Category: Where I Thrive in 1-5!

April Showers Turn Into May Flowers

Posted by on May 9, 2016


Hilltop April Showers

Best Moments from Hilltop Summer 2015

Most proud:

Libby: when I did the correct canter; for a long time I wasn’t doing it right, but finally, I tried really hard and I felt very accomplished!

Tory: water-skiing! It is so fun…it is like standing on water!

Lou: I learned to trot by myself in riding

Rachel: when I got to canter for the first time while riding Henry

Ximena: I learned to trot by myself in riding

Dani: I made new friends

Hilltop Cabin Unity

Best thing that happened to me at camp:

Libby: when all of my cabin mates took turns telling each other why they liked each other. It made me feel very special. I like spending time with my cabin during cabin night!

Tory: meeting friends and making memories

Lou: when we went to do the Aqua Tramp it was scary at first, but then it was a lot of fun when I tried it

Rachel: getting to live in Hilltop and meeting everyone in the cabin

Ximena: having this awesome cabin and going to the Aqua Tramp

Dani: I love all of the activities and the games!


The thing I learned most about myself:

Libby: I may be afraid to try things, but once I try, I’m not afraid anymore. For example, during Aqua Tramp, I was afraid to go on the Rave I finally did it, and it was FUN!

Tory: that I love Woodland and I have so much FUN! I can be crazy!

Lou: I am good at Arts & Crafts, Horseback Riding, and Riflery

Rachel: that I am a great friend and cabin mate

Ximena: that I am able to do things that I didn’t know I could do!

Dani: that I LOVE camp!


Starshine May Flowers

Best Moments from Starshine Summer 2015

Most proud:

Jae: I used to be afraid of tubing, but I tried it at camp, and I love it!

Jadyn: I got to make new friends and new memories

Paula: I passed 2 levels of water-skiing and earned Skipper in sailing

Cameron: passing my Blue Bowman in archery, which means I am one step closer to passing my Gold Archer

Sam: passing my Black Archer after trying for several weeks in archery

Amelia: learning how to water-ski

Sofia: learning to sail and passing levels in water-skiing

Starshine Cabin Unity

Best thing that happened to me at camp:

Jae: meeting all of the amazing people that I am now friends with!

Jadyn: I got to spend time with new “buds” and old ones

Paula: making a lot of new friends and having a lot of inside jokes

Cameron: meeting and becoming friends with new people

Sam: meeting all of my friends here that I know I will have for life

Amelia: meeting all of my new friends and creating stronger bonds with the old ones. I also like making so many more memories with my cabin!

Sofia: meeting new friends that will last forever!


The thing I learned most about myself:

Jae: to accept who I am even with the flaws I have

Jadyn: I can accomplish anything with my friends around

Paula: to be independent and solve problems by myself

Cameron: that it is OK to try new things and to be open to meeting new people

Sam: even though I can get annoyed sometimes, I usually keep my cool

Amelia: that I am up for trying new things and meeting new people!

Sofia: I learned more about who I am


Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Tamarack 2015!

Posted by on March 17, 2016


Pot-O-Gold at the End of the Rainbow

2016 CIT’s Here We Come!

I am really proud of:

Ana: passing my advanced in tennis and kneeling in riflery

Claire: knowing that I only have 10 more qualifiers until I am kneeling in riflery

Sarah: going to camp exchange for riflery and passing my crop in riding

Lydia: passing out of swim lessons

Sofi: being skipper again after capsizing

Andrea: swimming my laps to Cathy’s

Katie: passing my black archer shooting at 30 yd

Betsy: passing from 20 yd to 30 yd in archery; being able to do water stuff after my knee healed

Jenna: fighting my fear of the top bunk

Susan: passing from level 4 in swimming to level 6 in six weeks

Gigi: going to a TP exchange


Canoe Trip

The thing I learned the most about myself this summer:

Ana: to have more self confidence and to be who I am

Claire: to be more self confident about myself because I know that no one will judge me

Sarah: friendship is one of the most special bonds ever

Lydia: I can be outgoing if I try

Sofi: even though you may be getting through a hard time, you still have to have fun

Andrea: the things I am capable of doing

Katie: I may not think so sometimes, but I really enjoy spending time with people

Betsy: I hate crutches(!!!) and that I can rely on my friends more than I thought and don’t have to keep everything a secret

Jenna: I love to comfort people

Susan: that I have worth and to value myself as I do others

Gigi: that there is always going to be one person that you just don’t get along with

Tamarack TP swim

Swimming at TP

The best thing that happened to me at camp:

Ana: making really good friends and spending time with them

Claire: learning survival skills in canoeing

Sarah: coming to camp and seeing my best friends

Lydia: spending time with the whole cabin and getting to know them

Sofi: to have the best cabin I could ever ask for

Andrea: being with my friends and cabin

Katie: meeting new people

Betsy: spending a month and a half with the best people in the world

Jenna: seeing all my friends

Susan: being in Tamarack with all of my close friends

Gigi: meeting all these amazing people


Thank you Natalie, Raquel, and Allison!!

A Priceless Gift To Give My Daughter

It happened again. You know the look. You know the comments. And this time it was from another mom who I respect, has a great attitude, and is raising wonderful children. My daughter, Maya, and I were talking with a friend and her daughter about Maya’s summer camp experience at Woodland.

Maya: “…And next summer I want to go back for six weeks.”

Other mom gasps loudly: “I would never let you go for that long, Sweetie!” (hugging her daughter tightly)

Other mom’s daughter: “I would never want to go for that long, Mom.” (hugging back and smiling)


Okay, I know the drill. I went to Woodland for eight weeks when I was nine. I went for ten summers after that for eight weeks. There was never a two week or four week session when I attended. There was a reason for the long session. The same magic in terms of growth, confidence, and perseverance just can’t happen in two weeks. I remember Anne Jordan explaining it to me when I was a counselor during pre-camp. The same way she explained to me when I was a camper that if she let me call my mom during camp not only would I not feel better, I would feel worse. She was right on both accounts.


Now, as a mother who has experienced the loss of a child, I don’t think I would have sent my daughter if Woodland did not have a two week session. I am grateful for the shortened option because now both Maya and I will be better prepared for the separation next summer.

So, what to do about these parents who would “never” let their daughters go to camp for so long? The ones who tell me they love their daughters too much to let them go. Do they understand they are implying I do not love my child? Some seem to think we are somehow damaging our children by sending them away from us for several weeks.


I know the best response to this is to dismiss it and not care what anyone else thinks. Most of the time I can remember what camp did for me, and let go. Every once in a while, though, I start to question my choice. I am “losing” all this time I could have with my daughter. How can I send her away and let other people take care of her for so long? Will she be okay? Will she get hurt? Will she feel alone when I am not there for her?

All these questions bring me back to three things: my own practical life experience at camp, inner strength, and faith.

Silver Birch Maya

I know the gifts camp gave me: confidence in myself in areas other than sports, meaningful and deep lifetime friendships, LOTS of time in nature, and exposure to activities I would not have had at home. Why wouldn’t I want to give this to my daughter?

Knowing how it enriched my life, how could I not let her go? When I am clear about this, I know it truly is a priceless gift to give my daughter. But our society and culture seem so different now than when I was a child. The parenting is different, the activity level is different, and what our children are exposed to is different. It seems to me that it takes more than the knowledge that extended overnight camp is a valuable experience in order to take the plunge. It takes inner strength and faith.


It takes the strength to dismiss the other parents’ reactions – respecting what they need to do in their own families -while calling upon the gifts I received from attending camp. It takes the faith that my daughter will be taken care of well. It will be different from how she is taken care of at home, and this is okay, even good. She will have camp sisters to help her through the hard times. It takes faith (still working on this one) to know if I don’t get a call home from JoAnne, everything is fine. It might not be perfect, but it is fine.


Let’s face it: Six weeks can be a long time to be separated from our children. I am relatively certain Maya did better in the two weeks we were away from each other than I did. Seeing her again, and having her home again is wonderful. Even in the short time of two weeks I noticed subtle changes; growth that I’m pretty sure would not have occurred for her if she was at home attending a day camp.

If you’re reading this, you already understand the gift of extended overnight camp for your daughter. But for anyone who still has insecurity or doubts when other parents’ comments come your way, just know you are not alone. We are in this together. And that is just one more gift Camp Woodland gives us all.

by Susan Austin Short, Woodland Alum and Parent

Maya and Regina

Dear JoAnne,


Dear JoAnne, 

Ever since my daughter returned home from camp, she refuses to wear anything that isn’t Woodland blue or tie-dyed.  All she talks about is the fun she had at camp, stories about her cabin mates, and how many days there are until camp next summer.  She claims that she hears a bell ringing periodically throughout the day.  She won’t stop singing camp songs or looking at the online photos on the Woodland website.  She even makes her bed every morning and asks if she can “hop” during dinner.  She insists that I ask you for Susan’s lasagna recipe and is now putting ketchup on potato chips.  Help!  Can you please explain to me what is going on with my daughter?

 A Concerned Parent

sick-teddy-bear.jpgDear Woodland Parent,

Thanks for your letter; I can assure you that what your daughter is experiencing right now sounds like a typical case of  “campsickness”.  Not to worry…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  I receive calls and emails from parents every year at this time wondering what is happening to their camper(s).  Trust me, campsickness is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that your daughter(s) had an AMAZING summer, and they are sad to leave their camp friends.  It is normal to miss the nonstop activity and fun that camp offers at every turn.  Coming home to an empty room can be a bit of a shock after the excitement of constant interaction with a community of girls.

I have every confidence that she will adjust to being at home again; it just takes a little time.  You can let her know that we will be corresponding with her (and you!) over the course of the winter via mail, email, and various social media.  There are all kinds of ways she can stay connected to our camp family, and before you know it, we will be headed to Woodland for another fantastic summer!

Woodland Love,


p.s. The theme for 2016 is: Everything Clicks in 1-6!


It’s A Camp Thing…You Wouldn’t Understand!

Posted by on August 6, 2015

Bug juice, s’mores, sleeping in a bunk bed, sharing a bathroom with 10 other people, getting canteen at Rec Swim, being the “hopper” at meals, playing tetherball, shaving your legs at the spigot, running to get your mail after lunch, hanging out at rest hour, and putting ketchup on chips at Sunday night picnic are just a FEW things that many people who don’t go to camp or who have never been to camp just wouldn’t understand.

Here are few other examples to further illustrate my point:


You can never have too many friendship bracelets!


What is your favorite color of Crocs?!


Rain boots are not just for rainy days!


Everything is better tie-dyed!


Special talents that only make sense at weekly campfire challenges…


Dressing up like TP boys for a campfire skit


Showing your Olympic Spirit


 Hard core for both teams!

5 emotions

Clown Contest for Woodland Fair


It’s Time for Spoon Assassins!

p.s. “It’s a Camp Thing” is the theme for Co-Ed Show 2015!