Category: Uncategorized

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!

 

Red, White and BOOM Campfire

Posted by on July 8, 2020

There is a great tradition in the Northwoods of Wisconsin that has been going on for many, many years.  It’s called the annual “Red, White & BOOM Campfire.”  It was hard to fathom or envision how this tradition would continue with Camp Quarantine 2020 and camp not functioning as it normally does with the hustle and bustle of campers and counselors here.  Thankfully, there is another tremendous tradition that resonates among these tall white pine trees here at Towering Pines Camp for Boys and Camp Woodland for Girls.  What you ask might this be?  It’s called RESILIENCE!!

At camp when a challenge presents itself or something doesn’t quite work out as planned, a subtle intention begins to emerge.  At first it’s a thought bubble that can almost be seen ruminating above the heads of those involved, and then it becomes a full out light bulb that illuminates brightly and creates a stir.  Before you know it, we’ve grabbed hold, and we aren’t letting go until we bring the idea into fruition, and it’s a full out event!!  Hence the very first “Virtual Red, White & BOOM Campfire!!”

Camp is all about learning how to adapt, how to adjust, and how to grow during times of adversity.  That’s part of the what makes camp a spectacular place to spend our summers!!  Campers learn from watching counselors and leadership staff take life’s failures and adversities and turn these into “shining” moments and successes albeit maybe not how we originally envisioned these.  This skill is invaluable and transfers into almost every aspect of life.

This year’s Red, White & BOOM Campfire was no different in that it was a tiny vision that became an idea, that turned into a reality via Zoom chat on July 1, 2020.  Those of you in attendance were the very first to experience this amazing twist on what is normally a gathering here at Towering Pines on July 4th in celebration of Independence Day.  Not even Camp Quarantine can keep brothers and sisters, camp friends and family from gathering to celebrate together and to experience what we all long for .  .  .  this camp bond that keeps us going throughout the year.

Songs were sung, skits were performed and even challenges were completed!!  Will & Calla served as  our campfire M.C.’s.  They carried us through a wonderful hour of camp traditions at their finest in what was just a change of venue since this all happened somehow magically through cyberspace.  How incredible that despite being in different locations all over the U.S. and even in other countries, we managed to come together as a camp family and carry on a tradition that we all know and love!!  There was even a fireworks show that elicited many “Ooohhhs, Aaahhhs and WONDERFULS!!”

The world may be in a strange and uncertain place right now, but some things remain the same—our camp friends and family are always here!!  As we close each campfire hand in hand when we are physically together, so we held on tightly to one another in our hearts.

“Each campfire lights anew the flame of friendship true. The joys we’ve had in knowing you will last our whole lives through.” (Excerpt from Woodland closing campfire song)

“By Nokomis rippling waters where our campfire bright, keeps the flames of friendship burning in our hearts tonight.” (Excerpt from Towering Pines closing campfire song)

Participate In I Heart Camp Day!


Our favorite time of year (during the winter) is almost here!!  February 1st (this Saturday) 
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? Well, this Saturday Camp Woodland campers, parents, staff, and alumni are encouraged to post their “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 paste on your favorite school tablet
  • Post it on your Pinterest Site
  • Make it a screen saver on your computer

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 Saturday, Feburary 1!

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

* We took these photos at the end of the summer. We apologize if your daughter could not be part of this project and hope to do the photos throughout the entire next summer! Make your own photo and post it!  We love to see your child’s creativity!

Beyond Grateful

We are grateful for our youngest campers in Sunrise!

As the last week of November rolls around, I am reminded of watching Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving Special every year around this time on TV.  Charlie Brown ends up serving Thanksgiving dinner for his friends thanks to Peppermint Patti’s self-invitation when he is really supposed to go to his Grandmother’s for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Charlie Brown enlists the help of Snoopy to help set up for the feast and, low and behold, a non-traditional fare ensues.

When Charlie Brown’s guests sit down to dinner on an assortment of lawn chairs placed around a ping-pong table, his friends are surprised to find popcorn, toast, jelly beans, pretzels, and ice cream sundaes on the menu.  After a much disgruntled Peppermint Patti voices her opinion about the food selections, Linus reminds the group about the true meaning of Thanksgiving and how important it is just to be together by retelling the story of Myles Standish and the Pilgrims on that very first Thanksgiving Day.

After having recently celebrated the Woodland Camp Reunion this past weekend, we are thankful for the opportunity to get together with camp friends at the start of the holiday season.  It was so fun to see campers, staff, and alumni gather 3 months after the close of the summer of “Your Time to Shine in 1-9”.  It was a special time for friends to reunite and catch up on the events of our days away from camp while knowing that the summer of “A Place to Grow in 2-0” is now closer than it was in August!  We were even able to share a similar fare to Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving feast (popcorn, grapes, juice boxes, candy corn, 100 Grands and other tasty treats!) while huddling close to the TV so that we could watch the highlights of the summer of 2019 on the big screen.  Camp memories were relived and shared, stories retold, friendships rekindled, and plans for next summer were formed!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all campers, staff, alumni, and friends…we are grateful for your membership to the Woodland/Towering Pines Family!  Many blessings in the year to come!

What each cabin is thankful for…

Sunrise: having really nice counselors and making new friends

Silver Birch: new friends, having the time of my life, my cabin mates, friendship, camp, JoAnne, the weather, getting Camper of the Day

Starshine: food, activities, being able to come to camp, having fun, being at camp with friends, having great counselors and cabin mates

Hilltop: coming back to camp and the people, winning Gold Rush, thankful for everything from the food to my parents, cabin mates, friends and counselors, for this summer being the best I’ve ever had, everything, getting to try new things

Treetops: getting someone easy in Spoon Assassins, being at camp with nice people, making more friends, being able to have this opportunity and trying new things, riding horses and improving my skills, staying 6 weeks, learning how to waterski, making friends and learning skills

Tamarack: being at camp and getting my 5 yr pendant, having fun, my friends and this safe place where I can relax and be myself, my amazing cabin, everyone in my cabin, having amazing counselors and cabin mates, getting close with all of them and having the best summer ever, for close friends that I can always talk to, my friends, counselors and cabin mates,

Sunnyside: being with cabin mates again from 2016, trying new things and all the opportunities at camp, the friends who are here for me no matter what, having such an amazing cabin, my cabin mates and the staff, having the ability to keep coming back, having the experience I can’t have at home, being able to grow the camp bond with so many people

Aquarius: being able to be CIT’s with my friends, cabin mates and the food, the opportunity to come to a place where I can grow, be myself and learn more about myself, my friends and the memories we made this summer, my friends, campers and counselors

Happy National Croc Day from Treetops

Who would have thought that colored plastic laced with holes would be part of the camp ‘uniform’ at Woodland?! By looking at the shoes left on every cabin porch and on feet of all sizes and shapes, it is obvious the Woodland campers love their Crocs! While Crocs are not officially on the packing list, it is definitely something we tell new campers so they can be part of the Camp Croc Craze.

Crocs are comfy (check out the cushion), practical (they make great shower shoes or to wear at the lake), stylish (sort of – they do come in a variety of fun colors even though they tend to exaggerate a person’s normal shoe size), warm (if you add socks), and are virtually indestructible (my 8 month old puppy has been chewing on the same pair of Crocs for the past 6 months, and I am happy to report they are still completely in tact; my Chaco sandals, not so much!).

You may also notice in the above photo that Crocs can also be personalized with fun Jibbitz shapes and characters that can be inserted into the holes. Maybe they are more waterproof this way for when we have a little Woodland Dew?! It looks like this camper wanted to leave one hole empty to ensure proper ventilation.

Since Treetops has the honors of ‘sponsoring’ this National Holiday (October 23), here is a little more insight into their 2019 camp experience:

In what ways did you SHINE this summer?

Heidi: By being myself and trying not to let anything bring me down

Caroline: I was always nice and included the younger campers. I tried my hardest to do my best in all of my activities.

Catherine: I passed into level 5 in swimming and passed a few levels in riflery.

Lindsey: I met new friends, tried new things, and passed multiple levels!

Eleanora: When I was with my friends.

Anna: By meeting new friends, learning to water ski, doing new skills in all activities and having fun all summer!

Sydney: I met new friends who are so awesome and I can’t wait to write!

When were you your BEST this summer?

Heidi: When I was riding horses and doing archery.

Caroline: When I was swimming.

Catherine: In swimming.

Lindsey: I was at my best in all my activities because I try to do my best in everything I do.

Eleanora: At tennis because I also do it at home.

Anna: When I learned to stand on 2 skis for the first time and passed out of swimming lessons.

Sydney: When I was achieving new things and reaching our goals with my best friends!

Describe a CHANGE you noticed in yourself while at camp:

Heidi: I became more confident with myself, and I started to believe in myself by standing up for myself more.

Caroline: I listen more instead of just talking, and I eat faster.

Catherine: I became more nice and empathetic.

Lindsey: I feel more outgoing and determined now, being able to be myself, also helped.

Eleanora: I became more confident and independent.

Anna: I am now more responsible and open to new experiences and making new friends. I’m not afraid of the lake anymore and things that have to do with it!

Sydney: I started becoming more open to new activities and new challenges.

What lessons were learned from something CHALLENGING?

Heidi: I was homesick at the beginning, so I tried to enjoy my activities and focus on other things at camp.

Caroline: You have to stay confident and power through.

Catherine: I learned that I should never give up because I will eventually achieve my goals.

Lindsey: I learned that no matter what you do, never give up because you lose faith in yourself and stop trying when that happens.

Eleanora: Teamwork solves almost everything.

Anna: By persisting with archery and riflery (shooting at different levels) and learning to water-ski!

Sydney: That I have to swim really fast to get to my goal every day.