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The Magic of Camp: Hard to Understand & Hard to Explain

Follow us down memory lane… back to when you were little and saw your first magic trick. You didn’t really understand it, you couldn’t fully explain it, but you know that it amazed you and exceeded all your expectations of what you thought was going to happen. This is one way to explain camp to those who have never been. For people who have never experienced it, it is hard to understand the obsession that is camp. And those who are part of it, can never fully explain it. They definitely know that it was amazing and that it exceeded all their expectations.

So what is this MAGIC of Camp?! Let’s see if we can TRY to explain…

CONFIDENCE

Schools have tried, parents have tried, friends have tried, but the way that camp can bring out a child’s inner confidence is magical. It can sometimes be a hidden gem in a child that camp manages to find and bring out.

LOYALTY

It’s the magic of friendship that camp teaches children. Your bunkmates quickly become your family and your loyalty to them is extreme and it is real.

RESPONSIBILITY

The magic of camp is that children grow up more in 6 short weeks than they do throughout the whole year. It’s no longer a nagging parent that instructs a kid to do their duties (brushing teeth, clearing the table, making the bed), rather it is the child who takes on responsibilities to take care of herself, to take care of her belongings, and so much more.

BRAVERY

Arriving to an unfamiliar place that first day requires a new level of braveness that children have yet to experience at that age. Once at camp, being in this magical place, kids are able to conquer their own fears of touching the bottom of the lake, going on a hike, signing up for sailing or riding, or even just trying new foods.

TEAMWORK

Camp is a magical community and doesn’t function without the happiness, spirit, and personalities of each camper. Whether it is partnering up with a new friend, working together on an Olympics team, or just sitting by the lake, the bonds in this community are unlike most others.

SECOND FAMILY

Living in a place where you are surrounded by dozens of people who genuinely want you to be your best self is magical. Camp creates a second family in which children find role models to look up to, people who look after them, and a place where kids learn the great life skills and values from great people.

ACCEPTING OTHERS

Camp is a place where being called “weird” is one of the biggest complements one could accept. Children learn to open up their eyes to people similar and different from them. Camp teaches everyone to find the magic within each other. There is magic within each person, camp just helps people see it.

SPORTSMANSHIP

It is just as fun to lose as it is to win at camp. Camp teaches the magic of focusing on the positives of every situation. You can ask any coach, teaching sportsmanship is not an easy task, but somehow camp counselors have mastered this. Children actually cheer on the opposite team as much as they cheer on their own. Now that is MAGIC.

LIVING IN THE MOMENT

In this day and age children are surrounded by technology, electronics, and are always diving into the “next thing.” At camp, life slows down. Each day, children learn the magic of embracing the moment, making the best of each day, and being outdoors and in nature. It is not about doing an activity so you can Instagram it, it is about doing an activity because it is fun. Camp brings back the magic of the world that isn’t based around technology.

HAPPINESS

We often hear parents ask if we put something special in the water at camp that makes every kid so happy. Camp makes kids smile a little wider, makes their adrenaline rush a little harder, makes their nose crinkle a little more from laughing too hard, and truly makes their heart beat a little faster. If that isn’t magic, then we are not sure what is!

We have yet to learn the magic trick that lets campers stay at camp for 12 months of the year… but we are working on it!

REGISTER NOW for Summer 2021!

Adapted from: https://www.summer365.com/the-magic-tricks-of-sleepaway-camp/

Not too late to make good on New Year’s Resolutions!

At the closing of another year, we had the opportunity to ask campers and staff what gets them excited for Summer 2021 and to share some goals they have set for themselves to make it the best summer yet! Among the top resolutions that are made at the start of each New Year, some of the most common goals can be met while having an AMAZING experience at Camp Woodland:

Eat Healthy: Instead of serving processed food, we provide meals made from “scratch” using the freshest ingredients. No powdered eggs here!

Amelia D. – Aquarius (age 17): be hostess of the year

 

Get Moving: Being a fixture on the couch is not an option during a Woodland summer. All of us are active at camp and get plenty of exercise in the great outdoors. We use our feet to take us just about everywhere we need to go!

Aria – Sunrise (age 7): pass out of swimming
Caroline C. – Treetops (age 13): My goal is to pass out of swimming too!!
Maddie -Sunrise (age 9): to pass my pony club

Reduce Stress: Camp is a great way to “unplug” from the constant “noise” of text messages, emails, and other social media. It is also a time to put the pressures of school and grades aside and just enjoy living in the moment. Above all, camp is FUN!!

Izzi C. – Driftwood (age 18 ): stay in the present and take it all in
Claire and Caroline P. – Aquarius & Treetops (counselors): To appreciate every second
Molly J. – Tamarack (counselor): Make it the best summer yet 🙂
Sam M. – 1st yr (counselor): Have an amazing summer with new and old friends!

 

Try Something New: With a variety of physical, recreational, and creative activities to choose from, campers have the opportunity to explore a wide range of interests. Who knows what spark will ignite and become a lifelong career or hobby?!

Sydney H. – Starshine (age 10): Learn how to do a backflip
Masyn– 1st year camper (age 7): Ride a horse
Sydney L. – Treetops (age 13): Try something new
Isabella S. – Tamarack (age 15): to try any activities I haven’t done and have the most fun I could possibly have

Spend More Time With Friends: Imagine spending 24 hours a day each week with a group of your closest friends…how AWESOME is that?! We believe in true “face time” versus “screen time”!

Tess W. – Tamarack (age 14): make a new friend
Maya S. – Tamarack (age 15): become closer with many people
Daphne B. – Sunrise (counselor): make someone smile everyday

Get Along With Siblings: Towering Pines and Woodland is the summer home for many brothers and sisters. The older campers typically take responsibility and look out for the younger ones and the “fighting” often seen at home vanishes for a few weeks. Siblings actually look forward to seeing one another on occasion when sharing a common camp experience!

New Year’s Resolution:
Enroll your child at Camp Woodland for 2021…we are VERY EXCITED about the upcoming summer!

Irene M. – Driftwood (18): Give my campers the best summer ever
Aubrie B. – Sunnyside (age 15): to be an amazing CIT
Tori N. – Sunnyside (age 15): be a good CIT
Abbey S. – Driftwood (18): To be an amazing counselor/ Sailing staff
Mera M. – Aquarius (counselor): Do my best to give my cabin their best summer ever

Enroll Now!

Can we still celebrate “I Heart Camp Day”???

The answer is always YES!  We are sooo excited about seeing everyone this summer!  But our favorite time of year (during the winter) is almost here!!  February 1st (this Monday) 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 Monday Camp Woodland campers, parents, staff, and alumni are encouraged to post their favorite “I heart Camp” photo as their Facebook Profile. Also, we took a lot of scenery photos with the poster ( Thanks Jackie!).  We encourage you to post your favorite spot at camp too!

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 online school

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 Monday, February 1!

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

 

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!