Category: Get Ready for Camp!

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

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Posted by on March 11, 2015

CW March15

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Hilltop 2014!

During the month of March, I often think of Kermit the Frog and the song, “It’s Not Easy Being Green”.  While Kermit is referring to the color green in his song, I am reminded of a state of being.  When you are “green” at something, it often means that you are new.  There are many times in life that we are put in a new situation, whether it be changing schools, joining a sports team or club, moving to a different location, starting a new job, switching careers, etc.

Kermit the Frog

Coming to camp for the first time may bring about feelings of being green.  Being new can seem scary or challenging at first.   You may be wondering if you will fit in, if the other campers will like you, if the food tastes like what you eat at home, if your bed will be comfortable, and a long list of other thoughts that may be crossing your mind in the days and months leading up to your first sleep-away camp experience.

New campers

First of all, you should know that at Camp Woodland, we LOVE having new campers join us each summer!  It is fun to welcome girls from new places that will contribute to the diverse culture of geographic locations that are represented each year.  This will add to a growing list of connections that you will make by having friends from all around the world.  New campers bring a fresh perspective and energy that is important to the life of camp – we THRIVE because you are a VITAL part of our camp family!


To help you feel comfortable in your new summer home, we have several things in place to make it easy for you to get in the groove of camp.  First off, your counselors will greet you with a BIG smile and lend a hand with moving in and settling into your cabin.  They will explain the routines of a typical day and will be ready to answer any questions you may have.  After that, you will get to play a ton of FUN games that will assist you with learning the names of the other girls in your cabin and around camp.  Because we are a smaller camp, it is truly a place “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” in a very short amount of time!

"                               "

Before selecting your activities for the first session, you will have the opportunity to take a tour and see where each takes place, meet the staff, and find out all of the cool stuff you will get to do.  Evenings will offer an opportunity to do a cabin activity, be part of our weekly campfire, or choose a different activity based on a weekly theme.  You will be a pro in no time!  Dan will serve some awesome meals that will provide comfort as you spend your first few days at camp.  Don’t be surprised if you ask your Mom when you return home to cook a recipe that is something new you tried at camp!

"                               "

New can also be exciting!  You will be embarking on an adventure that may be different from what your friends may choose to do this summer.  Even veteran campers experience a taste of “being green” each summer.  They may be in a different cabin with a new mix of campers from the year before or they may decide to try a new activity or challenge themselves in an old one.  The great thing is that we are there to support each camper every step of the way.  So, maybe it really IS easy being green after all at Camp Woodland!  Come see for yourself and join us for summer 2015…we can’t wait to meet you!

Hilltop 7

We would like to invite you to learn more about the Camp Woodland Advantage at our Spring Sing Around the “Campfire” Night:


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Drop in anytime from 4-7 pm


The Buzz Café

905 S. Lombard Ave

Oak Park, IL

Please RSVP to:

 (cookout style dinner: burgers, hot dogs, fruit, chips, and a yummy s’mores dessert!)