. Dan
  2. a laundry room
  3. refrigerator in canteen; it is brown/bronze in color
  4. a train bell
  5. current tennis courts