Category: Soaring Free in 2-3

Memories that Linger from Summer 2023

With the holidays upon us, it is not uncommon to reminisce about memories from previous holiday celebrations. Remember the year we had a tornado warning on Christmas Day? (That’s Nebraska for you – no joke!) Can you believe it is has been 10 yrs since Santa made an appearance at our house? (Thanks, Mom!) What about the time the dog pulled the turkey off the counter when no one was watching?! (Let’s hope that I am not projecting something that will be a new memory!)

In similar fashion at the end of the recent summer, campers shared those things that they will never forget from their weeks spent on County D. Some of the memories were expressed by multiple individuals, while others were unique to the individual. You will notice that some are related to activities (first time trying something or reaching a certain level), while others are centered around a particular special event. Some memories make no sense (ex: Timmy the turtle, puppy parties, mosh pitting) because they are an inside joke to the campers and counselors from a given cabin. Regardless, this is how summer 2023 went down in the books for this year’s group of campers!


Audrey: poor Timmy the turtle, finding out that Clara is Eleanor’s sister, and taking my first swimming lesson; Amelia: Alien Invasion, my first year cabin name, my counselors and CIT’s; Evie: kneeboarding for the 1st time, when I accidentally trotted, making new friends in my cabin; Jaclyn: Gold Rush, taking the goats on a walk, going on the banana boat & tubing; Eleanor: Timmy the turtle, the aqua tramp, cha cha dance we did in drama; JoJo: Oli’s fidget from the TP Fair, Camp Birthday, almost getting mine and Oli’s Crocs stuck in a tree; Luci: aqua tramp, TP Fair, Gold Rush; Georgia: Timmy the turtle, meeting everybody, Camp Birthday; Fiona: trotting and playing tennis for the first time, aqua tramp; Oli: Song Contest, poor Timmy the turtle, and Gold Rush

Silver Birch

Alice: lemon water, the bunnies, Ava: cat vs avocado; Elyse: learning to ride a horse, knee boarding, CIT games; Clara: learning side stroke, going out of the wake, and learning how to trot; Masyn: my counselors, my friends, my bed; Lia: winning Song Contest and Olympics; Mojo: lemon water, trotting on Tabasco, and Camila & Kenzie teaching level 5 in swimming; Roberta: my friends, my cabin, campfire; Ana Roberta: passing levels and having a nickname; Maya (CIT): passing my expert in riflery, first Co-Ed Show practice, and all the Co-Ed Show rehearsals


Eloise: trying sailing and tennis, seeing my aunt; Maggie: getting 2 bullseyes, meeting cabinmates, and Ratatouille; Olivia H: our cabin rat, the Doctor (a game), and the CL (camper lounge); Casilda: bus ride to camp, Song Contest, and cheeto disaster; Renata: Ratatouille and losing my Crocs; Camila: Ratatouille, love bench, and activities; Dani (CIT): Co-Ed Show practice, Olympics (“I won”!!) Dragons, and canoe trip with my campers


Hannah: puppy parties, riflery, and making rope; Orla:puppy parties, swimming mornings, and archery; Maddie H: learning how to swim, my first time at TP Fair, and passing level 3 in swimming; Amelia: puppy parties, archery, and (kind of) learning to dive; Maddie B: puppy parties and dance parties; Nat (CIT): Co-Ed Show practice, meals with Live-ins, Gold Rush


Julia: reading during rest hour, skiing and tubing with Taylor, and canoe trip at the landing; Regi: cabin nights, inside jokes, and funny moments; Natalia: Karaoke Night, aqua tramp, and cabin canoe trip; Olive: the first cabin night, when someone first said “hi” to me, and riding Tabasco for the first time; Sophia: first cabin night, certain tennis lessons, and sail days; Casi: Karaoke Night, scary story night, and Camper Council; Taylor: Cabin Night #1, “Phase One” jokes, reuniting with my cabin; Tess (CIT): trying all of the “hard” horses, meals with the 2nd year CIT’s, and Co-Ed Show practices (get excited!)


Zoe: late night whispering, clogged toilet, dance party; Alix: Mother Zoe and her 9 ex-husbands; Stella: getting to 40’s in riflery in ONE summer, going to the TP riflery exchange, and Sunnyside Camper Council; Amelia: dance parties, banana boating, and cabin skits/campfire; Phoebe: dancing and doing squats in the pouring rain, mosh pitting to “bad bunny” in the cabin, getting up on waterskies; Clara: mosh pitting to 7 rings, getting a couch, and cantering through the meadow on Seven; Olivia: writing to TP boys, listening to music and dancing in the rain, making new friends, falling off the tube in the middle of the lake; Sydney: mosh pitting with cabin and writing to TP boys; Isabella (CIT): Olympics, Co-Ed Show practices, and Lou & Maya getting their expert in riflery


Vale: first day, 4-week mark in rest, hour, and “touch the fence”; Marion: Cathy’s ice cream, World Cup, and swimming; Lizzie: playing lax with my cabin, going to Cathy’s, late night talks with cabin; Bella: going to Cathy’s, the “duck”, and the goats; Izzy: going to Cathy’s, tubing on cabin night, and cabin nights; Elizabeth: staying up late at the 4-week mark, winning a sail race while skippering, and everyone getting to camp on the bus and saying “hi”; Katherine: staying up till an undisclosed time at the end of 4 weeks, going to Cathy’s with my friends, and all of our cabin inside jokes


Sofia: Mona Lisa, my first time trying knee boarding, and cabin nights; Delia: Co-Ed Show and sailing; Lou: passing my Golden Archer, playing “touch the fence” in tennis, and learning the first Co-Ed Show dance; Lizzy: Co-Ed Show Practice, TP Fair, and Gold Rush; Lizzie: inside jokes, learning how to ski, and passing my advanced canoeing; Kaitlyn: “Do you like kisses”, “Cheese-me”, and Co-Ed Show practice; Lilah: EVERYTHING!

As we get ready to turn the page from one calendar year to another, the lyrics from the song, “Witchcraft,” come to mind: “Memories that linger, constant and true…memories we cherish, Camp Woodland, of you.”


The great thing about a new summer is the chance to create new memories! Now is a GREAT time to enroll your camper/s for 2024 and reserve your spot/s. Sign up HERE:

2023 Gift Guide for Your Woodland Camper

We love the Holiday season for all the reasons you might expect: spending time with friends and family, enjoying traditions new and old, the anticipation of the first snowfall of the year and all of the activities that come along with it. The Jordan family has a tradition of spending time up North during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Sledding, making a snow angels, and romping through the woods in the snow are favorite outdoor activities.

Presents are always a big part of the festivities, and we care about them because to us, they represent more than just “stuff.” When we gift generously and thoughtfully we demonstrate our love for other peoples’ joy.

In that spirit, we are sharing our gift guide for the Woodland Camper, where we’ve compiled our best ideas for meaningful presents that help us remember previous summers or get us excited for the upcoming one. Of course, experiencing camp is the best gift ever (register for 2024 HERE), so these are just a few extra ideas!

Gifts to remind her of her favorite camp moments:

  • Our top recommendation? Nothing beats a trip to see her camp friends! Help bridge the gap between summers by having a reunion with her favorite people mid-year.
  • A Frosted Pine candle invokes memories of being in the Northwoods, especially when at Vespers Hill during Inspiration Hour, taking a trail ride, or sitting at the beach for campfire.
  • custom retro viewfinder can display camp photos in a new way.
  • Table Topics are a classic, and these on-the-go versions will get your family connecting and sharing.
  • Stay warm with a classic Woodland sweatshirt. They are truly timeless and the perfect lightweight sweatshirt for chilly summer mornings. Everything Summer Camp is offering a discount on Woodland/TP apparel through Dec 9th!

Gifts for game nights, rainy days, and missing Rest Hour:

Gifts to elevate your bunk:

  • What about a bulletin board to display your photos from home? This pin board name is really cool!
  • Or a cozy pair of pajamas?! Nothing beats pima cotton, especially Lake pjs. They are softer after every wash and hold up well for years. Elevate your bunk by elevating your jammies!
  • Make your bunk extra comfy this year with a cozy blanket or a pillow with a camp theme like this pine cone or campfire.

More gift ideas:

  • Recreate favorite camp activities at home! Look for a shooting range, a pottery studio, or a gymnastics experience where you live or might be visiting over the holidays.
  • You can also gift her an upgraded accessory for next summer. Think a new tennis racquet, riding helmet or boots, a Crazy Creek, or camera to capture her favorite memories.
  • Christmas is the perfect time to stock up on new camp apparel from Everything Summer Camp! You could also put a new pair of Crocs or maybe a backpack to carry around to activities under the tree this year.

Whatever gift you choose this Holiday season, your camper is sure to love the meaning and thoughtfulness behind it. We are counting down the days until we can be together again with our Camp Woodland family…Happy Holidays!

This blog was inspired by a North Carolina camp.

Friendsgiving: Anywhere and Anytime

Here’s a math problem to solve: Camp Reunion + Thanksgiving = ???? (^hint: look at the title of the blog^)

It was super fun to gather in the Chicago area this past weekend for a reunion of camp friends – both Woodland and TP (Friendsgiving)! Campers and staff were together for part of the afternoon to catch up on the past few months, share memories and stories of summers past, and build excitement for “Opening New Doors in ’24”! It was just like being back at camp during Fair Day…snacks were served and games were played (with prizes!). Some of our favorite CIT’s were on hand to infuse camp spirit, and, of course, cameras documented the event (hence the photos you see here).

One of the things I have learned over the years is that campers (and staff) return to camp because of the people. Sure, activities and traditions are part of the draw to come back to County D Road. However, these wouldn’t be the same without the individuals who are there to create the memories we rely on this time of year when summer is still over a half a year away.

The ecosystem of camp is such that the bonds of friendship are strong because of the welcoming community from the beginning. The staff are really good at helping campers integrate into the camp experience and intentional about giving them organic opportunities to meet and learn about each other in an authentic way. It doesn’t take long for the seeds of friendship to grow!

Towards the end of the summer, we asked campers to reflect on what it looks like when they are being a good friend at camp (and would love for this to spill over into being a friend at home and school!).

When I am being a good friend at camp I am:


Audrey: helping cheer them up; Amelia/Georgia: helping; Evie: kind, respectful and responsive; Jaclyn/Eleanor: being kind;  JoJo: having fun; Luci: thoughtful and respectful; Fiona/Oli: including others; Oli: being nice

Silver Birch

Alice/Masyn: being kind and helpful; Elyse: helping others and being thoughtful; Clara: helping people and being myself; Lia: happy; Mojo: welcoming; Roberta: nice and kind; Ana Roberta: when I don’t get angry; Maya (CIT): talking/including others


Eloise: making others feel at home; Maggie: helping others; Olivia H: nice; Casilda: nice to them; Renata/Camila: empathetic; Dani (CIT): patient


Hannah: me; Orla: happy; Maddie H: a good listener; Amelia: helping everyone no matter what; Maddie B: calm; Nat (CIT): being empathetic and myself


Julia: helping others; Regi: proud of myself for having awesome friends; Natalia: nice and helpful; Olive: helping others when they are homesick; Sophia: understanding, positive, respectful; Casi: always helping; Taylor: comforting them; Tess (CIT): not fighting when things get hard


Zoe: funny/kind; Alix: kind and thoughtful; Stella: chillin’; Amelia: nice, understanding, respectful; Phoebe: proud, happy, positive; Clara: happy; Olivia: there for them; Sydney: happy; Isabella (CIT): having fun


Vale: feeling good and happy; Marion: friendly; Lizzie: including others; Bella: kind and respectful to others; Izzy: making new friends in activities; Elizabeth: being nice and inclusive; Katherine: super happy


Sofia: empathetic; Delia: open; Lou: making people laugh; Lizzy: thoughtful and not annoying; Lizzie: helping others feel better; Kaitlyn: respectful; Lilah: being kind

Friendsgiving: Anywhere and Anytime!

The gathering in Chicago was the kickstart to camp reunions anywhere, anytime! It is EASY to host your own FRIENDSGIVING for camp friends where you are. Let us know HERE that you are interested, and we will help get it organized!


Now is a GREAT time to enroll your camper/s for 2024 and reserve your spot/s. Sign up HERE:

Revving Up for the CWTP Reunion

What seems like a million years ago when we lived in Texas, I would dread the November weekend each year when somewhere around 400,000 people on 150,000 motorcycles joined the residents of Galveston Island for the Lone Star Rally. I would listen to bikes of all shapes and sizes drive by all day (and all night). In looking back on that time, I can’t help but think how the bikers were really just coming to the Island for their yearly reunion. And, we are about to do the same thing ourselves when Woodland/TP campers and staff come together this coming weekend for an afternoon with camp friends in the Chicago area.

I’m sure the Lone Star Rally revs up each year as the weeks and days draw closer in anticipation of meeting up with friends who haven’t seen each other for a period of time. Bikers gather at their favorite restaurants to catch up on the events that have passed between visits, enjoy rides along the beach and other scenic routes, meet new friends, and make plans for future opportunities to do what they love (ride motorcycles). In many ways, this annual biker weekend is one giant family reunion.

Sound familiar?! The excitement for gathering at the Northfield Community Church on Saturday, November 18th is building as campers and staff make plans to spend a few hours together at the annual reunion the weekend before Thanksgiving. We are also making it possible for campers and staff who do not live in the Chicago area to “pop in” on Zoom to say hello to cabin mates and friends. What if it’s been more than a year since you have been to camp OR if this will be your first time? We would love for any former campers/staff (once a part of the Woodland/TP camp family, always a part of our camp family!) and new campers who will be joining us in 2024 to stop by. Please feel free to bring along any friends from home who might want to learn more about the TWO BEST CAMPS AROUND! 

The video from the recent summer will be shown, scrapbooks containing numerous camp photos will be passed around, stories from the past summer will be retold, school year events will be shared, and plans for next year will be made to DO WHAT WE LOVE AT CAMP (and of course, we will enjoy an assortment of yummy snacks!).  And, yes, this weekend will be one giant family reunion!

 We can’t wait to see you on Saturday, November 18th from 3:30-5:00 pm CST!  Please RSVP HERE to let us know you are coming. Check your email to get the Zoom link to join virtually (4-5 pm). p.s. Motorcycles/bikes welcome!

It Starts by Making Your Bed Each Morning

As I struggled to straighten the sheets, blankets and pillows on my bed this morning, I am reminded that one of the first things I do at camp each day is make my top bunk bed. I stand on the frame of the bottom bunk and wrangle the thick comforter (that is out of view at the foot of the bed in the photo below – gotta love the often chilly Northern Wisconsin summer nights!) and other bedding items into place. I then get dressed and place my PJ’s on my pillow so they are in position for my evening routine. Now I am truly ready to start my day!

We often hear from parents in those first days/weeks after camp, that their camper/s is/are faithful about making her bed every morning, picking up clutter around the bedroom/house, brushing teeth, and pitching in with daily chores without batting an eye. My question is…is your camper still in the habit of doing those beginning of day routines?

Truth be told, I can honestly say that I am not great about this particular ritual once I am home from camp. For one, there is a good chance that my husband is still sleeping when I get up (especially on weekends), so it is kind of hard to make a bed when someone is in it! Then I get busy with other routines: making coffee, assembling a yogurt parfait for my husband’s car ride to work, taking the dogs for a walk, exercising, etc. By the time I get through with all of that, I may straighten out the sheets a bit and take a quick pass at the top cover with a lint roller to remove the excess of dog hair, but that is about it. Many days, I completely forget about my unmade bed and jump into other tasks and projects (which usually does not include taking a shower!).

In listening recently to part of a commencement speech given by Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven and reading the first chapter of his book “Make Your Bed,” I am rethinking the importance of what often seems at surface level to be a very mundane and insubstantial task. McRaven even goes so far to say, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Wow, what?! How does making my bed help me change the world? Explanation, please! As you may know, Navy SEAL training is some of the toughest training around, both physically and mentally. Each day starts with an inspection of the uniform and bed by an instructor with a critical eye for neatness and perfection.

McRaven actually didn’t mind the simple task of making his bed while in the Navy – he came to appreciate that it was the one constant he could count on every day. It was the one thing he knew he could do without fail. And, he could do it well. It was something to be proud of. Being the first of many tasks in a given 24 hours, sometimes success can be measured just by completing something (even if it is small). If one task is completed, then follows another and another. Next thing you know, a whole string of tasks have been executed, and from that comes a sense of pride and accomplishment. Sometimes in a world where there is little control, making your bed IS the one sure thing in your control. Why not begin each day with a win?!

All campers and staff start the day by making their bed (and why snuggling up in a sleeping bag is a fun change of pace on a canoe overnight adventure as you see in the photos). It is even part of the “scoring” for when the nurse and CIT on duty come around to “inspect” cabins. Having a neat bed may be the difference in earning a pizza party or trip to Cathy’s for being the cabin with the high “score” at the end of each week. Making your bed is the beginning of many opportunities to be successful throughout the camp day. From there it might be that a bullseye is hit in archery, a horse can be approached without being nervous, a mooring is made in sailing, a new food is tried at lunch, water-skiing is attempted during Rec Swim, and participating in skit at campfire becomes fun (and not dreaded).

Being away from camp at this moment in time, what if we get back to the routine of starting the day off with a simple, yet achievable task? The mere act of making the bed can then lead to turning in homework on time, asking a question in class, sitting by someone outside a friend group in the cafeteria, feeling confident before a quiz or test, finishing a report a few days before it is due, complimenting someone on their effort on the field or court, and so much more.

I know I’m going to work at doing better to make MY bed each morning. A win in the first 5 minutes of the day sounds like a no-brainer! Will you and your camper/s join me? It might just be a little thing that turns into some BIGGER things that change how things go in life AND in the world.