Category: Where I Thrive in 1-5!

Dessert before Dinner?!

Posted by on July 31, 2015

Every Sunday, my husband and I treat ourselves to ice cream at our favorite spot in downtown Galveston.  Especially during the winter months when store hours end at 6:00 pm, we often find ourselves eating ice cream before dinner.  While there is no rule against having dessert before a meal, it is one of those things that has been engrained in me and I always end up feeling a little weird – like I am doing something I shouldn’t.  It reminds me of the rare occasions when my Mom would serve pancakes for dinner instead of at the usual breakfast meal.

pancake breakfast

While we don’t have dessert before dinner at camp in the literal sense, we do like to “shake it up a little” this time of the summer to keep things fresh and exciting for the campers.  While establishing routines is very important during the first few weeks of the camp season, once campers are comfortable with the predictiveness of each day and week, it is good to deviate from the schedule from time to time and provide variety.

Molly A

So, how do we change it up for campers and staff?!  I’m glad you asked!  It started last week during the 4th week of camp when we had the counselors rotate tables during the lunch meal.  This offered counselors an appreciation for different group dynamics from their own cabin and an opportunity to spend time with campers of varying ages in order to get acquainted a little better.  Because we are a small camp community, we pride ourselves on knowing more than just a name for each camper!


Another example of changing up the routine is our annual Olympic Games.  This week on Tuesday night, the camp was divided into 2 teams and then sent to work together to determine a team name, colors, mascot, flag, and cheer.  Team captains (counselors)  signed campers up in various categories for the all-day competition in both team and individual events on Wednesday.  Teams sat together in the dining hall for meals and each camper was well cheered at every moment as sportsmanship is a key component and message of the Woodland Olympics.


A favorite all-camp activity that is typically a fun part of the last week of the summer is Spoon Assassins.  While the name sounds horrible and totally against camp philosophy, it is a basically a giant game of tag with some cool twists (a big thank you to Alice Lurain for being the original creator of this popular game well over 20 years ago!).  Campers are assigned someone to “kill” (with a spoon).  In order to avoid being “killed” you can link arms with another person.  Of course, there are some “safe” zones such as the Lodge during meals, inside the cabin, and during activities.  If someone is found without a buddy and gets “assassinated”, then they “die” and must give the name of the person they were trying to take out to the person who was their “killer”.


You can bet that while we all thrive in our routines of the typical camp day, having “dessert before dinner” and adding a taste of spice to the norm will for make for some memorable moments for the summer of 2015!


The Value of the Woodland Dollar

Posted by on July 29, 2015
I can honestly say that I am not looking forward to my re-entry into the “real world” after a month at camp where I will have to pull out my wallet once again to pay for gas, groceries, and other bills.  No doubt the dollar continues to buy less while the price of just about everything continues to go up.  There is one place; however, where the value of the dollar has remained steady over the past 46 years!


Fair Day is a great time for brothers and sisters to reunite!
On Sunday, the Woodland girls took a field trip to Towering Pines for the annual TP fair, and this weekend, the boys will head east on County D for the Woodland Fair.  As I was digging into my pocket for some “bills” to purchase a yummy treat at the TP Fair, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a cup of homemade ice cream was only $2 in “TP dollars” – the same price I paid in 1986 during my first summer as a counselor!  What a deal!
This coming Sunday, the boys from Towering Pines will be able to play various games and enjoy ice cream, popcorn, and bug juice for just a few “Woodland bucks” per game or treat.  The great thing is that the “bank” is open on Sunday’s, and campers simply have to request a “cash advance” from a number of “tellers” so that they can enjoy all the fun a carnival has to offer.  There will be fortune telling, a dunking machine, marriage booth, arm wrestling, fish pond, and a plethora of other games set up on and around the volleyball court – it promises to be a FUN time!
p.s. It is also interesting to note that some campers save their leftover TP/Woodland “dollars” from previous years and bring this “money” with them to camp to spend during the current year.  Even without gaining any interest, the value of the TP/Woodland dollar remains the same from year to year…that you can count on!

Internship or Camp Counselor?

Posted by on July 27, 2015

Sara and Collette

At a skit during a recent staff meeting, 2 “applicants” interviewed for a marketing position at Jordan, Inc.  The first applicant had work experience as an intern at a prestigious law firm in DC, while the second applicant spent 3 summers as a counselor at Camp Woodland.

Here are the responses to the questions in the following categories the applicants gave when asked to comment on their experience and ability to take on this position.


Law firm intern: went around taking coffee orders from each partner in the law firm.

Woodland counselor:

  • Articulated effectively with children, parents, coworkers, and leadership team.
  • Demonstrated confidence to parents in a short period of time the capability to take care of their children.
  • Corresponded in written form to parents regarding a camper’s adjustment, strengths, progress, and growth.
  • Reported regularly to camp leadership camper observations/concerns and program plans for various activities/events.



Law firm intern: was able to fix a jam in the copy machine while making copies of all briefs and proposals for a 100 person firm; took initiative to change the ink cartridge.

Woodland counselor:

  • Managed normal conflicts between campers and help them work towards resolution.
  • Developed creative alternate plans due to unexpected change in weather, scheduling, or equipment performance.



Law firm intern: led a group of interns who started a week later to show them the location of the nearest restroom.

Woodland counselor:

  • Became a role model and “go-to person” for a community of campers.
  • Anticipated the next step in various areas of camp life before it happened and became insightful about planning ahead.


Law firm intern: arrived with a team of interns to the office at 8:00 am Monday-Friday.

Woodland counselor:

  • Established camper expectations and maintained a partnership with co-counselor(s).
  • Assisted campers to negotiate and compromise in order to accomplish a common goal in various cabin events.



Law firm intern: made the decision to use milk from the vending machine when there was a shortage of creamer in the break room.

Woodland counselor:

  • Able to come up with a game or activity at a moment’s notice for a group of 5 or 70 campers when original plans are disrupted.
  • Changed words to a song and made up dance moves for an all-camp Song Contest performance.

Who would you want to hire – the intern or the camp counselor?  The choice seems pretty obvious to me!  If you are in a position to hire employees, don’t forget to inquire about a candidate’s camp experience – it is the best job training you could ever ask for!


This Is How We Summer!

Posted by on July 10, 2015

Walmart Sign

If I am not mistaken, we just celebrated the 4th of July holiday less than a week ago?!  I thought so!  So, you can understand why I was taken aback upon seeing the above sign while I was shopping yesterday for a few things I will need for a month at camp.  I have a feeling that Halloween and Christmas decorations will soon follow.  UGH!  Another reminder of how commercialism tends to RUSH things a bit!

How we do summer

So, I’m going to suggest that we have “Back to Camp” signs and enjoy the time of year that we have all been waiting for instead.  After all, the summer is just getting started!  We are only at the end of the 2nd week, and so there is a lot more AWESOME to come.  I think the slogan from Vineyard Vines, “This is how we Summer”, speaks better of what we do at camp.  From Wednesday cookout to crazy costumes and kissing the bunnies at Farm Zoo to cabin jammie parties…THIS IS HOW WE SUMMER at Woodland!


Wednesday Cookout


Crazy Costumes

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Kissing Bunnies at Farm Zoo

StarshineJammies in Starshine Cabin


Hairbrushes and High School Musical make for a FUN day!

Posted by on July 8, 2015

Driftwood sings “Breaking Free” from High School Musical

In case you didn’t know, it never rains at Camp Woodland for Girls!  We just get a little (or a lot) of “dew” as the case was on Monday.  Woodland Girls do not let a little gray weather dampen our spirits…the “show must go on”!  One of the most highly anticipated rainy day activities is the ever popular Lip Sync Contest.  I can remember dry summers when we actually got to the 4th or 5th week of camp and the campers were praying for a “dewey” day just so that they could have the Lip Sync Contest!


Sunny side performs to “Work This Out” from High School Musical

High School Musical was popular for song selections by several cabins for this year’s contest.  Both Driftwood and Sunnyside performed a number to one of HSM’s hit tunes.  Lip Sync Contest is the perfect cabin bonding activity.  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 appear such as a broom and dustpan.  As you can see from the smiling faces in each picture, the annual Lip Sync Contest is a ton of FUN!


Treetops uses hairbrushes and towels for props

Because Monday was a “dewey” day all around, the afternoon was spent doing another favorite cabin activity called the “Human Treasure Hunt”.  Cabins rack up points in a number of categories, and the cool thing is that the more diverse a group is, the more points they can earn.  For example, campers with half, step, or adopted siblings add bonus points to their team.  First year campers and anyone born outside of the USA also contribute extra points.  Having a dog for a pet is awesome, but it only gets counted once towards the total score even if there are 12 dogs in the group.  If someone has an iguana or other unique animal for a pet, then the score increases.  Human Treasure Hunt is a really awesome way to learn about your cabinmates and appreciate each person’s contributions to the group as a whole.


Silver Birch is singing to their “Future Husbands”

p.s. The sun came back out on Tuesday, and it has been “business as usual” ever since.  Another gorgeous week in the Northwoods!