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Let’s Celebrate I HEART CAMP DAY!

Our favorite time of year (during the winter) is almost here!!  February 1st (this Tuesday) is National I Heart Camp Day! Help us spread the word on the importance of summer camp. Remember all those funny pictures we took of you with the “I heart Camp ” Poster over the past summers? Well, this Tuesday Camp Woodland campers, parents, staff, and alumni are encouraged to post their favorite “I heart Camp” photo as their Facebook Profile.

Don’t have Facebook? Here are a few ideas to show the world (or just your friends) how much camp means to you!

  • Instagram your photo! #Woodland4Girls #Iheartcamp
  • Print it out and hang your favorite photo on your fridge
  • Make it a screen saver on your computer
  • Use one of our virtual backgrounds for zoom meetings

Click the link to retrieve your daughter’s photos: I heart Camp Woodland Photos Link

Need your son’s photo too? Click the link to your son’s (Towering Pines) photos: I heart TP Photos link

All you have to do is: 1- find your picture, 2- download it by clicking the download tab on the bottom right of the photo, 3-Post it this Tuesday, February 1!

Check out our archives of I Heart Camp Day. It is fun to see how we have grown!:

 

Happy New Year from Treetops!

New year, new you! Hey, did you know It’s Cool to be YOU in 2022? Camp is all about growth and becoming your best self through new  experiences and relationships that can’t be found anywhere else. No one experiences a summer of firsts like our littlest campers, so we thought it would be fitting to share some of their thoughts on summer 2021 this month.

In what ways did the sun shine for you this summer?

Maggie: Getting camper of the day made me feel GREAT! But Lip Sync was so fun!

Lia: Lip Sync Contest because we won 3rd place and we made up a dance. The bog because it was bouncy.

Morgan: Going to the aqua trampoline, Olympics, gymnastics, Chaos and Destruction (the goats).

Roberta: Going on the aqua trampoline and heeling on the sailboat.

Clara: I learned a lot of new things and made new friends I had lots of fun and loved my counselors.

Masyn: Riding is so fun and I love swimming too.

Allyson: Arts and Crafts and Farm Zoo.

Olivia: Canoe trip and aqua trampoline.

Aria: When I first sailed, went around the lake on the knee board for the first time, meeting my cabin mates, and going to the aqua trampoline.

Amelia (CIT): Sail Race, my campers, teaching campers how to water ski, Coed Show.

What was something that took you by surprise and was better than you imagined?

Maggie: I thought I was going to be stuck in level 3, but I passed to level 4.

Lia: Fish Friday!

Morgan: My friend Maggie, Coco and Chanel (the dogs), sailing, and passing out of levels 3 and 4 in swimming.

Roberta: The aqua trampoline!

Clara: I did a handstand and a cartwheel and tried trotting.

Masyn: Drama is fun too because you get to do plays and do lights and make the background.

Allyson: The cabins

Olivia: The Aqua Tramp had a blob and the Canoe Trip because I haven’t camped in a while.

Aria: Olympics, aqua trampoline, Camp Birthday, clothesline.

Amelia (CIT): Something that took me by surprise was how close I became with my cabin group (2nd years).

What was something you were able to do that you have not been able to do over the past year?

Maggie: Archery, a round off, and trying new foods.

Lia: A cartwheel.

Morgan: Tennis, canoe, soccer, and Olympics.

Roberta: A front limber in gymnastics.

Clara: Archery and horseback riding.

Masyn: Tennis, dance, gymnastics, and riflery.

Allyson: Archery

Olivia: Front limber with the roller at gymnastics.

Aria: Sleeping in a cabin with friends.

Amelia (CIT): See my friends, forget about COVID, sail, etc…

 

What did you learn most about yourself?

Maggie: I can swim better than I thought I could.

Lia: That my ear hurts easily.

Morgan: Surviving in a cabin and don’t leave your buddy tag up.

Roberta: That I am a good sister.

Clara: I learned I liked stuff that I never thought I would have.

Masyn: In riding we learned how to begin to trot and go around the poles.

Allyson: That I am brave and strong!

Olivia: Never keep your buddy tag up unless you are swimming.

Aria: I can be very patient.

Amelia (CIT): I am resilient and a great leader.

How Less Adds Up to More at Camp

 

I am writing this just a few days after the biggest gift-exchanging holiday in the world. I had no less than 3 people in 2 hours tell me that it was too much. One person shared that they didn’t even finish opening their gifts that day. They started. Got hungry. Ate breakfast. Opened some more presents. Needed a break. Walked on the beach. Kids were tired. Took naps. Went back at it. By the end of the day, they still had unwrapping to do. In fact, I don’t think they ever reached completion!

Another person offered that they moved the day they actually celebrated the holiday so that it was less hustle and bustle of various family members trying to make the rounds. A third person told me that his Mom brought way too much stuff. It was over the top. His kids didn’t even know what to do with it all. It was overwhelming. I think this is all well intentioned, and like many things when there is too much, appreciation goes out the window. It gets lost or even forgotten in all the excess.

When I look back at my own childhood, I remember one particular Christmas when I scored the trifecta. I got the Barbie camper, tent, and airplane. I thought I had won the lottery! The interesting thing, though, is that my younger sister also received the same three popular Mattel items. It never really occurred to me until recently that buying duplicate sets was most likely a huge sacrifice for my parents. I wonder why they didn’t just get them for us to share? Maybe because they knew I was a bit selfish as the older sister. Having 2 sets of identical Barbie accessories would eliminate World War III from breaking out in our basement playroom. 

As an adult, I can appreciate the idea of less is more. In fact, I use that principle when building slides for a PowerPoint presentation. Less words, more images. It can be found in other situations as well. Fewer unhealthy foods, more energy. Less time scrolling gives more opportunities to read, nap, or walk the dogs. A decrease in frivolous spending is more money in the bank.

I also see how it plays out at camp each and every summer. For the 80 campers and 35 staff who make their way to County D Road come June, less truly adds up to more:

  • We have less distractions and more time to spend enjoying the present moment. 
  • There is an absence of technology which allows for real face-time conversations and interactions. 
  • We are indoors for a minimal amount of time (eating and sleeping) and that opens up the opportunity to be immersed in nature. 
  • We can only bring so much “stuff” in our trunks and duffles; therefore, we make do with what we have (and don’t waste time deciding what to wear!). 
  • We live in rustic, yet homey accommodations, where the people we are with (and an occasional spider or two) are way more important than the decor on the walls or things we own.
  • The drama closet with its vintage donations and an art room stocked with basic supplies gives us license to be creative and innovative with costumes and props for themed events. 
  • Less instantaneous (mail, for one!) means learning to delay gratification. 
  • Being conscientious of unkind words and actions reminds us to be more inclusive. 
  • The absence of fast food is replaced with more sit-down meals and sharing about your day with your cabin family.
  • Being away from caregivers and friends encourages self-sufficiency and independence.  

The list goes on and on. At camp we trade over the top for simple. Even though I am not in the Northwoods at the moment, today was a good reminder of that. Simple is good. It grounds you. We return home from camp being grateful for the little things. 

I wonder what lesson I would have learned sooner had my parents made the decision for me and my sister to share Barbie’s camper, tent, and airplane? Maybe we would have avoided having tape down the middle of our shared room at one point. Maybe I would have been more appreciative for what I did have. Maybe I would have understood at an earlier age that less is more.

A Gift Guide for Your Woodland Girl

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.

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

In that spirit, we are releasing our new gift guide for the Woodland Girl, where we’ve compiled our best ideas for meaningful presents to encourage growth and connection. Of course, experiencing camp is the best gift ever, but these are just a few extra ideas!

Gifts for Social/Emotional Growth

  • Our top recommendation? Nothing ever beats a trip to see her camp friends! Help her bridge the gap between summers by having a reunion with her favorite people mid-year.
  • Snail mail may be going out of fashion in the real world, but we still love it in our camp community! Help her flex those muscles with a set of personalized stationary or a return address stamp.
  • Put down your technology and laugh together with a family adventure book where you can scratch off challenges to complete together. After you’re done it becomes a crazy scrapbook of the memories you’ve created!
  • Jazz up your family game nights with a new one you can all enjoy. Check out One Night Ultimate Werewolf (it’s like camp-favorite Mafia!), Skyjo, or an escape room game. This blog post has LOTS more suggestions if you’re in the market!
  • What about giving her a beautiful shadowbox to store her sweetest camp memories? She can use it to display her wish boat candle, awards, a note from her counselor or cabin mate, or anything else that reminds her of her time spent with her camp family.
  • Or, how incredible would it be to create a Boom Box Keepsake Box for your girl, filled with encouragement, memories, and messages from her camp friends and counselors? It’s a gift anyone would treasure forever.
  • Table Topics are a classic, and we love this on-the-go version that will get your family connecting and sharing.

Gifts for Mental Growth

Gifts for Physical Growth

  • Recreate her favorite camp activities at home! Look for a shooting range, a pottery studio, or a gymnastics experience in your hometown. Bring the love of friendship bracelets home with some new craft supplies or string.
  • 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.
  • While calling this “growth” might be a stretch, Christmas is the perfect time  to get her some new camp apparel! You could also get her a new pair of Crocs! Or maybe a new backpack to carry around to activities.

Whatever gift you choose this Holiday season, your camper is sure to love he meaning and thoughtfulness behind it!

This blog is inspired by a North Carolina camp.

Gratitude for Camp Abounds

As Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, we are reminded of a recurring theme that was woven throughout the fabric of the weeks shared together at camp in the Summer of 2021. We heard the same word reverberated among campers, counselors, kitchen staff, leadership, and parents. The word, as you may have guessed, is… “gratitude.”

The summer began with gratitude because we were able to have camp once again. This gratitude continued to grow throughout the weeks because of the plethora of amazing adventures we had and the personal connections we made within our camp community. Finally, this gratitude was affirmed again as we said “see ya soon” to our summer home back in August and reflected on how our camp community had become a camp family.

We always have time away from camp when we all go our separate ways to engage in what others call “real life.” During this part of the year, we go back to school, to jobs, to our families and our friends at home.  And as the old saying goes, absence really can make the heart grow fonder. Time away from camp reminds us of how truly valuable it is in our lives.  It gives us time to reflect on the bigger picture and how camp impacts us in so many ways.  It also helps us to recall the little things we may sometimes have overlooked when we were caught up in the moment living the adventures and the experiences camp provides.

More than ever this past summer there was an awareness among all of us that our time at camp is short, and we were truly grateful to be at Camp Woodland.

Some of the staff shared thoughts about what aspects of camp makes them grateful:

  • I’m grateful for the amazing friendships that I have formed through camp, and for all of the opportunities to do my favorite thing – work with kids and have a positive impact on their lives.
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to give kids a place and the time to be kids away from school and other pressures. It is amazing to see the growth that occurs when they have near peer role models to guide their journey towards confidence, independence, and resilience.
  • Camp Woodland, the place: I am thankful for our home away from home where we can be a camp family each summer.
  • Camp Woodland, the people: I am thankful for the generations of girls, counselors and staff who share their spirit and leave filled with joyful discoveries of who they are and how they want to be in the world.
  • Camp Woodland, the community: I am thankful for the opportunity we have to live together supporting each other by doing our part, cheering on each effort and lending a hand when things get hard.
  • I’m grateful for the fresh air and lack of traffic!! (being surrounded by nature : )
  • I’m grateful for the staff and the way they motivate campers to get excited about anything. They make even the smallest things fun!!
  • I’m grateful that camp provides our campers with a community of caring counselors and staff. Providing experiential education through fun activities teaches kids the ultimate self-respect. I’m also grateful to see kids leave camp with improved self-identity, self-worth, self-esteem and leadership.
  • I’m grateful that camp allows us to slow down and enjoy simple things, like a conversation, a walk in the woods or the breeze off the lake.
  • I’m grateful for the opportunity to impact the lives of campers and counselors which, in turn, positively affects the lives of others in the world. I truly believe it is a gift to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth amidst our camp family.
  • I am grateful that camp continues on for many generations so that kids continue to experience what others have for many years.
  • I am most thankful to be part of a team whose goal is to provide a wholesome and safe experience for kids of varied backgrounds. The adventure of the campers and counselors adjusting to a new community is spectacular!
  • I’m grateful to the Jordan family for making camp the special place it is and for all the deep lasting friendships I’ve made at camp over the years.

The gratitude we have for this extremely special place we call camp is a key part of what keeps us connected as a camp family. Camp is also the gift that keeps giving. Each camper, counselor, and staff member takes with us into the world what we experience, what we learn and, in turn, we share these gifts with our families, our friends, our communities and our world. We wanted to take a moment to let you know that we are truly grateful for the opportunity to have your children attend Camp Woodland and Towering Pines and be a part of our camp family.

If you haven’t registered your child for camp, or if you know of someone who might like to join our camp community, you can register online now.