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We LOVE our Woodland Staff!

Posted by on July 12, 2024

Seeing all of the action at camp, all the happy kids here, it’s easy to forget that there are about 30-35 people on the Woodland staff at any one time. There are MANY people working to make camp possible. While July 12 has been officially named as #CampCounselor Day by the American Camp Association, we appreciate our staff EVERY day!

There are the cabin counselors: the college-age gals who live in the cabins with the campers, eat meals with the campers, and spend most of their day relating to them. These are the ones who most directly help set the tone at camp. They’re kind, silly, and enthusiastic. Many have been campers themselves when they were younger, and now have returned to Woodland to get their “camp fix” and have their turn at making an impact on the leaders of tomorrow. A few have recently come from abroad to spend their summer at camp. And others are friends of people somehow related to Woodland and its history. Regardless, they all work out their schedule and somehow manage to drop what they are doing during the school year to be in Northern Wisconsin for close to 8 weeks.

Cabin counselors are also activity instructors during the day. They are assigned to one or more activities where they guide, lead and instruct the campers as they do something. You can imagine this means the cabin counselors have a wide range of skills and talents. One might be certified to teach archery, and another to be a lifeguard. Some are landsports enthusiasts— tennis, gymnastics, riding or riflery, for example. Others have real talent directing drama or dance, developing cool art projects, or tying complex friendship bracelet patterns. Some teach the Zoo classes while others work with campers to learn to swim, sail or canoe. Every activity at camp has counselors directly involved at every turn.

Another area of staffing is our activity directors. These leaders have special knowledge or skills pertaining to an activity, and therefore can be in charge. Each instructional activity has at least one person in this role. The riding directors not only teach mounted riding lessons but also care for our 12 horses daily. Other directors include a Program Director who schedules all campers and staff for daily and evening activities, our CIT directors who run the leadership training program for the oldest campers, and a canoe trip director who takes each cabin group on an overnight experience. We also have adult leadership who are closely involved with the campers and staff of each age group.

The other areas of staffing are equally critical for camp to operate. These are the maintenance staff, van drivers, motor boat operators, photographers and videographers, and office staff (both on-site and remote). We should also recognize the fantastic team that can be found in our Health Center caring for and keeping us well physically and mentally, and perhaps most importantly, the kitchen crew that keeps us well fed with a-mazing meals and snacks.

Together, along with JoAnne and the Jordan family, all of these people help keep camp going. They help us stay healthy, active, and engaged with everything camp life presents. It’s a great group of dedicated people who love camp, enjoy being with kids and seeing them have fun. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; it’s the people that make Camp Woodland!

p.s. It’s never too early to start talking to those folks in your network (family, friends, neighbors, church community, co-workers, etc.) with college-age connections about the exciting opportunities a summer at camp provides!

What to “Do” With a Little “Dew”

Posted by on July 3, 2024

In case you didn’t know, it never rains at Camp Woodland! How is this possible you ask? We just get a little “dew” as was the case late last week (and a few days this week too). Woodland Girls do not let gray weather dampen our spirits…the “show must go on”! The ever popular Lip Sync Contest is hands down one of the most highly anticipated rainy day activities. I can remember dry summers when we actually got to the 4th or 5th week of camp, and the campers were wishing for a “dewey” day just so that they wouldn’t miss out on Lip Sync Contest.

Silver Birch wins 1st place with “Heigh-Ho” from Snow White 

The 7 dwarves from Silver Birch were named the “official” 2024 Lip Sync Contest winners with their rendition of “Heigh-Ho” from Snow White by the “official” judges (The Jordan Trio + Nurse Laura). Lip Sync takes place in the Rec Hall and is the perfect cabin bonding activity regardless of when it happens in the summer.

It is a great way to continue solidifying and strengthening the bonds that have been forming in cabin groups this first week. There is a different feel within groups now than on June 22nd. By the end of this week – LOOK OUT! Campers will really be hitting their stride with adjustment to and comfort with being at camp.

Sunnyside gets into the spirit with a Taylor Swift song

With the help of their counselors, campers negotiate which song will be chosen for the performance, and then they must come together to decide on costumes, props, and dance moves. It is not unusual to see hairbrushes used as microphones and other interesting items (such as a broom and dustpan) appear. Sunnyside went all out with “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift. The coordinated hair ties add a nice touch for a 2nd place finish, ladies!

Hilltop wows the crowd with “Take a Hint”

Hilltop took 3rd place this summer with “Take a Hint” from Victorious. Always a winner to don Woodland/TP wear! If truth be told, some cabins actually decide on the song they will use prior to the announcement of Lip Sync Contest so they are ready when the event is called – what dedication. There is a good chance the Live-Ins fall into that category as they each did TWO Lip Sync songs – one with their cabin and one with the 3 of them together. Take a bow for your outstanding “Schuyler Sisters” performance from Hamilton. The hats “top off” your outfits!

Round of applause for the “Live-Ins”

As you can see from the vibrant faces in each photo, it’s really hard not to have a smile on your face when in lip sync mode. Let’s just say that courage and confidence show up in a big way even if being on stage is not your thing. The annual Lip Sync Contest fits right in with “Open New Doors in ‘2-4” because we are always up for an adventure (even when getting a little Woodland “dew”)!

Other popular “dewey” day activities include the “Human Treasure Hunt” (cabins with the most diversity rack up the most points – bonus points awarded for being a 1st year camper, speaking more than one language, having a unique pet, etc.), paper bag skits (cabins create a skit using the props given to them in a paper bag), and bingo (with prizes, of course!). Stay tuned for some more innovation with cabins taking on the challenge of coming up with a new version of the “lake gnome story“…I will be sharing those soon!



The “True” Story of the Lake Gnomes

Posted by on July 2, 2024

Any Woodland alum will tell you that they have heard the infamous lake gnome story as told by Peggy Forester in 1973. If you close your eyes, you can probably envision Anne Jordan holding a piece of gold/yellow Woodland stationery with a brown logo and print in her hands, reading the words formed by a typewriter (not a computer) at Wednesday night campfire.

Down at the beach on campfire night, the sky displays streaks of pink, purple and orange as the sun sets to the west followed by the moon rising over the horizon and blazing its almost walkable trail across the lake. As if on cue, loons call to one another from one end to the other. The loudspeaker from Menominee rattles off in the semi-distance. Canoes are turned over for the day, sailboats are happily moored, and the ski boat has been tucked in for the evening. A light breeze gives the halyards an opportunity to play their melody on the tall masts.

Cabins have taken their turn by sharing a song or a skit. A few brave souls offer up a challenge or a joke. Younger campers are snuggled up next to their counselor as eyes grow tired. Mrs. Jordan (now JoAnne) begins the iconic tale…

**Long ago, before hula hoops, or even super balls; yes folks, even before gym shoes were invented, Sand Lake was clear and free of leeches (not to mention Camp Woodland), there was a coffee factory.

Sing (Maxwell House Coffee tune): Down yonder green valley, where streamlets meander, when twilight was fading…

It produced the finest coffee for miles around. Its reputation was renowned. People would travel for days for one taste of this marvelous drink. Mysteriously enough, back in those days, this factory suddenly disappeared. It is thought that the lake gnomes, jealous of this prosperous town, came in one night and moved the factory piece by piece to the bottom of the lake. The only trace remaining is the stairway above Hilltop. This arduous procedure took only one dark night. No, there was not even a clue as to who it was who stole the factory.

The town’s prosperity ended. An eon or so passed. And one day, many years later, Sand Lake changed colors. It caused a great uproar among the people. Imagine where this brownish color was coming from?! The darkness increased until the lake was the darkest black. The chief counselor at that time remembered back to the days when his town was prosperous because of the coffee factory. He went to the chief of the lake gnomes because he wanted to be fair. One must always be FAIR he said to himself.

He asked the chief lake gnome what had happened. But the gnome falsely denied any knowledge of it. So to this very day, no one know for sure just how the lake turned brown. But, we’re pretty sure…

Why about 5 years ago, Jack was a-salting a leech and the truth came out. Leeches are really lake gnomes traveling incognito…lake gnomes in bondage. They were punished long ago by their leader for letting the secret of the coffee factory leak out. Their only escape is to be salted.

So each time you get a leech, remember, it’s a lake gnome trying to get free. Pouring salt on him sets him free. Free a lake gnome today!**

Questions/thoughts to ponder:

–Since Jack was “a-salting” a leech in this tale, I wonder if the lake gnome tale was actually crafted BEFORE the Jordan’s bought Woodland (and it became a camp for girls)? History has it that Woodland was a coed summer camp prior to 1970.

–Who else besides me was not a fan of the wiggly little leeches? As a former waterfront director, I can remember running with the carton of salt to any campers/staff who would “scream” when one would find its way onto a foot or leg (or some other body part). Fun fact: Woodland currently has very few leeches because of the compounding effect of the annual dump of a truckload of sand at the beach that has infiltrated the shoreline and beginner swimming areas over the last 30 yrs (more sand = less rocks and places for leeches to “hideout”).

–If you could rewrite the lake gnome story, what would your version be to explain how Sand Lake got its brownish color? Maybe it really wasn’t the leeches and coffee factory after all…

*For a chance to rewrite a tiny piece of Camp Woodland’s history, send your explanation/version of how Sand Lake got its brownish color to



We Welcome You to Camp Woodland

Posted by on June 24, 2024

We’re Mighty Glad You’re HERE…! 

You can’t open a summer camp without the people. The moment we have all been waiting for is FINALLY here…our favorite people have arrived! Dressed in their snazzy Woodland polos, the counselors were literally jumping up and down with excitement, clapping, and singing the welcome song as cars came into camp on Opening Day. Everything we’d been talking about during pre-camp training was coming to reality!

Even the less than perfect weather could not detract from the delight of the day— old camp friends reuniting, new campers being welcomed and suddenly finding themselves swept along as cabin groups began setting up their bunks. Soon groups of girls led by their counselors were exploring camp, warming up the tether balls, and getting to know each other. Lunch was a perennial favorite: mac & cheese, salad bar, and chocolate chip cookies. All hot and gooey, Dan’s homemade mac & cheese is a pasta dish (and comfort food) that always pleases the crowd. With pizza, another salad bar and rhubarb crisp for dinner, the girls got to enjoy several camp favorites on the 1st day! The natural beauty of Woodland was sparkling all day long (even with a little “dew”) and into the evening as the bus with our campers from Mexico pulled into the drive. It truly was an extraordinary day.

The first weekend is always packed full of action and fun! On Sunday morning Lucy Landsports and Wendy Waterfront set the stage for activity instructors from each area to take turns making short presentations, performing skits, and engaging campers in short games to give them a glimpse into the summer ahead. These silly presentations are great ways for the girls to meet the counselors and pick up on the joy they have for what they teach. It demonstrates that there is big fun to be had at the barn, waterfront, tennis courts, art room, target sports ranges, farm zoo, and Rec Hall.

Today is the start of several days in a special rotation of activities designed to help campers feel like they are settling into the flow of camp. Getting to sample many of the instructional offerings, making tie-dye t-shirts, and taking a group photo are instrumental to having shared experiences and building community as a cabin. By mid-week your daughters will be pros with camp routines. They will anticipate the ring of the Woodland bell to signal moving from one exciting activity to another. They will know all about “hopping” and the “job wheel” and will have had enjoyed getting “canteen” after Rec Swim. They will have joined in signing “Oyster Stew” and the “Woodland Song” after dinner.

Monday evenings after dinner are designated as Cabin Nights that continue the process of cabin unity and bonding. Fun choices that vary each week including cabin canoe trips and trying out the Aqua Tramp at Towering Pines. Themed activities such as Nature Week or Water Week are typically scheduled for Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday evenings. Dinner on Wednesday is a cookout at the picnic tables by Treetops followed by Campfire at the beach where your camper will be working with her cabin to prepare a song or skit (and write the first “official” letter to update you on all that has been happening since arrival at camp!). Camp will feel more like home with each passing day and the week will FLY BY in no time!

Open New Doors at Camp Woodland!

 Camp Woodland’s 55th season is officially underway, and we couldn’t be more elated! We also know that there are a lot of mixed emotions from campers and parents alike on Opening Weekend. Shedding tears and feeling your heartstrings pull tight after giving one last hug is NORMAL. You packed, prepared and did everything you could to get your camper(s) ready for an AMAZING summer. We know that you love your daughters very much and that you will miss them while they are with us.

WE THANK YOU for giving them the gift of camp! Now it is our turn to do what we do bestWoodland has been in the business of youth development for 54 summers. Our theme this year is “Open New Doors,” and we are very much looking forward to seeing all the ways your daughters will expand their horizons with new friends, new foods, and new activities.

Stay tuned…it’s going to be an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G summer!

Summer Theme: Open New Doors in ‘2-4

Posted by on June 6, 2024

Every year for as long as I can remember, Camps Woodland and Towering Pines ponder over the theme for the next summer before the current summer ends. This way cabin groups at both camps get involved and submit their ideas with the hopes of being able to hear their name called at assembly after the roar of a building drumroll. It is a big deal to be awarded the honor of being able to say they had a hand in choosing the words that will give shape to what the following summer holds for future campers and staff. Summer 2024 is no different!

The words “open new doors” hold a lot of possibility – the possibility of the unknown, of new memories, of high excitement. After five or ten summers coming up to camp, you wouldn’t naturally think that camp could hold anything you haven’t done or tried before – you’ve lived in most of the cabins, participated in just about every activity, and know which meals you look forward to the most. Yet something has us coming back year after year, and it’s exactly what this summer’s theme encapsulates – the opening of new doors and the possibility of more.

Whether you’re a Woodland girl who is just arriving for her first summer or a Woodland girl who has lived in every cabin, tried every activity, and has the meal calendar memorized, opening doors to new possibilities lives outside of camp’s routine just as much as your comfort lives within it.

For a first-year camper, new doors are in abundance; the new friends that you make, the new food you try, and the new challenges you take on. A new adventure is waiting for you at Woodland just as sure as you are waiting for your first summer at camp to start. Make sure to try every activity you can, from the ones you know all about to the things you may have never tried before. Your ability to slowly step outside of your comfort zone will only make the new doors that open at camp that much more exciting!

For a returning camper, each year is a new slate as no two summers ever are or can be the same. The unknown lies within the components of camp you feel you know so well; you know you’ll have cabin mates and counselors, but who will they be? What fun games, tasks, and challenges will your counselors have in store for you at your favorite activities? Will you win Gold Rush or make it to the end of your Spoon Tag circle? Everything from your daily routine to the biggest special events is bursting with a possibility that can’t be replicated from years before — new doors open wide around every corner!

Here are reflections on what some of our new staff (not all new to camp!) think the “Open New Doors in ‘2-4” theme means:

-Never settle for what seems the “easy path.” Let yourself be surprised with new opportunities and new horizons. Let yourself step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the ride!!

-Get out of your comfort zone and have fun!!

-To be open to try new activities, meet new people, and open a new chapter in life.

-That is going to be a summer with a lot of new opportunities and trying new things that you were afraid to try.

-That everyone is welcome and no one is left out, even if it’s your first summer at camp!

-Try something new in order to grow and see different perspectives.

-New opportunities for getting to know interesting people and new adventures and experiences.

-Learn and try things you haven’t tried before.

Get Excited!

Regardless of whether you’re arriving at Woodland for the first time or the tenth, the doors you will open at camp eagerly await you. Don’t be afraid of stepping a little further out of your comfort zone because Woodland has new opportunities to challenge you from the first day to the last and every day in between. We are so excited to see what kind of challenges, exploration, and inspiration Summer 2024 has in store for you!


We have a FEW remaining spots left to enroll your camper/s for 2024 so that your daughter/s can open new doors through the Camp Woodland experience! Sign up HERE:

-Originally authored by Natalie (Woodland alum extraordinaire!) in 2018 and tweaks/additions made in 2024 by Kim (making my way to camp today for #25!)