Camp Woodland Blog

Ineffable: The Camp Woodland Experience

Ineffable is my new favorite word. I actually came across this word as the name of a boat at a marina in the coastal town where I live. To be honest, I had to look it up because I was not familiar with this word or had any clue about its meaning. Usually words with “in” as a prefix such as inadequate, incapable or inaction have the opposite meaning of the base word (adequate, capable or action). When I consulted with my “friend”, Merriam Webster, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that ineffable means “too great to be expressed or described in words”. Therefore, if something is “effable,” it can be explained.

In my opinion, “ineffable” is actually more powerful than its root. The first thing that came to mind when I thought of what could possibly be “too great to describe,” I immediately thought of camp. Hands down. Without any hesitation. Now that the summer of 2022 is behind us, and I reflect on its many happenings, I came up with quite a list of those things that are so wonderful they are hard to explain or describe even if one has a long history with camp.

  • Being surrounded by nature 24/7
  • A brilliantly colorful sunset that streaks the sky above the pine trees
  • A full moon and its trail across Sand Lake
  • Loons calling to one another
  • Looking at the incredibly bright star-filled sky and Milky Way from the tennis courts
  • An eagle soaring high above the trees
  • Deer darting in and out of the forest
  • The whinnying of horses
  • The geese, chickens and bunnies joining us at Farm Zoo

  • The freedom of being unplugged from the real world for 6 weeks
  • The strong bonds that form between camp friends
  • The love and caring that counselors and staff extend to campers
  • The feeling of belonging to a place and connections with the people
  • The absence of being judged
  • Acceptance for being who you are (It’s Cool to be You!)
  • The refreshing limitations of the “stuff” we brought with us to camp


  • Canoeing across the lake for an overnight with your cabin, cooking over a fire, and sleeping in a tent
  • The pull and release of the bow sending an arrow to the target
  • The feel of the smooth wood as you go round and round on the uneven bars
  • Wearing Crocs with your favorite Jibbitz shoe charms
  • Adding glitter to any art project just because
  • Having the wind in your face as you sail across Sand Lake
  • Feeling the sand between your toes at the waterfront
  • The relaxation that comes from each stroke of the knife against wood when whittling
  • Going to sleep while your counselor reads a bedtime story
  • JoAnne sharing the tale about “warm fuzzies” at campfire


  • Dan’s lasagne or the new Asian bowls on the menu this year
  • Toasting a marshmallow to the perfect level of “oo-ey goo-ey”
  • Cathy’s ice cream (especially chocolate peanut butter)
  • The smell of a campfire burning, hearing its snap, crackle, pop, and seeing the outline of a pinecone in the flames contributed by a Woodland girl making a very special wish at the beginning and end of summer
  • Pieces of birch bark/wood used for cabin contracts, birthday medallions, and banquet wishboats
  • The smell and taste of mint at the water’s edge
  • The greeting and warmth of a fire blazing in the lodge on a chilly morning
  • The sound of laughter as campers transition to the next round of activities
  • Boisterous singing after meals, at campfires, and in activities
  • Reading a book or writing a letter

While there are images and memories that can be conjured up with each of these items on my list, I can honestly say that even though they are so amazing and bring a smile to my face and a warm feeling to my heart, each one of them is too great to find the words to adequately describe or express. The summer of 2022 was INEFFABLE. One for the books. A summer like no other. Only the people who were here would completely understand. We send every good wish to the campers and staff of Camp Woodland for living “It’s Cool to be You” in ’22 in every possible way. We look forward to the 2023…another opportunity for an INEFFABLE experience.