Camp Wood YMCA

From the eyes of the boys

July 9th, 2014 by admin

“We got to have s’mores and the chicken from nature and looking for crickets; to roasting a Starburst…”

Campout Night stirs up many thoughts and feelings when the word is spoken at Camp Wood YMCA.  It’s the night when campers and counselors grab their sleeping bags, a tarp and their food.  They hike out to a campsite where a fire is started and the memories begin. As they lay out their tarp, that search for a perfect spot for their sleeping bag begins.  Well, all boys may not think about that just yet…as the night under the soon-to-be-seen stars begins, but that time will come when they do begin to search for where they put their sleeping bag!

The boys experience it on Tuesday night and the girls on Wednesday night.  In the meantime the anxious anticipation and excitement awaits.  What will happen?  Will the stars light the way?  Will we need to get back to camp before the rain? Will we find enough grasshoppers to chase?  Or in the case of a past week of boy cabins…who will be willing to dangle the grasshopper over his mouth?  And how long will it take to get the fire going.  Along with this campers are found wondering: What songs will we sing?  Will I see animals?  What games will we play?  Will it be fun?

This week we asked the boys to write down their favorite thing about camp-out night; having just returned from the adventure out into our grasslands.

The comments came back in one sentence replies.  One that I found the most intriguing went as follow:  “We got to have s’mores and the chicken from nature and looking for crickets.”  Now I’m not sure where the chicken from nature story unfolds, but it’s good to know that our campers know that chicken is not produced in a grocery store frozen food isle!

Amongst other top rated comments were:

“the fire” and gathering firewood; followed by “the food”.  S’mores were a common theme along with being outside and meeting other cabins. Being with the counselors, baby frogs, exploring, the game of mafia and playing statues with Jacob, sleeping under the stars and seeing the constellations all were highlights of the boys night out.  One comment may lead us to believe that a few of the boys were a bit adventurous while the counselors were dozing, but they didn’t get too far from their camp-out home and for this we thank the night sky and those who were awake keeping watch over the boys. We can’t close out our comments without mentioning that one counselor decided to test out the roasting of Starbursts, and apparently it went well, or at least it was funny enough to make it a “favorite thing about camp-out” activity. Counselor Kyler you will forever be famous.

Next up: Girls night out…story and pictures to come!



A Big Thanks

July 1st, 2014 by admin

If you look around Camp Wood YMCA on any given summer camp day, you may see muddy kids, wet kids, smiling kids, early rising kids (or tired kids), kids smelling a lot like their horses in horse camp…and still smiling, tower climbing kids, kids running around the dining hall because they left an elbow on the table, and a lot of kids making mealtime mockeries to the staff person giving the announcements.

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In the mix of all these kids, you’ll find their faithful leaders, known as counselors. You’ll also find those directly in charge of areas and specialty camps, and those in charge of making sure things are set up, scheduled and in place; so that when the counselors and kids come running, areas are ready. American camping is a unique summer time opportunity for kids to experience a bit of something different for a week. Most countries don’t have the advantage of such a long holiday time to run such camps.

For us, it’s even more than an awesome opportunity for campers and their families. It’s also an opportunity for college students to gain experience with kids, experience in leading their peers, experience in leading activities that they love or that maybe they haven’t had the chance or the time to learn about and experience. It’s a chance for our staff to give your kids a great week at camp that they will never forget!

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Hopefully these experiences even lead to a new hobby or two somewhere down the road for both staff and campers. Camp is a chance for the staff to be stretched in their own areas of strength and in new growth. They then get the chance to teach kids, hang out with kids, laugh with and encourage kids, and learn from kids; as they practice both new and old skills. This week we want to say a big thanks to our staff who are half-way through their summer stay at Camp Wood YMCA. Kids are smiling and that relates directly to how you are impacting their lives!

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Thanks parents for entrusting us with your greatest treasures!
And a big thanks to those who serve our country!   Happy 4th of July

“I’m Almost 17″

June 25th, 2014 by admin

The thoughts of a Wrangler In Training:  “I’m Almost 17″

From early morning to early evening, our campers are on the go! What makes them willing to get up shortly after the sun rises?

From mudslides to cooking to nature exploring to archery to the Alpine tower and team-building… and Horses; quite possibly the excitement of new adventures or the memories of last year’s fun is what gets them out of bed.  It’s a definite advantage we have over parents for one week of the summer!  Some parents even allow us the advantage for 2-3 weeks. Even our teenage campers who are in our Leader In Training, Counselor In Training and Wrangler In Training camp programs are enthusiastic about the start of the day once they realize the day is starting.

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“IN TRAINING” campers doing a bit of team-building

We have an enthusiastic group of “Wrangler In Training” youth.  Yesterday they had big smiles on their faces as the last group of campers came in from the trail ride. One of them commented: “I’m almost 17, so soon I can become a wrangler”.   Almost 17 translates into 16, but the enthusiasm makes the almost 17 seem so much closer to us being able to hire him as that wrangler I’m told he’s talked about becoming for years.

The growth of our campers in all areas of life is what makes the days of Summer Camp rewarding. We see many kids start as little guys and girls, not quite sure of what to do on their first overnights away from home. Often our counselors spend the first night reading and talking them through that first night.  But once the day begins, the smiles grow and by the week’s end they are ready for more.  They are also ready for a big hug by a parent on a Saturday pick-up morning, as the stories begin to unfold. Thanks parents for sending us your kids!

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To 2014 Summer Campers:

Registrations are now open for 2015. All you need to do for now is give us a call and leave a $75 deposit.  Exact dates will be posted at the end of summer.

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6 Words to Think About

June 17th, 2014 by admin

When you think of Summer Camp at Camp Wood YMCA, what first comes to your mind?

Is it friends?  Is it horses?  Maybe it’s the climbing Tower or last year’s counselor? Or Gold Rush?  Maybe it’s Gaga? Or the Lake?


Tuesday is almost over and our blog is in need of YOU!  As we share your Summer Camp experience through pictures posted on facebook; or if you are a parent and we share your child’s Summer Camp experience through pictures, how would you describe it?

Our National YMCA is looking for 6 word stories and we’d like to hear yours.  When we say Camp Wood YMCA, what 6 word story, sentence or thought comes to mind?  Maybe it’s a picture you remember that you can describe (or send it to us with a description)?

We’re waiting to hear from you.  You can post it on facebook or email it to:

On another note: Our annual I’m 3rd Golf Tournament with Strickland Construction, to benefit our Kids-To-Camp scholarship fund, went very well yesterday.  Thanks to everyone who participated, sponsored, or volunteered.

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golfers going for the Hole in One circle…

Rose sold raffle tickets to our golfers

What Is This Gaga Thing?

June 10th, 2014 by admin

A Game called Gaga and Summer Camp

I have frequently been asked where does the game of Gaga come from.  After not having an answer on more than one occasion, I finally remembered to look it up. According to the world wide web of answers, Gaga is believed to have originated in Israel.  It translates to “touch, touch” in Hebrew. Although it was a game played mainly at Jewish summer camps and community centers in the U.S. since the 1970s, it is now on the resurgence all over the camping scene.

In gaga, players lob the ball underhand, trying to hit one another below the knees (or below the waist) to eliminate their opponents from the court. If the ball goes over the wall, or if it is caught before bouncing, the person who launched it is out of the game.  What is liked even more about this game is the fact that you can re-enter the game.  If you’re asking how to re-enter the game…you’ll have to come play it to find out how!


Gaga can be played in the mud, sand, and I would venture to say that a round of snow gaga could be quite fun.  A simple game, yet entertaining for hours I am told.

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What can be learned from Gaga?  If we sit and think about it there are many things that could be considered.  However, first and foremost, fun is the focus. Often we think about how to relate character values throughout all that we do, so it would be easy to talk about respect (by including all campers in the game in a way they can participate), responsibility for the rules so that no one gets hit in the face, caring so that everyone can play and for not injuring others with face hits.  But in the midst of the learning, we must ask: Is this fun?

Experiential learning is about helping campers discover what they are learning in a fun and hands-on way.  Gaga could very well provide this opportunity. Whether campers and staff end up muddy, sandy, or covered with something green; the goal is fun. They may not be able to play it during Horse Camp instructional time, but they can join in the fun at another time.  They work in teams and they work alone.  They run, jump and scramble.  In the end they are smiling and joking with friends that they didn’t know they had.

So what does this game have to do with Summer Camp?  We invite you to come and find out! Registrations are still open for campers to join us.  Families are invited to stay in the Stone Family cabins and join in our activities while you are here.  Even the mudpit tube is open.  We hope to see you soon!

And remember Horse Camps are happening all summer long too!

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