Category: Why Camp Woodland?!

Meet-Your-Neighbors Bundt Cake

Posted by on March 16, 2020

I was asked recently to share a recipe with a friend of ours whose son is getting married in May. This Mom is wanting to put together a really special book for the engaged couple that is a compilation of recipes from family and friends. Per the instructions for this project, the story that goes with the recipe was also to be included.

My first thought was to choose a recipe with the fewest ingredients. Something simple. Something that is easy to make (and to write) but really yummy. Besides, who has time to cook these days? So, I open up my recipe box and quickly put my fingers on a 7-ingredient bundt cake. I make this without fail every time we have company because it is a guaranteed winner. Bingo!

Double bingo because when I thought about the story behind the bundt cake recipe, a huge smile came to my face. This is perfect. This is what every bride and groom need as they start their new life together. This chocolate bundt cake was how we met our neighbors when we moved to Augusta, GA, when my husband was stationed at Fort Gordon in 2009.

A New Neighborhood

I remember making the journey from Mississippi to Georgia after Jeff finished dental school with our 2 dogs and spending the night on an air mattress in the 1920’s bungalow we purchased for the next phase of our married adventure. We were waiting for our furniture and goods to arrive, so it was like camping in our own house. Jeff reported to work the next day, and I anxiously awaited a multitude of boxes and “stuff” to be delivered so that I could set about making our house into a home.

Being Neighborly

Later that same day, I heard a knock on the door. When I checked to see who might be calling, I was greeted by a 6th grade boy and his 9th grade sister. Ben was proudly holding the mail that had collected in the days leading up to our arrival, and Ivey was carrying a still-warm-fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate bundt cake. “Hello! We live next door and  just wanted to stop by to welcome you to the neighborhood.” 

That simple gesture started a friendship with our neighbors that is still strong to this day (even though that was 4 moves ago). It is amazing how something so simple, yet so thoughtful and kind can be the spark that ignites a relationship. A friendship that strengthens for years to come. Neighbors who are now family.

Our Camp Neighborhood

How big is your neighborhood? At camp, there is a fun bunch of us. But if we compare our camp with all the camps in the US, it’s a very, very small neighborhood.

Our Earth is pretty big, right? It’s measured at 24,901 miles around the equator. However, when you compare the Earth to our solar system, it’s pretty small. Compare it to our larger galaxy, it’s smaller still.

For comparison sake, it would take you about 45 hours to circumnavigate the Earth on a plane. To get to Pluto and back, it would take 25 years and a really big rocket ship. To edge of our galaxy and back? That’s currently estimated at 220 million years.

So, when you compare it to the larger context, our Earth – our neighborhood – is pretty small. Mr. Fred Rogers touched on this a lot over his many decades of service. He didn’t care what you looked like, where you were from, or what was in your bank account. You were his neighbor and he treated you with kindness, patience, respect, and love. Period.

It is hard to believe that we are now a planet of around 7.8 billion people. Yet, we are all neighbors!

Neighbors Unite

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a virus in the neighborhood. We’ve got to work together to stamp it out.

This is not an opportunity to place blame. It’s an opportunity to realize that all of us in this tiny little neighborhood are in a fight against something that threatens us all. The good news? There are very simple and powerful ways to defeat it.

First, remain calm and patient. We humans have gotten through much worse. Secondly, wash your hands really well. If you aren’t sure how, here you go. The third is stay away from other people as much as you can for the time being, especially if you feel crummy.

Campers, we are most worried about those with challenged immune systems and the elderly. It would be neighborly of us to do our best to reduce the spread of this disease any way we can. (Here’s a great infographic that explains things well to young and old people alike.)

Woodland Neighbors

So, while this time is certainly strange for us, it’s also an opportunity to remember that we humans, despite our differences, are all neighbors. Let’s decide to be good ones for each other. You can start by making a “Meet-Your-Neighbors” Bundt Cake and taking it to people who live next door or across the street.

Heck, if enough of us bring a fresh-from-the-oven bundt cake to someone in our neighborhood in the days ahead, maybe that simple gesture will ignite into something more. When that happens (neighbors acting neighborly on a large scale), our Earth will feel a little bit more like a summer at Woodland.

this blog was inspired and adapted in part by camp friend, Cole Kelley

Meet-Your-Neighbors Bundt Cake (tastes best when made together as a family)

1 box yellow cake mix

1 small box instant chocolate pudding

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup oil

1 small container of vanilla yogurt

6 oz chocolate chips (I always add more!)

Mix together first 6 ingredients then add chocolate chips at the end. Pour into greased (and floured) bundt cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. If you really want to impress your neighbors, serve with vanilla ice cream and drizzle chocolate syrup on top.

 

Woodland/Towering Pines…Top 10 Summer Camps!

We’re extremely excited that camps Woodland for Girls and Towering Pines for Boys have been mentioned as two of the best summer camps in Wisconsin by The Summer Camp Hub!!  (Best Summer Camps in Wisconsin) This is a wonderful acknowledgment of what our brother/sister camps have to offer youth.

 

 

 

 

 

At Camps Woodland and Towering Pines we believe that it takes a lot of “slow to grow.”  This is why we choose to provide campers with a very unique six-week experience in which they have time to adjust to camp routines, schedules and group living.  After this period of “acclimation” kids have time to really extend themselves and explore within their daily activity areas, evening workshops (activities) and special events. Because of the expanded camp stay, kids find a comfort zone in which they feel safe to challenge themselves, and they have opportunities to “accelerate” in all areas of development.

 

 

 

 

 

In the last two weeks of camp this “acceleration” of learning translates into a wonderful time for campers to “celebrate.” They can see the progress they have made in so many areas.  It’s exciting for these youth to reflect not only on how much they’ve accomplished over the summer, but also on the personal growth they’ve experienced.

 

 

 

 

In the Summer Camp Hub article it mentions “kids enjoying childhood while learning valuable lessons. “The lessons learned at Woodland and TP are vast and varied because there isn’t a rush to push through.  Instead, campers have the time they need to practice daily what they are learning.  Additionally, they have the support of staff, counselors and peers to work through any challenges, successes and, yes, even failures, that accompany their personal journeys.

Woodland and Towering Pines camps are a wonderful place where young people have the opportunity to truly play so that the seeds of youth are able to develop and grow.  We’d love for your children to be able to share in the amazing camp traditions and the exciting new adventures that are about to transpire this summer!! Camp Woodland for Girls and Camp Towering Pines for Boys .  .  .  “A Place to Grow in 2-0.”

We want to thank The Summer Camp Hub for including Camp Woodland for Girls and Towering Pines Camp for Boys in their awesome blog!! (Best Summer Camps in Wisconsin)

Woodland/Towering Pines . . . Top 10 Summer Camps!!

We’re extremely excited that camps Woodland for Girls and Towering Pines for Boys have been mentioned as two of the best summer camps in Wisconsin by The Summer Camp Hub!!  (Best Summer Camps in Wisconsin)  This is a wonderful acknowledgment of what our brother/sister camps have to offer youth.

 

 

 

 

 

At Camps Woodland and Towering Pines we believe that it takes a lot of “slow to grow.”  This is why we choose to provide campers with a very unique six-week experience in which they have time to adjust to camp routines, schedules and group living.  After this period of “acclimation” kids have time to really extend themselves and explore within their daily activity areas, evening workshops (activities) and special events.  Because of the expanded camp stay, kids find a comfort zone in which they feel safe to challenge themselves, and they have opportunities to “accelerate” in all areas of development.

 

 

 

 

 

In the last two weeks of camp this “acceleration” of learning translates into a wonderful time for campers to “celebrate.”   They can see the progress they have made in so many areas.  It’s exciting for these youth to reflect not only on how much they’ve accomplished over the summer, but also on the personal growth they’ve experienced.

 

 

 

 

In the Summer Camp Hub article it mentions “kids enjoying childhood while learning valuable lessons.”The lessons learned at Woodland and TP are vast and varied because there isn’t a rush to push through.  Instead, campers have the time they need to practice daily what they are learning.  Additionally, they have the support of staff, counselors and peers to work through any challenges, successes and, yes, even failures, that accompany their personal journeys.

Woodland and Towering Pines camps are a wonderful place where young people have the opportunity to truly play so that the seeds of youth are able to develop and grow.  We’d love for your children to be able to share in the amazing camp traditions and the exciting new adventures that are about to transpire this summer!! Camp Woodland for Girls and Camp Towering Pines for Boys .  .  .  “A Place to Grow in 2-0.”

We want to thank The Summer Camp Hub for including Camp Woodland for Girls and Towering Pines Camp for Boys in their awesome blog!! (Best Summer Camps in Wisconsin)

Angie Wenzl Ziller

  • Mom at TP
  • Leadership Staff at TP/Office Manager
  • Marketing TP/Woodland
  • Assistant Waterfront Director at Woodland
  • Counselor at Woodland
  • “This is goodnight and not goodbye.”

 

 

Happy Sweetest Day from Starshine!

For the month of October, we are celebrating “Sweetest Day” (the 3rd Saturday of the month) and highlighting our youngest cabin for 2018, Starshine. Sweetest Day has an interesting origin tied to the Midwest that goes back to the 1920’s and is not celebrated in every state. While there is disagreement on the true story of the beginnings of this holiday, there is consensus that the sentiment remembers those less fortunate through distribution of candy by a group of people who were trying to make a difference. Sweetest Day might be described as a tamer version of Valentine’s Day. One blog writer mentions that the October version focuses on the “actual thoughts behind the actions” that we normally associate with the popular February holiday.

In learning more about the history of Sweetest Day, I really like the ties to camp that it promotes. At Woodland, being kind to others is part of our culture and an important thread that is woven in the fabric of our community. It is who we are and what we do. I can’t think of a better cabin to “sponsor” the blog this month than the sweetest group of girls found in Starshine. Being the youngest campers and ranging from 7-9 years of age, they captured the hearts of us all. The giggles that flowed freely from this group was nothing short of contagious.   When laughter erupted, the whole cabin and sometimes the entire camp followed suit!

It must be magical to experience so many things for the very first time as did the campers from Starshine this summer. At every turn there was a song, a game, an event, an activity or skill, a food choice, a camp tradition or a budding friendship that was a path untraveled. I love watching the oldest campers nurture the impressionable beings of those who look at everything with fresh eyes gleaming with wonder and awe. The sisterhood of our camp family invites veteran Woodland girls to assist youngsters whose size is most certainly dwarfed by a horse and often by the bow used to take aim at an archery target. Being a role model for the younger campers is an honor that is not taken lightly – it is a continuation of the caring cycle of those campers and counselors who came before.

I would be amiss not to mention that another tie to camp is that Sweetest Day is often marked by a gift of candy. I can say with conviction that this year’s Starshine girls LOVED their candy!   This was verified every afternoon during Canteen at Rec Swim and Sunday movie nights.   Just ask the CIT’s if you need proof of this claim (or check out the photo below showing popsicles as a “sweet” treat)!

We invite you to read on and discover the “sweetest” or best moments from the 2018 Starshine campers.

What is one thing you know now that you didn’t know at the beginning of the summer?

Angie: How to shoot an arrow

Annie: How to survival float

Maddie: Archery

Ivana: My English is better, and I learned how to be away from my parents for 6 weeks

Eleanor: Front crawl

Mariana: Swimming, riding, and speaking English

Alice: Don’t pack off the packing list

Describe a change you made in yourself this summer:

Angie: I became more independent

Annie: I have better hygiene

Maddie: I am better at riding

Ivana: When someone tried to speak in French, I was able to answer in English

Eleanor: I became less scared of trotting

Mariana: I know more English and am more responsible

Alice: I used to get snacks between meals and now I don’t

What are ways you were kind to the campers in your cabin or in general:

 Angie: I comforted them when they were sad

Annie: I helped out

Maddie: I tried to be nice

Ivana: By making them laugh

Eleanor: Helping them

Mariana: I tried to be more tolerant

Alice: By helping them and telling them what to do if they needed help

 

How did others show kindness to you?

Angie: They hung out with me and comforted me when I was sad

Annie: If I made a mistake, they wouldn’t yell at me

Maddie: By helping me in activities

Ivana: By making me feel welcome at camp

Eleanor: By helping me

Mariana: By teaching me about camp

Alice: In riding the CIT’s helped me with the stirrups

References:

https://www.bustle.com/articles/189543-what-is-sweetest-day-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-this-obscure-romantic-holiday

http://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/sweetest-day/

More Than a Camp Meal – It’s Food For the Body & Soul!

Posted by on June 29, 2018


Treetops “Family” Enjoying a Meal Together

Thinking back to when I was a kid, I can remember how important eating dinner together as a family was to my parents.  Even though my Dad had a business to run and my siblings and I had sports practice, games, homework, piano lessons, and a number of other things I probably don’t even remember, rarely a day would go by when we didn’t sit down as a family for the evening meal.  My Mom did everything in her power to work around our busy schedules so that we could share time together around the table most nights until I graduated from high school.

Driftwood Awaits Dessert (notice the spoons!)

While I may not have thoroughly appreciated it back then, when I reflect on our family’s shared meal experience, I now realize how precious and sacred that time really was.  It’s no wonder that at camp, I always look forward to the ritual of coming together as a community to enjoy not just one meal, but 3 squares together: breakfast, lunch, AND dinner!  Let’s be honest, I also enjoy mealtime because I am always STARVING due to being on the move and keeping active during a typical camp day, so there is a basic need to be met.  Once my physical self is refueled and ready to take on the next adventure, my social-emotional self is also nourished from the act of being together with my camp “family.”

Hilltop Smiles!

What I know now that I didn’t know when I was still living at home, it that there are numerous positive outcomes that come from bonding over a meal.  Just the mere act of coming together and TALKING with one another is food for the soul.  Breakfast is usually a little more quiet than the other two meals (as you might imagine, pre-teens and teens are not fully awake just yet – unless it is Saturday which means DONUT DAY!), but there is the anticipation of an exciting day ahead while campers discuss what they are looking forward to with each girl’s schedule of activities.  Today could present the opportunity to canter for the first time in riding, learn to dive in swimming, practice a dance routine for the upcoming show, or enjoy making a picture frame in arts and crafts.

Hello, Tamarack!

Come lunch time, the dining room is filled with non-stop chatter as campers take turns giving a blow-by-blow recap of their morning and all that transpired in the past few hours.  The volume has definitely increased since we were last together, and the energy has more than quadrupled (if I had to wager a guess!).  Having a good chunk of time to sit around a table with your cabin offers an incredible opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, goals, dreams, stories, and more with the people you are getting to know in a group living setting.  In just a short period of time, campers feel comfortable and safe to be transparent and real in these conversations while enjoying a meal together.

What’s Up, Silver Birch?

When assembly rolls around following an afternoon of more fun and adventure, we once again file into the lodge for our 3rd meal of the day.  Some cabins sit in the “front” part of the dining room, while others gather in the “back.”  Both locations have their advantages!  Having a table in the front means you are close to the awesome fire that Chet builds many mornings (a plus when the air is a bit “crispy”), and being in the back means enjoying a view of the lake along with a refreshing breeze (if the weather calls for the windows to be open).  I vividly remember sitting at a table in the back as a counselor and getting to see an eagle perched in the giant pine tree right outside the door.  What a treat to have such a majestic creature join us!

Tamarack Continued

After the evening meal and another opportunity to check in with each other about afternoon activities and accomplishments, the CIT’s pass out song books and we enjoy time to sing together as a camp community.  Some songs tell a funny story (Ship Titanic), while others have motions (A Boy and A Girl in a Little Canoe) or offer a chance for the front and back dining rooms to sing in a round (Zoom Golly-Golly).  We wrap up this camp tradition every night by singing two legendary Woodland songs (W – That’s the Way it Begins… and We Are From Woodland, Woodland Are We…).

It’s the Sunnyside Bunch!

Another benefit of eating 3 meals a day together is that we take the time to SLOW DOWN and ENJOY each other’s company, which is a rarity in any other place.  We are able to relax a bit, reflect on the experiences a camp day has to offer, and revel in the laughter and fun we share as a cabin group.  Meal times are the BEST!

p.s. I should also mention that the food at Camp Woodland is delicious!  Most meals are served from “scratch” — don’t be surprised if your camper comes home with a few menu requests that are not your average fare!