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Advice for First Time Camp Staff

Posted by on May 8, 2023


Maybe this is your first ever camp experience and all of your expectations are based on scenes from the Parent Trap. Making the exciting decision to come to camp might give you butterflies of the unknown whether you’re a seven year old who has never spent a night away from home or a student looking for a summer job. Whatever encouraged you to join our camp family for the summer, the adventure you’re about to embark on at Camp Woodland has the potential to be transformative! What that growth and personal development will look like is up to you.

The truth of the matter is, every camp experience is unique. Although we can’t promise exactly what that will look like for you, we can promise you this: you will be challenged in ways you’ve never been challenged before; you will meet people from diverse backgrounds with perspectives different from your own; you will have the chance to practice skills that you’ll use for the rest of your life whether you’re applying to med school or backpacking through Europe, and you will build lifelong relationships along the way.

Regardless of how you’re feeling as we approach orientation, here are some things to think about as you consider the kind of summer you want to have. At the end of the day–all challenges and setbacks aside–there’s only one person who can make or break your summer, and that person is you.


It’s so important to enter any new situation with purpose. As much as camp is about having fun and creating an amazing opportunity for the kids, it’s also about growing as a leader and becoming a better version of yourself. Take advantage of this time to focus on your personal goals! Think about the kind of person you want to be and what it takes to get there so that by the time you leave, you feel like you have improved in one way or another. Some days, you may experience conflict that could make you question your decision to come to camp. It’s in those moments that I encourage you to remind yourself of your purpose for being here, and how this experience fits into your life.


Get ready to step out of your comfort zone and buy-in. One thing all of us can agree on is the importance of leaving your ‘cool’ at the gate. Camp is a place where you can be yourself. It’s also a place where people come together from all over the world. Embrace that opportunity and come ready to do new things and learn! Introduce us to things you’re passionate about and pick up some new interests along the way.


Very few people have the chance to be a part of a community as special as the one we have built each summer at Woodland over the years. Through all the ups and downs the summer is bound to bring, remind yourself to appreciate the opportunity we have to be together in such a beautiful place. As emerging leaders, cultivating a habit of gratitude can help us and those in our community to appreciate the good in their lives and focus on the positive aspects of challenging circumstances.


If you ask any returning staff members why they choose to come back, they’ll smile and tell you there’s just something about the place–something they can’t quite express in words– that you have to experience for yourself. Camp is a special chance to bring together a group of people that will form a unique bond. When all is said and done and you pack up your bags to head home, something will strike you deep down as you realize that this exact group of individuals who you have laughed with, made memories with, and worked with tirelessly will never exist together in the same place again. Camp is a unique and fleeting experience, and it is easy to get caught up in planning for what is next in your life. Don’t forget to slow down and be where your feet are.

Coming to camp with goals and a vision for what you want to get out of your time at Camp Woodland will help you leave with memories that will last a lifetime. My hope for you is that by the time you leave, you’ll look back on the experience and be proud of the effort you put into bettering yourself. I hope that you feel confident that you made the most of the opportunity we have to come together and build a unique community, and feel that you made a positive impact in your own way. I hope that you feel like there’s nothing more you could have done to make the most of your time at Woodland, because I guarantee, come January, you’ll be dreaming of days on Sand Lake.

Originally Posted by Ronan Corley (Camp Winaukee)

Driftwood & Starshine Setting Good Examples!

There are so many extraordinary ways our girls learn to set good examples for their younger counterparts at camp.  From the time they wake up in the  morning to the sound of the Woodland bell, to the moment they fall asleep in their bunks at night after a busy day of activities, they are surrounded by staff and other campers leading by positive example.

There are role models guiding them each step of the way as they stay in their summer home at Camp Woodland. There are a plethora of opportunities to learn healthy, productive and favorable habits by observing, listening, interacting and practicing what they see.  These girls are encouraged to live by their “good examples” and to be a positive force in all aspects of not only what they do at camp, but also what they do at home, in school and for their communities.

The young leaders from Driftwood and Starshine are no exception to these principles. They have grown into some of the best role models for our younger campers and embody all things Camp Woodland. They jump right in to their activities with passion and enthusiasm and are always willing to lend a helping hand. These fun loving, enthusiastic campers had a lot of memories to share from their most recent summer at Camp Woodland, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next summer when they officially join the CIT (and CIT in training) program!

What is something new that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022?

“Something new I learned about myself is that I am able to live and be happy in an environment that is so different from the one I’m usually in at home.” – Sydney H. (Starshine)

“I enjoy not having my phone and being present.” – Lilah D. (Starshine)

“I learned that I’m really capable of doing whatever I want and reaching my goals if I set my mind to it. Everything you dream is possible if you set your mind to it!” – Mariana M. (Starshine)

In what ways did you GROW this summer?

“This summer I grew by never giving up when I couldn’t do something on the first try. I grew emotionally in the way I respond to others.” – Andrea G. (Starshine)

“I took risks, tried new things, and learned more. I also learned how to work better as a team.” – Kaitlyn G. (Starshine)

“When I joined sail race and skippered my first race, when I rode different horses, and when I jumped for the first time.” – Sydney L. (Driftwood)

In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY?

“When we all accepted each other. Also, in ropes course we learned that what matters is teamwork and kindness in every conflict so that we can solve it together.” – Ivana R. (Starshine)

“I felt that I was a part of a community when my cabin lifted me up whenever I was feeling down, and when I lifted them up.” – Delia C. (Driftwood)

In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer?

“I had some hard times with my friends and my cabin helped me through them. When I am struggling my friends always help me.” – Lizzy E. (Starshine)

“My counselors were very empathetic and patient for each and every one of us.” – Lou D. (Driftwood)

“Accepting differences, listening to others’ needs and my own, tolerance, and appreciation… especially seeing it from a CIT/counselor point of view.” – Ana V. (Driftwood Live-In)

Cabin Theme Poster Tradition (Featuring Treetops)

One of our favorite camp traditions that we have kept alive over the years is CABIN THEME POSTERS. Each summer, counselors blow us away with their creativity by coming up with a cabin theme and creating a cabin poster and name tags for each bunk. Getting to see the theme and their name above a bunk is one of the most exciting moments for a camper entering their summer home for the first time. These themes and decorations really transform the cabins into the cozy, magical places we call home all summer. The Treetops theme did not disappoint! They embraced differences by appreciating all special gifts and talents with their Encanto theme this summer.

What is something new that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022?

“I am stronger than I think.” – Maddie B.

“At home I’m really quiet, but at camp I’m more open and outgoing.” – Maddie H.

“I’m better at arts and crafts than I thought.” – Casi

In what ways did you GROW this summer?

“I went out of my comfort zone by trying swimming lessons again.” – Monica A. (Live-In CIT)

“I got on a horse.” – Maddie B.

In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY?

“I feel that I am a part of my cabin because I have a special relationship with each individual peer in my cabin and camp community.” – Orla W.

“I worked through conflict in the cabin and felt supported by my cabin-mates.” – Olivia T.

“I felt a part of the cabin community when we worked on projects like lip-sync and song contest.” – Maddie H.

“We worked together and we included each other.” – Casi

In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer?

“I saw campers learning to live in the same space as each other and respect differences.” – Monica A. (Live-In CIT)

“This summer I saw kindness and empathy all around our camp grounds. The girls I met this summer treated me with kindness by having manners and empathy.” – Orla W.

“I saw everyone appreciate each other’s differences and people could be themselves.” – Olivia T. 

Winter Traditions Bring Memories of Summer (Featuring Tamarack)

The winter Holidays are a special time of year. You can’t help but find yourself full of joy, nostalgia, and self-reflection as the year comes to an end. Everyone has different traditions and favorite memories that help sculpt this wondrous time of year. Whether it’s baking, playing games, or enjoying the great outdoors, there is no shortage of fun to be had in the winter months.







For many of us, enjoying family holiday traditions can get us thinking about camp and the traditions we enjoy most with our friends in the summer. So much of what we enjoy doing with our camp friends and cabin mates reflects a tight knit community and parallels what we cherish most with our family.

Our camp community is unique in the way that everything we do intentionally builds strong relationships through shared experiences. We eat together, sleep together, cry, laugh and grow together. In an environment like that, it would be impossible NOT to develop strong bonds. One group of girls living their best lives as a family this summer were the girls of Tamarack. These energetic goofballs had lots of fun things to share from their summer.

What is something new that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022?

“That it is so fun to try something new.” – Eloise J.

“I can do a backbend now.” – Lia D.

“How to ride a horse because I used to be scary for me.” – Morgan B.

“Don’t try to be the exact same thing as everyone because It’s Cool To Be You in ’22!” – Aria C.

“That I could make lots of friends, I don’t need to be shy to meet new people, and I can be without my parents for 4 weeks :)” – Marina G.

In what ways did you GROW this summer?

“I grew in swimming by passing a level.” – Maggie T.

“I kept trying even when I didn’t understand English.” – Ana Roberta

“I rode a horse for the first time and at first I was scared, but now I really like it!” – Olivia H.

“Getting in the lake fast.” – Roberta K.

“This year I got to level 4 in swimming and got to 20 yards in archery.” – Masyn

“I tried skiing.” – Aria C.

In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY?

“I enjoyed getting to know my cabin and building relationships with them.” – Isa G. (Live-In CIT)

“My counselors made me feel included.” – Clara S.

“When I was sad my cabin tried to cheer me up and when others were sad I cheered them up.” – Eloise J.

“Cabin Night brought us together.” – Lia D.

“Karaoke brought us together.” – Morgan B.

“I worked through conflict and others built me up.” – Maggie T.

In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer?

“Everyone was including everyone and they had fun together.” – Marina G.

“In my activity areas and by my counselors.” – Ana Roberta

“When I did not know what to do my cabin mates helped me.” – Olivia H.

“Cheering for my cabin.” – Masyn

“I listen and was present to people who needed me and learned to embrace peoples differences.” – Isa G. (Live-In CIT)

Happy New Year from Sunnyside

New year, new you… and we will be Soaring Free in 2023! Camp is all about growth and becoming your best self through new  experiences and building relationships that can’t be found anywhere else. The girls from Sunnyside showed tremendous growth knocking out personal goals all summer long and we can’t wait to see what they can achieve in summer ’23!


What is something new that you learned about yourself at camp in 2022?

“That every day I can learn new things and try my best.” – Luciana C.

“That I love being outside and having as much fun as I can at archery, riding, sailing, and all of my other activities.” – Katharine B

“I learned about how I love teaching and helping others.” – Tori N. (Live-In CIT)

“I learned about myself that when I want to pass a level or something I don’t give up and I keep trying until I do it, so I am very determined.” – Amalia L.

In what ways did you GROW this summer?

“If something doesn’t go right, try again! I learned something new every day and went out of my comfort zone.” – Olivia S.

“I tried archery again and I also passed my levels and got announced at assembly.” – Katie

“I learned how to slalom.” – Ivana R.

“This summer I tried many new things like cantering in riding and waterskiing. I passed levels and I have done things I would never normally do and I am proud of that.” – Sophie S.

“I went out of my comfort zone when I learned to ski.” – Isabel H.



In what ways did you feel part of your cabin and the camp COMMUNITY?

“I made a lot of new friends.” – Luciana C.

“When we got our birch necklaces at birthday or just simply carrying on simple camp traditions like singing after dinner.” – Katharine B.

“Cabin activities, camp games, meals, activities, canoe trip… These all helped me become closer with people.” – Olivia S.

“We worked together during cabin night and gave each other compliments.” – Katie


In what ways did you see RESPECT this summer?

“I saw girls in my cabin work hard to include others and make new girls feel welcome in the camp family.” – Tori N. (Live-In CIT)

“When people wouldn’t question my decisions, and when they congratulated all of my level passing, and just knowing they are all always there for you.” – Amalia L.

“In all activities if you do something good, everyone cheers you on and is happy for you. Everyone wants you to do your best.” – Sophie S.

“When I first came to camp this summer and was homesick my cabin was really kind.” – Isabel H.