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Winter Holidays Bring Memories of Summer Fun and Friends

The 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.

Oddly enough, enjoying the Jordan family holiday traditions always gets me thinking about camp and the traditions I enjoy most with my 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. At camp, we even eat our meals “family style” as a cabin, a longtime tradition that reminds us of the tight-knit community that is formed every summer.

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. When campers and staff were asked to give their favorite ways to spend quality time with their camp friends, an array of answers relating to special events, activities, and quality time in the cabin together were shared.

SPECIAL EVENTS: At Camp Woodland we have a variety of special events that we get to participate in as a cabin group. Every Sunday we have some sort of whole camp game or activity, which is frequently planned and facilitated by our esteemed CITs. Some of these events include our Fair Days and Gold Rush.

Sydney H. (Starshine, age 13): Either games (alien invasion) or cabin night when we play board games or something.
Bárbara O. (Hilltop counselor): Sunday games and cabin night
Mera M. (Aquarius counselor): Cabin activities like rainy days and Sundays! (Or getting ready for themed coed show practice)

CARDS/GAMES: Campers and counselors alike always appreciate a little downtime in the cabin just to enjoy each other’s company in their safe haven. Popular ways to spend this time include playing games, reading, dance parties, getting ready for special events, or just chatting and sharing our day.

Sydney A. (age 10) and Masyn A. (age 7): Playing games, doing activities together, sitting together at the campfire, meals
Claire (Aquarius counselor) and Caroline (Treetops counselor): Playing cards
Rachel and Bunny (Aquarius, age 16): Playing Skipbo
Sofia S. (Hilltop counselor): playing games
Morgan (Sunrise, age 7) & Maddie (Sunrise, age 9): playing Uno and running around in the cabin.
Isabella S. (Tamarack, age 15): playing games or working on something as a cabin
Tori N. (Sunnyside, age 15): listening to the music from Mamamia
Caroline C. (Treetops, age 13): I really like playing tetherball with my cabin mates and I also really like practicing for song contest!
Irene (Sunnyside counselor): When we have extended rest hour and just hang out in each other’s bunks.

CABIN NIGHT: Part of this beloved cabin time is a Cabin Night once a week. This is when the counselors specifically plan something to do as a cabin group. This may include trust exercises, spa night, or some sort of bonding game/activity.

Aubrie (Sunnyside, age 15): cabin night
Elena (Tamarack counselor): cabin night!
Molly J. (Tamarack counselor): Chatachini

BEDTIME: Of course, one of the best bonding experiences as a cabin is getting ready for bed and decompressing from the day. This involves a lot more than just the basics of brushing your teeth and putting on your jammies. Every night the counselors read a book to the cabin group and the oldest campers come around to send us off to dream land by singing a goodnight song.

Daphne (Sunrise counselor): Just hanging out and relaxing while people are getting ready for bed.
Aria (age 7), Alegra (age 5) and Dee (staff): getting together at bedtime
JoAnne: Story time is fun too!

Room at the Kid’s Table

With the holidays upon us, I can think back to a time when there was a designated kid’s table for our family gatherings. I often sat at a separate, usually smaller, table with my younger siblings and cousins. We laughed. We joked. We cut up. We hung spoons from our noses. We liked having space between us and them (the adults).

 

 

At some point, I graduated to the “grown up’s” table and thought that I had arrived. It was some sort of rite of passage to “move up” to the place where I was no longer seen as a child. I quickly realized; however, that the grown-up’s table was not really all that I had imagined it to be. The adults were busy rehashing politics or telling stories about people I didn’t know. I did a lot of listening and very little talking. I glanced back at the kid’s table with envy. It looked to be so much more fun over there!

One of my favorite aspects of summer camp is that every table is a kid’s table. While there are counselors at each table who act as the adults to help with serving and clearing, these near-peer figures are really good at intentionally building community as we come together daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Campers are engaged in conversations with each other about their day, successes & challenges, goals & dreams. Table games are played, songs are sung, and inside jokes are formed. Laughter is the result of this shared group experience over an extended period of time.

 

In a 6-week summer, this adds up to around 5000 minutes of time during meals alone when a sense of belonging is created for the individuals within a group. Woodland staff are experts at bringing together 6-10 “me’s” and transforming unique individuals into a united  “we” one meal at a time. This is not accidental. Intention is the key ingredient for these mealtime gatherings away from parents and other adults.

 

At Camp Woodland, one doesn’t have to wish to sit at the kid’s table. Regardless of age, the kid’s table always has room. Don’t be surprised if we hang spoons from our noses (or put them in our hair for the greatly anticipated game of “Spoon Tag”). No need to become a grown-up too soon!

 

 

 

 

 

A Time to Give Thanks to Our Community!!

Created by Calla Craze

Thanksgiving is a joyous time of year to pause and take stock of everything in our lives for which we are truly grateful. Nothing beats quality time with family and friends; many of us have been fortunate to have more of that in 2020 than in other years. Of course, a big part of being together anytime, but especially at the holidays, centers around FOOD.

When asked to share a favorite Thanksgiving tradition at the 2020 Virtual Camp Reunion, many people highlighted cooking with their families and all the glorious food to be enjoyed.

  • Aria and Alegra shared, “eating the turkey leg.”
  • Izzi and Elena are looking forward to cooking with their moms.
  • Mera is excited about eating rutabaga.
  • Jackie can’t wait for mashed potatoes.
  • JoAnne actually likes sauerkraut with her Thanksgiving meal (something she learned
    from her Dad). She really likes candy corn this time of year too!
  • Kim has been known to serve up jelly beans, popcorn, pretzels and toast in honor of the
    feast Snoopy served for a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
  • As a kid, Lee shared that she used to try to eat the plastic grapes in the cornucopia
    on her family table. Now she fusses over the centerpiece with “fancy” paper mache
    fruit!

As tough as this year has been, we are all very fortunate that there is still so much to be thankful for this holiday season. When asked, most shared being grateful for their family, friends, and pets this season. Some shared that they were thankful for the extra time to spend at home with their family while others were thankful for their “pod” at school, giving them a little social respite in the chaos. Of course, many people were also grateful for their health and the health of their loved ones.

Even outside of the camp season, we are always appreciative of our wonderful staff and people who keep our favorite place running safely and smoothly. We would like to give a special shoutout to our nurses who work day and night to keep everyone happy and healthy, our kitchen staff who fuel us with delicious meals all summer long, and our maintenance staff who work tirelessly to keep our facilities safe and beautiful. All of these people play an integral role in our program and warm our hearts with all they do to contribute to our camp community.

 

 

Choose Camp: Vote for Camp Woodland

 

It goes without saying that you have seen your share of political ads over the past several weeks and months. More than likely, these ads are telling you something about the choices you should make on November 3rd.  So, instead of advising you who to vote for, we would like to give you a better choice this year. We want you to CHOOSE CAMP!img_7754Here at Camp Woodland, we actually care about the thing that most politicians only pretend to pay attention to – your kids and your family. Our goal in what we to do is to help kids get outside and explore nature, make new friends and connect with their peers face-to-face instead of through a screen, and to try new things and gain confidence. Regardless of who you vote for, make a great choice by choosing camp. We can’t wait to see you this summer!

CAMP TODAY – THRIVE TOMORROW!

ENROLL HERE FOR SUMMER 2021

We are Camp Woodland and we approve this message.

 

Happy Labor Day!

Written by : Calla Craze and Will Dellinger

Today is all about honoring the hard-working Americans who shed blood, sweat, and tears to build our country and make it prosper. There are so many people out there who are under-appreciated in their work, but it truly takes all types to keep things running. To all you workers out there who hold society up with your physical and intellectual labor, we salute you!

It takes all types

In many ways, Camp is a microcosm of civilization. Just as it takes many forms of labor to keep the country going, it takes a diverse set of skills and workers to make camp run every summer. From maintenance to office work to cabin supervision, there’s always a ton to be taken care of every day. The contributions of our counselors and other staff to our community are not lost on us, and while we try to express our gratitude throughout the summer, we can never say it enough: Thank you for all you do!

Of course, every TP and Woodland counselor knows what it’s like to put in physical labor: each summer our staff puts in a ton of effort to get camp all set up for the arrival of our campers. There is what seems like a never ending list of tasks to keep our staff’s bodies moving for an entire week. We get to do crazy things like bring the boats down from the barn, heavy duty cleaning of EVERYTHING, and of course, even things like poster making. Ask our staff and they’ll tell you that this work is very satisfying, but by the time campers arrive we are definitely ready to switch gears and start exercising our brains as we become instructors, coaches, role models and leaders.

Work hard, Play hard!

Make no mistake— Being a camp counselor is hard work even if you aren’t up to your neck in the lake turning augers! It’s a lot of work to teach new skills to kids and keep the peace in a community of children and adults from all different parts of the world. However, it’s a kind of work that is rewarding by its very nature. So many of our staff come back year after year to watch their campers grow and to be a part of something bigger.

Working In and Out of Camp Season

There’s a lot of work that goes into making sure camp can happen every summer, especially from the Jordans and our wonderful office staff. This summer we took the opportunity to revamp the program and make general improvements to the property to make the best of our once-in-a-lifetime summer off of camp. As you’ve already heard, we put in a lot of hours to work on the business both in terms of the program and our facilities. A lot of these projects included good old fashioned manual labor!

One of our all time favorite rites of passage into the role of a counselor is the task of putting in the docks! Believe it or not, campers, those don’t actually stay in year round! The summer just didn’t feel right without seeing that beautiful pier reaching out towards the middle of the lake, so we took it upon ourselves to put them in anyway. Nothing like getting those huge wooden platforms set up in the water to remind us how much we appreciate everything our staff does every summer!

We all know this year has been a challenging one, but it has also given us the opportunity to grow and appreciate the people who help make the world go round in new ways. We appreciate you, staff, and look forward to working side by side with our favorite people again in summer 2021!