Towering Pines Blog

A Letter to the CIT’s of 2019

Posted by on May 13, 2020

Alex “Harlow” has been a part of Towering Pines Camp for Boys for 17 summers which means he has spent the greater portion of his life at camp!!  Last summer Alex had the opportunity to come back and work as a counselor (and leadership staff) in Cabin 12 with the Counselors in Training (CITs).  Alex spent time reflecting on the incredible benefits that camp provides to campers, Counselors in Training (CITs) and staff.

At the end of the summer, we have “Banquet” which culminates the accomplishments the boys have made, the experiences they have had and the friendships they have made.  The CITs play a special role at the banquet because they have the opportunity to serve the delicious family style dinner that the kitchen prepares.  After this wonderful meal, each cabin’s counselors have the chance to share memories and words of encouragement with their campers.  These “toasts” might incorporate a skit, a funny poem, cabin jokes or, perhaps, a letter to the boys.

After hearing Alex read this heartfelt letter to the CITs of 2019, I asked him if I could share it with you.  I think many of us could feel the intense emotion that Alex felt having watched this group of campers literally “grow up” before his very eyes.  These are the pieces of camp that are priceless, and it’s difficult to share the impact they have unless you’ve experienced it.  Because I have lived camp life for many years and have also been a camp parent, I like to try to share with others a glimpse into why Towering Pines is such a spectacular place to learn and grow.

From Alex to Apache:

“When I first became a counselor when I was about your age, I thought it would be a very easy summer job.  However, over time I started to learn the positive impact I had on campers like you.  Watching all of you grow up over multiple summers into the amazing young men you are today, has been truly incredible.  And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!!  I hope that Bryan and I have done a good job leading and teaching you throughout the summer.  When I look at every single one of you, I see not only leaders, athletes, artists, and comedians, but I also see you as some of my greatest friends.  I can now rest at ease because I know when my time is up at Towering Pines, I have left this wonderful place that I call home in good hands.”

Thank you,







Cabin 12 also shared some of their “Best Moments” of 2019:

How did you SHINE this summer?

Javier G.:  Helping younger campers with issues and activities.

Ethan:  I shone when I used a flashlight. (Just like Ethan to always use his sense of humor!!)

Bryce:  I have a main role in the play, and I played trombone for the camp at assembly.

Iker:  I shone in most of my activities when I actually needed to compete.

Julian:  Being with my friends is a way I was able to shine this summer.

Alex E.:  Beating Red Arrow at trap.

Ray:  I played well in the activities that I participated in, such as getting my “expert” in riflery and wake boarding during free swim.

Jorge: In everything especially like riferly, archery, zoo and skin diving.

Pedro Pablo: I shone in water skiing.

Perry: I improved in TP Players and got better at improv and acting.






When were you at your BEST this summer?

Javier G.:  Playing against Red Arrow in the 16 & under soccer game and improving during trick ski.

Ethan:  I was at my best when I was against Woodland at sail race!

Bryce:  The 4th week at camp is when I really was at my best and when I was getting along with everyone.

Iker:  When TP beat Red Arrow 7-1 in soccer.

Julian:  Being good and getting along with other campers and staff.

Alex E.:  Helping out younger campers and being a role model.

Ray:  When I was playing for the TP Open.

Jorge: When I was playing soccer.

Pedro Pablo: I really improved this year in slalom in water skiing.

Perry: I was at my best when Alex and I were the “dream team” during Gold Rush!!






Describe a CHANGE you noticed in yourself while at camp.

Javier G.:  I became more disciplined in terms of doing exercise and activities.

Ethan:  I got better at shooting guns, which is a new skill for me.

Bryce:  I became more open to when people joked around with me.

Iker:  I became a more consistent person in terms of doing exercises.

Julian:  I became more comprehensive in that I tried lots of things.

Alex E.:  I got a lot better at trap.

Ray:  I became more of a leader and role model for the younger kids.

Jorge: Growing, getting taller, stronger and handsome.

Pedro Pablo: I have become more patient.

Perry: I am more responsible and independent.






What lessons were learned from something CHALLENGING this summer?

Javier G.:  Becoming a better sailor during sail races and learning about sail racing.

Ethan:  Sponges make great ice packs!!  (Info that will be helpful for a lifetime, Ethan!!)

Bryce:  It isn’t easy but sometimes you need to just shrug off what people say about you.

Iker:  I learned patience after I choked (struggled) on 5 rounds with a 39 when I needed a 40.

Julian:  To never give up no matter what!!

Alex E.:  Something challenging is learning how to handle stressful situations.

Ray:  I learned that you can still have fun even when you have a lot of responsibility.

Jorge: Co-Ed show and skiing were challenging for me this summer.

Pedro Pablo: To keep my competitive nature no matter what.

Perry: Not to give up even when something is very challenging.







Thank you to Alex and Bryan for being fantastic role models to these young men in the Summer of 2019!!  The long-standing traditions and culture of Towering Pines will always be there for these boys and young men no matter where they roam.  Our community continues even during Camp Quarantine because camp exists beyond just the physical location — a little bit of camp lives in each one of us. We continue to look forward to Summer of 2020 “A Place to Grow in 2-0!”


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.”