Category: Here Comes the Sun in ’21

From Virtual to…

We have been grateful for the opportunity to interact with staff, counselors, campers and parents through the virtual medium over the past several months. Zoom chats, virtual game nights, virtual campfires and even virtual alumni camp tours provided a way for the camp connections we all crave to happen. It’s a way to support one another during a time when, perhaps, things seemed far less than normal.

We were amazed by the creativity and ingenuity that our camp community summoned in order to surpass cyber boundaries to bring a bit of camp into our lives when we all needed it. Campers created skits, performed challenges, and sang songs while zooming from different parts of the world. CIT’s stepped up to facilitate parts of campfires and game nights showing that they truly are learning spectacular leadership skills that transfer into areas of life we may have least expected.

Counselors created the “Dining Hall Bracket” on social media to decide what the most delicious meal is at camp. Lasagna won, but the competition was fierce!! Other fun events were camp bingo and some challenging camp trivia. Finally, who knew that we could actually try our hand at virtual Gold Rush?! Again, when camp people come together, creativity abounds. We found ways to share positive vibes with our camp family even if that meant doing so through cyber space.

We are thankful for the opportunity to stay in touch through Zoom, social media and even “snail mail,” However, what we are REALLY and TRULY looking forward to is seeing all of you in person next summer! There is nothing better than the sights and sounds of campers and counselors engaged in learning and having fun while doing it. The echoes of laughter amidst the quiet whisper of the white pines is an almost magical sound. There is so much amazing growth that happens during those six weeks of camp, and we can’t wait to share it with campers again next summer.

As many different versions of school are beginning in the next few weeks, we are hoping for positive experiences for our camp families. We will stay in touch throughout this year, and as always, we love to hear from you!! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and look for e-mails and monthly mailings from us as well. We are currently taking early enrollment for our camp families. Early enrollment tuition remains at the 2020 rate through Labor Day, September 7, 2020. Use discount code OLDFAM to receive 2020 tuition rates. Click here to register!!  If you’d like to share the “awesomeness” of your camp experience with other potential campers, we are extremely appreciative of any referrals.

We are looking ahead to many positive adventure-filled moments at Camp Woodland and Towering Pines where these children can grow as individuals and members of a community. The future looks bright…Here Comes the Sun ’21’!!

Here Comes the Sun

Posted by on July 23, 2020

Some of you might recognize this photo being at the end of the Woodland “dew” post with our news to suspend programming for the summer of 2020. We decided that it is appropriate to begin this post with the same scene and a promise of better days ahead. As the weeks of July march on, we have seen the clouds dissipate and rays of sunshine start to peek their way through the pine trees and cast a warm glow on Sand Lake.

While the easy thing to do would have been to take a “vacation” from camp this summer, we decided to do the exact opposite. We brought our leadership team together for what we called “Summer Summit 2020”. With an end goal of 2 camps – 1 mission – no divide, we have worked towards bringing Woodland and Towering Pines together in a way that allows us to unify our message and plan for the success of the next 25, 50, 75 years and beyond. We have also agreed to disagree. Without straying from the mission, there may be programs and systems that look different or are carried out differently at each camp, but we are on the same page with why we are here and what is fundamental to both camps (community, growth, respect, responsibility, and safety).

We looked closely at the camper and staff experience, programming, our business and marketing plans, and alumni outreach as broad strokes. We got into the weeds a bit and had conversations about the CIT program, staff time off, length of activity periods, social media, and camper/staff recruiting/retention…just to name a few. We spent time training on Camp Brain (our new database) and gathering content for winter engagement with our camp community (holiday card photo – check!). We even had a pitch from two of our current staff on how Farm Zoo could take on a new look in future summers.

We rolled up our sleeves and dug into projects to make facility improvements. Several bathrooms have been updated, walls have been painted, cracks in the volleyball court filled, and the deck on the way to the beach has been given a new shine. We are grateful to Jeff, Evan, Jon and other camp friends who pushed through some pretty warm (bordering on HOT) days to make this happen.

All work and no play is NOT what camp is about. We had FUN together, too! We began our Summit with a game of Bunko so that we could ease into some topics on our list and begin conversations. We ate meals in the lodge at Woodland (thank you, Drinka!), enjoyed the TP and Woodland waterfronts just about every afternoon (JoAnne and Kim went for a spin on a paddle board in windy conditions and have decided that more “board” meetings are in order next summer!), took daily hikes/walks/runs in the woods or on County D, made s’mores, and gazed at the stars while hanging around the campfire at the site by Treetops.

This summer has been like no other. While we have spent this time at 8080 Camp RD and it looks like camp (the cabins and buildings are still here), sounds like camp (we ring the bell to keep us on schedule), and smells like camp (we may have had a skunk grace us near the barn), it doesn’t feel like camp. We miss every single camper and staff member who breathes life into the place of camp. We miss the people. We miss YOU. We can’t wait until we can be  together again. Here comes the sun in 2021!