Camp Woodland Blog

Meet the Woodland Wellness Team

When I think back to my early days working at camp in the mid 80’s and into the 90’s, I remember sending kids to the “infirmary” when they were sick or injured. At some point (I can’t recall the exact year), we realized that the name for the cabin tucked in between Treetops and Farm Zoo implies a place to care for the “ill” or “infirm” when it is far more than that! It is definitely a place to get back on your feet when not feeling well or to seek care after a mishap; however, it is more appropriately known as the “Health Center.”

Instead of focusing on the reactive side of being sick or hurt, the new name implies a more proactive approach to care with the idea of being on top of issues before they become problematic. Here meds are prepped for distribution at meals and before bed, campers come by cabin groups to get regular health checks throughout the season so that a baseline is established and monitored, and there is even a water bottle cleaning station outside for getting rid of any “funk” (bacteria) that may cause issues down the road! Band-aids can be found in an envelope that is tacked to the door so that campers and staff can take them as needed to care for their own minor bug bites, scratches and scrapes. Not an infirmary by a long shot!

I would even go further to say that after the past several years, the name for this building that welcomes every camper and staff member at some point throughout the summer (some more often than others!), would be better suited being called the “Wellness Center.” And, the staff who are in charge of the medical side of the camp community would be referred to as the “wellness team.” Mental health in today’s world is just as important (if not more so!) to overall wellness as physical health. Our health center staff in recent years have been well aware that mental health (stress, anxiety, panic, and more) is often manifested in physical ways (headache, stomach ache, lack of appetite, inability to sleep, etc).

Enter team Marie, a board certified family nurse practitioner, and RN Maddy. Maddy joined the Woodland community for the first time this summer (2023), while Marie has been with us a total of 3 summers with her start in 2021. Marie is the health care coordinator for both camps and a vital member of the CWTP leadership team that meets weekly from September-May. These two amazing people have a lot to do with me making an “unofficial” name change here for the health center.

This idea of thinking of health care as overall wellness is a much needed mindset switch and was intentionally prevalent this past summer. As soon as you walked in the door, the first thing that caught your attention was the lampshade that “smiled” at you with a pair of false eyelashes. For Marie and Maddy, humor was often the best “medicine” for those coming by for a visit. Nobody wants to be ill or injured, and there can be anxiety around both, so why not make it a less threatening place from the moment you enter the building?!

Next you would find a plethora of fun “fidget” toys that are great for engaging the senses by popping, stretching, twisting, turning, rubbing, etc. in order to keep the mind from going down the path of creating worst case scenarios. There were also well-stocked plastic bins that were the home to all kinds of coloring pages and markers, games, and other items to occupy time when not sleeping or wishing you were back in your cabin or participating in your normal slate of activities while on the road to recovery.

One of the great things about this Dynamic Duo is that they immersed themselves in the camp community and could be seen outside of their “office”. The first period of the day was typically dedicated to walking around from cabin to cabin with the CIT (counselor-in-training) who is OD (officer of the day) to do cabin inspections (as you may suspect, community health is greatly affected by cleanliness!). Meals were eaten in the lodge most days as this is a great time to catch up with campers and staff who may need a quick check-in as this is when everyone is in the same location for an extended period of time. Afternoons were often spent at the waterfront as a large portion of the camp is there for Rec Swim or sailing, another key time to “hang out” and connect with campers and staff. I also observed Marie and Maddy walk around to various activities and saw them participate in dance class and hit balls at tennis!

Whatever you call the place where the medical staff live and set up shop, the wellness team is an integral part of the camp community, and we couldn’t do it without them! Thank you, Maddy & Marie, for a HEALTHY & SAFE summer!

A little bit about Marie…

Hometown: Wausau, WI 

What will Marie be doing this coming year? working on building a practice and cleaning house (hard to do when working 2 full-time jobs!)

Topic/s Marie could talk about for hours: dogs, nieces & nephews

Most valuable piece of advice she’s ever received: QTIP (quit taking it personally)

Fun Facts: Marie has 4 dogs, one of whom is a puppy that pushes every possible button of someone who is supposed to know how to train dogs(!); she also has a big barn full of all kinds of goodies (hence the reason the Health Center was so well stocked with interesting things – ask Marie for just about anything, and she will come up with it!)

A little bit about Maddy…

Hometown: Wausau, WI (two amazing people from the SAME town!)

What will Maddy be doing this coming year? going on a vacation to Alaska with her family (cruise and land tour) immediately after camp then figuring out what to do next being she is a recent college graduate

Topic/s Maddy could talk about for hours: fishing

Most valuable piece of advice she’s ever received: still thinking on this one!

Fun Facts: Maddy has a twin sister, she can make friendship bracelets with the best of them, and she LOVES eating green peas out of a can