Towering Pines Blog

Camp . . . Building Community in Unique Ways

Often times as I describe camp or write about camp, I include the word “community.”  There are many things about camp that involve routines and schedules; however, within this structure there are many experiences that create a sense of adventure.  These experiences are unique because of our camp community, and they inspire and impact the boys in a plethora of different ways depending on the individual.  

This past summer I had the pleasure of having a young man, Will, who came into the office on a daily basis during third period to work on academics for the fall semester.  My role was just to keep an eye on him and make sure he stayed on task while I was doing my own work.  This ended up being a learning experience for me as well, and it truly solidified my belief in what a camp community can provide.  

Will was prepping for a class that was going to have a lot of reading and homework requirements, so he wanted to try to get ahead.  He was just beginning to read the book Ishmael, and I asked him what it was about. He looked at me and said, “Hmmm . . . it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s about this gorilla whom the narrator communicates with telepathically, and they learn together about culture and humanity through books.” From his facial expression I could tell Will wasn’t certain if he was going to like the book . . . yet he was intrigued.  

Over the next couple of weeks, I checked in with Will regularly, and it seemed that his interest in the book was growing.  One day Will came into the office, and with great enthusiasm he said, “Angie, do you think you could do something for me?”  I said, “Of course, I’ll help if I can. What do you need?”  His reply was, “Can you please order a book for me for the camp library?”  I looked up and said, “Which book is that?”, and he said with a shy grin on his face, “Ishmael!”  I was a bit surprised, “So you ended up liking the book?” I said.  Will shared that he, in fact, immensely enjoyed the book, so much so, that he wanted to share it with others at camp.  

I immediately ordered the book for the camp library, and before we knew it, the 2 copies of Ishmael were in circulation.  Not only did other CITs (counselors in training) read the book, but, many counselors and staff did as well.  Ishmael became the topic of lots of conversations at holding areas, the dining hall, office, to and from cabins, and it was fascinating to witness the intensity in which the guys would describe what they were reading.  One of the counselors was defending why he would want to take the time to read it, and pure enthusiasm radiated from him. This, in turn, sparked a conversation about why people read and the adventures on which books take us that we may not otherwise ever experience.  

Soon after my awareness increased in regards to all of the reading that was happening around camp.  Was this eagerness always there?  Or did Will’s zealousness and willingness to share his excitement about Ishmael spark something amidst our very own camp community?  There’s no way to really know, but it affirmed to me the positive influence that these fellas can have on one another.  It reminds me of why one of our camp values is, in fact, community.”  The goal is to  become engaged with one another, to make connections by inviting others in.  Will is a true example of this!!

Keep, reading fellas, and come back this summer so you can share your literary adventures and create more adventures with everyone at camp too!!  If you haven’t registered yet for the Summer of 2023 or know of a family who would benefit from our unique camp experience, please feel free to share 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.”