Category: Camp Reunion

Beyond Grateful

We are grateful for our youngest campers in Sunrise!

As the last week of November rolls around, I am reminded of watching Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving Special every year around this time on TV.  Charlie Brown ends up serving Thanksgiving dinner for his friends thanks to Peppermint Patti’s self-invitation when he is really supposed to go to his Grandmother’s for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Charlie Brown enlists the help of Snoopy to help set up for the feast and, low and behold, a non-traditional fare ensues.

When Charlie Brown’s guests sit down to dinner on an assortment of lawn chairs placed around a ping-pong table, his friends are surprised to find popcorn, toast, jelly beans, pretzels, and ice cream sundaes on the menu.  After a much disgruntled Peppermint Patti voices her opinion about the food selections, Linus reminds the group about the true meaning of Thanksgiving and how important it is just to be together by retelling the story of Myles Standish and the Pilgrims on that very first Thanksgiving Day.

After having recently celebrated the Woodland Camp Reunion this past weekend, we are thankful for the opportunity to get together with camp friends at the start of the holiday season.  It was so fun to see campers, staff, and alumni gather 3 months after the close of the summer of “Your Time to Shine in 1-9”.  It was a special time for friends to reunite and catch up on the events of our days away from camp while knowing that the summer of “A Place to Grow in 2-0” is now closer than it was in August!  We were even able to share a similar fare to Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving feast (popcorn, grapes, juice boxes, candy corn, 100 Grands and other tasty treats!) while huddling close to the TV so that we could watch the highlights of the summer of 2019 on the big screen.  Camp memories were relived and shared, stories retold, friendships rekindled, and plans for next summer were formed!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all campers, staff, alumni, and friends…we are grateful for your membership to the Woodland/Towering Pines Family!  Many blessings in the year to come!

What each cabin is thankful for…

Sunrise: having really nice counselors and making new friends

Silver Birch: new friends, having the time of my life, my cabin mates, friendship, camp, JoAnne, the weather, getting Camper of the Day

Starshine: food, activities, being able to come to camp, having fun, being at camp with friends, having great counselors and cabin mates

Hilltop: coming back to camp and the people, winning Gold Rush, thankful for everything from the food to my parents, cabin mates, friends and counselors, for this summer being the best I’ve ever had, everything, getting to try new things

Treetops: getting someone easy in Spoon Assassins, being at camp with nice people, making more friends, being able to have this opportunity and trying new things, riding horses and improving my skills, staying 6 weeks, learning how to waterski, making friends and learning skills

Tamarack: being at camp and getting my 5 yr pendant, having fun, my friends and this safe place where I can relax and be myself, my amazing cabin, everyone in my cabin, having amazing counselors and cabin mates, getting close with all of them and having the best summer ever, for close friends that I can always talk to, my friends, counselors and cabin mates,

Sunnyside: being with cabin mates again from 2016, trying new things and all the opportunities at camp, the friends who are here for me no matter what, having such an amazing cabin, my cabin mates and the staff, having the ability to keep coming back, having the experience I can’t have at home, being able to grow the camp bond with so many people

Aquarius: being able to be CIT’s with my friends, cabin mates and the food, the opportunity to come to a place where I can grow, be myself and learn more about myself, my friends and the memories we made this summer, my friends, campers and counselors

Woodland’s Breakfast Club: Reflections of a Camp Alum and Parent

Posted by on July 22, 2019

by Becky Coady Langton

For those that remember the movies of the 80’s, there is a final scene in Breakfast Club where Jud Nelson reminisces on the day of detention he endured with the most untypical group of students from his high school. Over the process of the detention day, they break down their personal walls and expose who they truly are. Due to those brave acts, they walk away learning so much about each other and themselves. This classic film describes something very similar about my experiences as both a camper at Camp Woodland in ’88 and as a current parent of campers at both Woodland and Towering Pines.

I was a sophomore in high school in 1988. It was a year where I had begun to hang with the “wrong” crowd, and at 15 my parents decided to send me to camp in order to remove me from that environment. I was mortified to be “punished” by being sent to camp. What was I going to do without all my comforts of home and rowdy friends? My sister, Sarah, had gone to Woodland the summer of ’87, but she was ten that summer and in my 15-year-old mind was less connected to her life at home; therefore, she had nothing to lose.

Reluctantly, I began to accept I would be going. Shortly after the decision had been made, JoAnne assigned me a camp sister named Maureen. She had attended camp for several years and was going to be in my cabin – Aquarius (which in my mind was going to look like the song out of the musical Hair I’d seen at Great America my freshman year in high school). We wrote back and forth for a few months (we still have the letters), and I began to feel more connected to leaving my life and heading up to the Northwoods for the summer.

That summer turned out to be the most magical and personal growth oriented summer of my life. I learned how to shoot a rifle and an arrow, how to ski and sail (EN Forever!!), and I got to participate in the best CO-ED show ever! All of these activities I never would have experienced without getting out of my comfort zone just by saying YES.

Activities aside, the most impactful take away from that summer were the friendships. BEST friendships. Friends that I am still deeply connected to today, friends that know the real me and love me anyway. Friends that will tell me my butt looks bad in “those” jeans and friends that make me laugh so hard that I actually pee those same jeans. I just can’t imagine what my life would be like without these people. Camp for me was life changing…life lifting… and personal growth oriented. In no small part I believe I am the person I am today because of that love and caring I received all those summers ago.

Today my kids are at camp having those same experiences (for the 3rd year in a row – lucky ducks!). Syd and Sammy, you are both so fortunate to have the opportunity to do this earlier than I did. I can’t go back in time and attend camp any more years than I had, but you get to do all of what I did and more. I know the impact it’s had on my life, and I know your life will be enriched in a way that you’ll never know any differently. You are getting outside your comfort zones, learning personal communication skills, how to play well with others, how to be goofy and how to be caring and sincere. You’re eating yummy food, working hard at your activities, being a good friend, using your imaginations, setting goals, sleeping hard, and growing into the people that you’ll become. My hope is that one day you will send your kids and make it a 3-generation tradition.

In closing, I will say that each of my camp experiences aided in my gaining a deeper sense of who I was. I left camp that summer and made some different decisions on the friends I would hang with. I began to make better decisions which let to greater personal accomplishment and focus in school. I’m so thankful that my parents insisted I go to camp, my own Breakfast Club experience. It was the opposite of punishment, it was one of the greatest gifts of my life. It was the unexpected. The gloves are off, the emotions are flowing, my heart is open, and I am so deeply grateful for Camp Woodland and Towering Pines…here’s to another 50 years!

Holidays and Family Reunions

Now that the holiday season is upon us (as indicated by the long lines at the post office and popular shopping spots!), many of us have plans to spend time with family and friends in the upcoming weeks. For some, this may be the one of the few times when an entire family (or close to it) is able to get together, a family reunion of sorts.  We do the same thing ourselves when Woodland/TP campers and staff come together on a Saturday in November for an afternoon with camp friends in the Chicago area.

Just like the excitement for the holidays has been building up for several weeks now in anticipation of being with family and friends, the excitement for meeting at Jeff and Jenny’s house also ramped up as campers and staff made plans to spend a few hours together at the annual reunion the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We even have a few die-hard camp friends among us who make the trip to Chicago from Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and Indiana.  It is also fun to see alumni come back who weren’t at camp during the most recent summer!

The video from the summer of 2018 was shown, scrapbooks containing numerous camp photos were passed around, stories from the past summer were retold, school year events were shared, and plans for next year were made to DO WHAT WE LOVE AT CAMP (and of course, all of this is accompanied by an assortment of yummy snacks!).  And, yes, this annual event was one giant family reunion!

As always, it was fun to catch up with everyone, and in case you missed it, here are the highlights!  Campers shared 1) their favorite thing about school this year, 2) what they like to do when not in school, and 3) something learned at Woodland that has been helpful at home or school:

Heidi: 1) rock-climbing, 2) cheerleading, 3) doing the fun arts & crafts at home that I learned

Lilah: 1) reading, 2) horseback riding, 3) I have learned to lead

Lou: 1) math, 2) volleyball, 3) I have learned to lead and stay focused on things

Delia: 1) meeting new people and having more classes and teachers, 2) basketball and tennis, 3) to make the most of every moment and situation and to live in the moment

Sofia B: 1) meeting and seeing my friends, 2) volleyball, 3) not to always be on my phone!

Riley: 1) Spanish & math class, hanging out with friends, 2) basketball, 3) talking and getting to know people has been really helpful

Molly S: 1) hanging out with my friends, 2) basketball, 3) I learned to talk to more people

Molly K: 1) meeting new people and making friends, 2) cross country and tennis, 3) getting out of my comfort zone to try new things

Tori: 1) orchestra, 2) orchestra and violin trio, 3) feeling confident to not always go with the crowd

Bunny: 1) meeting new friends, 2) swimming & skiing, 3) how to be independent

Lauren: 1) making new friends and joining new sports activities, 2) travel softball, ski/snowboarding club, track & field, volleyball, 3) to be a team player and make everyone feel included

Dani: 1) ceramics class, 2) mock trial and we are trying to go to state this year, 3) to be more positive

Libby: 1) meeting new people, 2) horseback riding, 3) how to be a team player

Amelia D: 1) meeting new people, 2) horseback riding, 3) communication skills and working with other people

Abbey: 1) sleeping in math class, 2) working and doing homework, 3) patience

Izzi: 1) clubs & sports, 2) field hockey, and 3) being a CIT and learning leadership skills

Irene: 1) English, 2) basket weaving, and 3) cleaning my room

Kelly: 1) new friends, 2) swimming & soccer, 3) leadership

Molly J: 1) meeting new friends, 2) horseback riding, 3) how to be a leader

Cayley: 1) anatomy & drawing class, 2) volleyball, 3) the importance of developing strong friendships and support system

Amelia K: 1) I like my classes and making new friends, 2) cross country and various clubs, 3) treat others the way you want to be treated

Jae: 1) math, 2) ice-skating and music, 3) self-discipline

Sam: 1) looking forward to camp & seeing friends from camp, 2) watch co-ed show DVD, look through camp pictures, and plan events with camp friends, 3) patience, leadership, social skills

p.s. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to join us for the Chicago reunion, starting in January, we will be visiting camp families around the US and bringing the reunion to YOU!

 

Reunion Rap #2 2017

2017 CIT’s

What is your favorite thing about school this year?

Izzi: Being in high school

Abbey: Freedom

Irene: Being at a new school and making new friends

Amelia: I love meeting new friends, and I really enjoy cross country!

Cayley: Meeting new people, and experiencing a new environment

Kelly: The school swim team and my friends on the team

Sofia: My friends

Sam: Meeting new people and spending time with friends

Molly: Going to a new school and meeting new people

Jae: Getting to see all of my friends every day

Hilltop 2017

What activities do you participate in or what do you like to do when you are not in school?

Izzi: Field hockey

Abbey: Play the ukulele

Irene: Volleyball and lacrosse

Amelia: I do cross country and track at school which are a lot of fun!

Cayley: I play volleyball, and I like to read.

Kelly: Swimming and soccer

Sofia: Horseback riding and tennis

Sam: I love playing soccer, hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing with my dogs

Molly: I horseback ride every week

Jae: Figure skating, band, vocal jazz band, choir, acapella


2017 JC’s

What is something learned at Woodland that has been helpful to you at home or school?

Izzi: Leadership

Abbey: Making conversations NOT awkward

Irene: To stay organized and calm

Amelia: To always try my best and work towards my goals

Cayley: Leadership, adaptability, and interaction skills

Kelly: Leadership skills and the ability to make new friends easily

Sofia: Friendship

Sam: Leadership and social skills have definitely helped me a lot

Molly: Camp has taught me how to be a leader and get out of my comfort zone & try new things

Jae: Leadership and being able to make new friends

 

Reunion Rap #1 2017

Silver Birch 2017

As you can see, we had a FABULOUS turn out for the annual Chicago reunion the weekend before Thanksgiving!  In a series of blogs in the upcoming weeks, we will give you an update about the Woodland girls who joined us for the afternoon to watch the 2017 camp video, flip through the new scrapbook, relive camp memories, and of course, to eat yummy treats.  Thank you to our long distance travelers for joining us from Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Florida, and Mexico!  If we were not able to connect with you at this event, please feel free to share your news with us for a future post.

Favorite thing about school:

Delia: being the oldest in the school

Eleanor: reading a lot of books

Kaitlyn: chorus

Lou: I like having many teachers and classes

Molly: teachers and friends

Lucy: the administration is super nice

Lauren: learning new things

Lilli: they built a new school that is really nice and modern, and I like spending time with my friends

Rachel: spending time with my friends

Libby: socializing

Starshine 2017

Activities (when not in school):

Delia: I like to do tennis

Eleanor: I like to go outside and play

Kaitlyn: gymnastics and dance

Lou: I like to do gymnastics and hang out with my friends; I also love to play soccer

Molly: cross country and tennis

Lucy: I like to write

Lauren: softball and gymnastics

Lilli: volleyball and confirmation class

Rachel: I like to dance

Libby: horseback riding

What is something you learned at Woodland that has been helpful to you at home or school?

Delia: tennis, I’m better at serving

Eleanor: to go outside a lot and be more healthy

Kaitlyn: for gymnastics I could do a back hip circle and a handstand forward roll

Lou: I learned how to aim for my goals

Molly: I learned about better interaction and relationships and how to deal with different situations

Lucy: definitely social skills

Lauren: how to make new friends

Lilli: to be more tolerant of people

Rachel: learning how to play tennis and archery

Libby: how to be organized

Tamarack 2017

Stay tuned for more reunion news in future blog posts!