Category: Get Ready for Camp!

Happy National Croc Day from Treetops

Who would have thought that colored plastic laced with holes would be part of the camp ‘uniform’ at Woodland?! By looking at the shoes left on every cabin porch and on feet of all sizes and shapes, it is obvious the Woodland campers love their Crocs! While Crocs are not officially on the packing list, it is definitely something we tell new campers so they can be part of the Camp Croc Craze.

Crocs are comfy (check out the cushion), practical (they make great shower shoes or to wear at the lake), stylish (sort of – they do come in a variety of fun colors even though they tend to exaggerate a person’s normal shoe size), warm (if you add socks), and are virtually indestructible (my 8 month old puppy has been chewing on the same pair of Crocs for the past 6 months, and I am happy to report they are still completely in tact; my Chaco sandals, not so much!).

You may also notice in the above photo that Crocs can also be personalized with fun Jibbitz shapes and characters that can be inserted into the holes. Maybe they are more waterproof this way for when we have a little Woodland Dew?! It looks like this camper wanted to leave one hole empty to ensure proper ventilation.

Since Treetops has the honors of ‘sponsoring’ this National Holiday (October 23), here is a little more insight into their 2019 camp experience:

In what ways did you SHINE this summer?

Heidi: By being myself and trying not to let anything bring me down

Caroline: I was always nice and included the younger campers. I tried my hardest to do my best in all of my activities.

Catherine: I passed into level 5 in swimming and passed a few levels in riflery.

Lindsey: I met new friends, tried new things, and passed multiple levels!

Eleanora: When I was with my friends.

Anna: By meeting new friends, learning to water ski, doing new skills in all activities and having fun all summer!

Sydney: I met new friends who are so awesome and I can’t wait to write!

When were you your BEST this summer?

Heidi: When I was riding horses and doing archery.

Caroline: When I was swimming.

Catherine: In swimming.

Lindsey: I was at my best in all my activities because I try to do my best in everything I do.

Eleanora: At tennis because I also do it at home.

Anna: When I learned to stand on 2 skis for the first time and passed out of swimming lessons.

Sydney: When I was achieving new things and reaching our goals with my best friends!

Describe a CHANGE you noticed in yourself while at camp:

Heidi: I became more confident with myself, and I started to believe in myself by standing up for myself more.

Caroline: I listen more instead of just talking, and I eat faster.

Catherine: I became more nice and empathetic.

Lindsey: I feel more outgoing and determined now, being able to be myself, also helped.

Eleanora: I became more confident and independent.

Anna: I am now more responsible and open to new experiences and making new friends. I’m not afraid of the lake anymore and things that have to do with it!

Sydney: I started becoming more open to new activities and new challenges.

What lessons were learned from something CHALLENGING?

Heidi: I was homesick at the beginning, so I tried to enjoy my activities and focus on other things at camp.

Caroline: You have to stay confident and power through.

Catherine: I learned that I should never give up because I will eventually achieve my goals.

Lindsey: I learned that no matter what you do, never give up because you lose faith in yourself and stop trying when that happens.

Eleanora: Teamwork solves almost everything.

Anna: By persisting with archery and riflery (shooting at different levels) and learning to water-ski!

Sydney: That I have to swim really fast to get to my goal every day.

Please Don’t Pack My Phone When I Leave For Camp!

Posted by on June 13, 2017


Dear Mom,

I know you have mixed feelings about me not bringing my cell phone to camp.  You are used to communicating with me multiple times a day and getting messages that I forgot my lunch, soccer practice is running late, or that I have a math test tomorrow.  I’m sure it will feel strange not texting or calling while I am away.

Here are a few reasons why it is good for me to “unplug” while I am camp even though I am in constant contact with you when I am home:

1)    It is hard to be 2 places at once!  If I am checking in with you all of the time, then I am not getting to fully enjoy camp.  I will miss out on making friends, settling into my cabin, and all of the exciting activities the counselors have planned for me!

2)    It is important for me to learn to trust other caring adults.  This emerging independence is one of the greatest benefits of camp!  There are great people whom I can reach out to, whether it is my cabin counselor, one of my activity instructors, the camp nurse, or the camp director.  They are good at what they do, and I trust that they will help me adjust to camp life!

3)   While I’m at camp I don’t want to be second guessing myself by having the ability to ask you to decide things for me.  I can do this!!!   It is important for me to grow and learn, little by little, to solve some of my own challenges.  This is how I will develop greater resilience.   I’m sure the counselors will remind me to put on my bug spray and sunscreen, brush my teeth and change my underwear ;-). Don’t worry, they will contact you should an emergency arise.

4)    I want to go all in!   I’m going to start the summer on the right foot by being honest with my counselors and myself.  Some campers wind up with a phone anyway even though they aren’t supposed to have one.  It is really embarrassing for them when the counselor finds out.  I heard some older campers bring two phones so they can turn one in; the “real” is hidden inside a stuffed animal, a book, or even a box of Kleenex. Can you believe it?!

So, when you get the packing list and cell phones are on the list of things NOT to bring to camp, please don’t pack mine.  It will be hard for both of us at first to disconnect in this way, but I will tell you all about my experience when I get home and meanwhile, you can count on camp to post photos to show you what we are doing.  I promise to write letters/Bunk Notes to keep you updated on all of the fun I am having at camp!

Thank you in advance for helping me “unplug” this summer!


A Very Excited Woodland Camper


Treetops is ready for camp!

Posted by on June 5, 2017

This is the last of the “Best Moments” from 2016 – thanks, Treetops, for reminding us to pack our sunscreen, bug spray, water bottle, sunglasses, and Crazy Creek so that we are ready for camp to begin in a few short weeks!  We are VERY excited to see what new memories, achievements, and growth “Create Your Own Scene in ’17” will bring!

What is one moment at camp you will never forget:
Eleanora: When I met my new friends.

Ava: When I met so many people my age and older and when I did new things.

Lilah: My cabin friends!

Lizzy: Song Contest is a moment I will never forget because we worked so hard on it with the props, the dance, and the song.

Brooke: Doing the activities (gymnastics, riding, swimming, archery, dance, rec swim)

Lou: I will never forget the day I passed out of level 4 swimming.

Dani: Winning Song Contest!

Maya: When my riding class trotted – the counselors said it was awesome!

What is something adventurous you did this summer:

Eleanora: I went on a canoe trip.

Ava: I went camping in the wilderness for the first time.   I tried many new things, including the Big Banana.

Lilah: I rode a horse bareback.

Lizzy: Trying something new and going out of my comfort zone.

Brooke: Going on trail rides.

Lou: I went to the bog for nature week.

Dani: Going on our cabin canoe trip and sleeping in a tent in the forest.

Maya: I trotted by myself. I was scared at first, but then it was fun.

What is an achievement for which you are most proud:

Eleanora: I passed Promarksman in riflery.

Ava: Passing level 4 in swimming, trotting in riding, passing Promarksman in riflery, shooting 20 yards in archery, and getting my back handspring!

Lilah: I learned how to do a kneeling dive.

Lizzy: Competing in an individual event in the Olympics.

Brooke: Doing a front and back walkover in gymnastics.

Lou: Passing my Black Archer and trying gymnastics.

Dani: Being in Level 4 in swimming, and being pretty good at tennis, gymnastics, riding, and riflery.

Maya: I tried 5 new things this summer: dance, drama, canoeing, art, and archery.

What is something you learned about yourself:

Eleanora: That camp is not scary!

Ava: I am a leader and a hard worker. I also have a sense of fun and adventure.

Lilah: I really like archery!

Lizzy: I learned that if I put my mind to something, I can do anything!

Brooke: I am really quiet every day.

Lou: I learned that I am really funny! I love myself, and I can do anything if I try my best!

Dani: Don’t say “I Can’t” and never give up.

Maya: I am beautiful inside and out, and I should not judge myself.

The Power of Play

Posted by on March 31, 2017

The Power of Play

The winter months are exciting as we prepare for the upcoming summer. Often we are asked, “so, what do you do in the off-season?” Believe it or not, this time of year can be just as busy as the summer months! We are meeting new and returning campers at camp fairs and open houses, putting together our staff team, checking out new program ideas and resources, and connecting with our camp family via various social media avenues. It is also a time of professional development as we take part in webinars and national and regional conferences so that we stay current with the latest trends in the industry.

One of the interesting themes we have noticed this year is talk around the power of playDr. Shimi Kang, a keynote speaker at the recent American Camp Association National Conference in Albuquerque and author of “The Self-Motivated Kid” talks about how play is directly linked to the development of the prefrontal cortex, which directs our highest levels of thinking and functioning. She goes on to say that play is so important to our survival that the impulse to play is just as fundamental as our impulse to sleep or eat. Play is also essential to the development of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, the skills needed for success in the 21st century. (Kang, 2014)The quote, “Play is the work of children,” takes on various forms and is contributed to Piaget, Maria Montessori, Fred Rogers, and other youth development experts.  Play isn’t exactly a novel concept at Camp Woodland – Mr. Jordan was a huge proponent of the power of play at camp!  Here are some of the ways we foster play throughout the summer:

  • Taking advantage of the outdoor playground all around us! There are sticks, leaves, rocks, etc. that can provide hours of creative thought and play.
  • Opportunities for camper performances at weekly campfires, the annual Lip Sync Contest, and promotional skits at assembly are various “stages” for true colors to shine!
  • Tetherball and other pick-up games are available for free time where campers often collaborate and make up their own rules.

  • Cards and board games provide great fun for cabins during rest hour and at nighttime.
  • The Woodland Drama class uses their creativity and imagination to design props, sets, and costumes for drama productions.
  • Arts and Crafts classes provide starting materials for an idea; it is amazing how each camper develops them into a unique project.

  • Campers use innovation and resourcefulness to plan theme events for evening activities and Sunday’s. Gymnastics mats become elaborate mazes for Camper Council Night, a giant painted rock is the infamous “Mother Lode” for Gold Rush Day, and soccer goals turn into the “jail” for Woodland Fair.  “Minute-To-Win-It” games were a big hit in 2016!
  • Cabin night is another opportunity for campers and counselors to improvise fun things to do.  Jumping on the Aqua Tramp or getting involved in an game of tag always make for a good time!


“It’s happy talent to know how to play”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The 7th Summer THRIVE!!

Racquel & Mera as Zebra TwinsThe temperature’s gradually increasing, the trees are blooming and the refreshing smell of pine fills the air. You know what that means, summer is just around the bend! Camp Woodland awaits the campers to come experience the glorious days filled with activities and wonderful food!

Although I was very anxious about the experience my first summer in 2009 (I will never forget the day my mom and grandpa dropped me off), I thrived! Over the past several years I have personally grown and learned so much while at camp. This will be my 7th summer at Camp Woodland and I wouldn’t want to spend my summers anywhere else or in any other way. The day the campers leave at the end of the summer is the day I begin counting down until they arrive for the next summer.

There are so many different activities that you may never get a chance to try at home. If you’ve always been more of a waterfront person, there’s always an opportunity to experience and thrive with some land sport activities! That is what is so great about getting to change your schedule every 2 weeks, because you’re able to try various activities throughout the summer.

Racquel Drama Mask

You’re sent out on your own with a group of about 8 other girls to live in a cabin (under counselor supervision, of course!), learn from each other, and grow together. The girls come from all over the country and world, giving them the wonderful opportunity to explore different cultures and learn new things. It’s amazing what knowledge and experiences other people can bring to the table; there’s so much to learn!

Over the years, I’ve realized camp is the best place to be yourself, somewhere where you are not being judged. I learned you should always express your true self, because you are the only “you” there is in this world and you have a lot to offer!

The summer awaits for levels to be passed, unbreakable bonds to be formed, experiences to be shared and memories to be made. I am ready to thrive in the summer of 1-5 and enjoy being myself, are you?

Aquarius 2013 Song Contest

Authored by: Raquel R.
High School Graduate Class of 2015