Camp Woodland Blog

What Camp did for Lindsay…

One of the things we always emphasize is how big of a difference camp can make in the lives of children.  You may not see it right away, but the future benefits are astronomical!  One of our Counselors, Lindsay, wrote about camp for her college essay and wanted to share her experience with our camp family. Lindsay will be going to Colorado State this fall…


“It was just a few days before my eighth birthday and I remember driving though the north woods of Wisconsin with my dad by my side.  I had been waiting for this moment for most of two years — all my excitement built up from stories I had heard from my older cousin.  We arrived at Camp Woodland just at sunset.  I was a little nervous and scared, unsure what it would be like being away from home for six weeks at a summer camp.  I was welcomed with open arms by the director, one of my counselors, and my older cousin.  I quickly became friends with the other girls in my cabin, said goodbye to my dad, and started my first of ten summers at Camp Woodland.

At eight years old, camp was a magical place where I could run around all day, explore new things, and not have a single care in the world.  As I got older, these wonders lessened, but at the same time I realized just how important the people in my camp experience were to me.  From the first year, I have grown up and matured with the same tight group of girls that I met at that first flag lowering.  As each summer came around, we all returned for another year of bug juice, mosquitoes and each other.  Even as we transitioned from little girls to teenagers, our bond grew stronger and stronger.  Every year, we would commit to each other that we would come back and spend our precious summers together at camp.  To this day, the friends I made when I was eight years old are still my best friends.  We still make that promise every year.

I always looked up to the camp counselors and decided at some point that I wanted to be a counselor when I grew up.  In 2012, I returned for the first time not as a camper, but as a counselor.  I have worked several jobs at home during the school year.  However, I have never been prouder of my “staff” jacket and the responsibility which goes with it.  It was the culmination of a ten year commitment.  Ironically, I was assigned to the cabin with the eight year-old first time campers!

Interestingly, camp is a place where I could grow up and develop into the person I wanted to become without having the pressure of the outside world.   At camp, it was OK to be different and not fit in with the “in crowd.”  You do not have to be ashamed to reveal the person you want to become, and no matter what you believe in you would always have a friend.  To this day, I do not judge people on how they dress, how they look, or what they believe in.  As I transitioned from camper to counselor, camp has helped me develop into a responsible adult.  Over these years, I have learned how to take care of not only myself, but others as well.  Camp is not about iPods, cell phones, and Facebook.  It is about the simple things: realizing that we do not get everything we want in life, learning how to accept that and making the best of what we do have.  As a counselor, the owners have helped teach me how to resolve problems in the cabin.  There are no easy ways out of this: campers cannot move cabins, go home or avoid an issue.  I learned that I had to face the problems as a camper, and now I am learning how to help others handle problems in an appropriate manner.  I am currently leaning towards a major in psychology: little did I know how much Camp Woodland for girls would come to define who I am today.

Many of the girls at camp are not from the United States.  A large number live in Mexico. The opportunity which I have had to become friends with girls from other countries, has taught in a very real way about other cultures and how we are both different and alike.  I know that I have gained respect for other countries and the different traditions they have. Growing up in Arizona, many people look at Mexicans in a negative way.  They are seen as a lower class, when, in reality, they are just as good and worthy.  Camp has quietly shown me not to pre-judge anyone.  This lesson actually came later.  As a young child, I didn’t even see the difference between us; as I grew older and came to understand the harsh reality of prejudice, I was surrounded by a compelling reason to reject it.  I know that I am more open to people from other countries and refuse to stereotype them.

Its just six short weeks every summer.  But Camp Woodland has helped me to become the young responsible adult that I am today.  The continuity of experiences I had as a child, a young teenager, and as a counselor cannot but impact me as I continue to grow up in the years to come.”

– Lindsay K., Starshine Cabin