Towering Pines Blog

Continuing to Shine Beyond Camp . . .

Does camp truly end when parents come and pick their kids up and take them home?  Is it officially over when the final embrace is held a bit too long and that teary-eyed wave is set into motion as the big long bus pulls away down the TP Road? Or is it finished when the last sail and dock are stored for the winter months, and the staff looks around bewildered by the quiet hush that has truly come over the crowd? 

I don’t believe that camp really ever ends, whether you’ve spent one summer there, ten summers, or even 30, we take camp with us wherever we go.  I believe that camp lives on in the lasting friendships made, the plethora of lessons learned and the values that become an inherent part of whom we are because of the experiences we’ve had at camp.  Now that school and other activities are in full swing, it’s a great time to reflect upon how camp impacts the boys as they navigate life beyond our summer home at Towering Pines.  

As a residential camp, Towering Pines encourages personal and social development in so many ways.  Campers learn a level of independence by making choices about what activities and workshops they want to take.  Included in this is setting goals and determining the steps to achieving these. They learn how to balance their time and belongings in order to be able to arrive at activities on time.  In addition, campers learn that there are natural consequences when making decisions, and these can be both positive and negative. There are times when you have to live with the choice that you made and discover that you might do things differently the next time.   







At camp the boys also experience what it’s like to face challenges and how to find ways to approach these.  When a challenge presents itself, what can you do?  What are your options?  There is always the option to give up; however, at camp the boys learn what strategies extend beyond this. Through the activities, evening workshops, special events, canoe trips and adventure days, there are hundreds of chances to practice problem solving.  Having a variety of different opinions on how to approach a scenario educates campers on how to task analyze and look at various possibilities.  At camp we try to shift thought processes so that obstacles become opportunities for learning and growth.  

Kids also experience the essence of group living in their cabins which helps them learn how to take care of their own personal space and belongings.  Most come to the realization that people have different preferences as far as personal space is concerned.  Campers learn how to respect boundaries and how to make compromises in order to maintain the peace within their cabin family.  The boys ascertain that one might not be best friends with everyone; however, there are ways to learn to get along and to find positive qualities in each person.  Living with people from different countries and states, various religious backgrounds and a variety of cultures promotes tolerance and acceptance.

What is unique about camp is that all of these skills and life lessons are learned within a very special community.  The leadership and staff are purposeful and intentional in helping campers along this journey of growth. There are opportunities to learn from boys of different ages who serve as role models, peers and friends.  Risks can be taken because the camp environment is not only supportive, but it also encourages individuality and inclusiveness.

Our hope is that the boys of Towering Pines will apply what they have learned and continue to find “Their Time to Shine in   1-9” no matter where they might be.  See ya soon fellas .  .  .  

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.”