Towering Pines Blog

Cabin 7 . . . Taking the Time to Grow at Camp!!

Happy 2022 to all of you!!  With the beginning of a new year, it seems like there is usually talk about resolutions and taking huge steps to improve oneself.  Setting goals and having aspirations can be a wonderful and healthy way to start something new. However, what these high expectations do to me is to create apprehension and the tendency to creep reluctantly into a new year.  I have been reflecting a lot on this and why I tend to shy away from the idea of ginormous leaps.  I think it is because it becomes overwhelming and, honestly, it screams “failure” at me from every direction.

If you’re wondering how does this possibly relate to camp?  Well, I believe what makes camp so unique is that it deviates from this premise of success being determined only by how quickly you accomplish a goal and that the end result is the main achievement.  Camp is so special because at Towering Pines Camp for Boys, we believe that it takes “a lot of slow to grow.”  This isn’t a race with only one vision — to cross the finish line.  There are many small steps (and sometimes even tiny ones) that lead the campers through the process.  The journey is just as important as the end game because so much is learned along the way.

The boys at Towering Pines have a variety of opportunities to chart their own summer expedition, and they may explore many different pathways in order to get there.  Are there goals along the way?  You bet there are!  But . . . each camper gets to decide what these goals are through purposeful encouragement from counselors and other staff at camp.  Can it still be scary to try new things?  Of course, it can be!  However, campers are also exposed to a natural nudging from their cabin mates, friends, and peers to step outside their comfort zone.  There is time to dip their toes into the water if they aren’t quite ready to dive into the deep end just yet. Do they experience times when they might fall?  Absolutely they do!  However, they do so within a safe environment within our camp community, and they are repeatedly encouraged to get back up and try again.  There are peers and staff to help them learn from their mistakes and to determine what the next best step is for them.

Looking back at the Summer of 2021, the boys of Cabin 7, Iroquois, shared some of their insights into the adventures and experiences they had.  These reflections show insight into the personal growth and development that happens when campers are given the gift of time at camp.

In what ways did the SUN SHINE for you this summer (what were your favorite things about camp?):

  • I got to 50 yards at archery which I am really happy about.  I got to 40 yards prone as well (and maybe sitting).  I also tried TP Players which paid off because I love it!
  • The activities and the food!
  • My friends and the activities!
  • My favorite thing about camp is the people and all of the variety of activities.  
  • Some of my favorite aspects of camp include seeing friends again after two years, picking up where I left off in activities in previous summers and trying new things.  I improved in archery, and I tried to water ski.
  • I really enjoyed skiing, doing archery, riflery, free swim, skin diving and a bunch of others. 

What is something that took you by surprise and was better than you imagined?

  • Getting to 50 yards in archery was a shock!  I didn’t think I would get there so soon.
  • There are so many activities to choose from!
  • Making new friends and having so many activities. 
  • I was surprised at how many new kids there were, and I’m glad they came to TP.
  • Basically I was never going to take archery this year, but once I tried it, I figured out that I was actually pretty good even though I wasn’t in previous years.  Since I’ve been putting my mind to it, I’ve gone from Black Yeoman to my Red Archer!
  • The weather was a surprise for sure.  The weather was usually clear skies, and there were only a few rainy days the whole summer!  There was also only one big thunderstorm.

What is something you were able to do that you have not been able to do over the past year?

  • Basically everything, but mostly socializing.  I got to see all of my camp friends for the first time in a long while.
  • Ski and sail!
  • I got to go sailing, skiing and knee boarding.
  • Archery, swim every day and fish every day.  : )
  • It’s been really hard to communicate and talk to friends at home due to Covid, but here, I feel like I have many friends that are not just in the cabin but are from many other cabins.  I’m really glad that I have people to talk to and laugh with this summer. 
  • Basically everything at camp I can’t do at home, other than riflery, biking and arts and crafts.  There are just so many things to do at camp that I had missed, and I can’t even begin to think of them all!

The thing I learned most about myself:

  • I am more capable of everything than when I was in my first two summers at camp.  And I learned I can do anything if I really give it a try. 
  • I learned that I can sail.
  • I learned that I’m actually good in sailing.
  • I learned that I am funny.
  • I’ve learned that I don’t give up and do really well when I put my mind to things like archery and water skiing.  I’ve also learned that I’m a really nice, helpful and funny person and that I should think about that when I get down on myself.  
  • I was being tenacious and having a good attitude everywhere I go.  I was really willing to try new things and get better at all of them.   

What is the first thing you will tell your parents/family about your camp experience:

  • I want to come back next year and every year!! 
  • I missed you, but I also want to stay at camp.  
  • I missed you so much, but I did great at camp.
  • That I love seeing them, but that I LOVE camp!!
  • I am going to tell my parents about stories, events, the food, my cabin, my activities, my achievements.  I’ll also tell them about what I’m going to miss about camp, my counselors, the fun experiences, the new things that I tried, and that I can’t wait to come back next year!! 
  • I will tell them that I passed out of instructional swim, and that I got up on slalom.  Also, I’ll tell them about being in advanced biking, well, I’m an advanced biker “in training.” 

Cabin 7 had some insightful reflections about their adventures at camp.  They made some amazing discoveries about what is so exceptional about Towering Pines!  Not only  is camp about the experiences, but it is also about making connections and building community.  Their individual accomplishments are even more spectacular because we are able to celebrate these together as a camp family!!  See ya soon, fellas.

To register for Summer of 2022, click this link!!

Angie Ziller

  • Camp Mom at TP
  • Leadership Staff at TP/Office Manager
  • Marketing TP/Woodland
  • Leadership Team TP/Woodland
  • Assistant Waterfront Director at Woodland
  • Counselor at Woodland
  • “Building in our hearts fond memories, Towering Pines for you.”