Woodward

Woodward Camp feels like home to me. This year I was here all of June. I left for the X-Games, hurt my shoulder, and thanks to Dr. Chow and Scott Rogow at Oasis Sports Clinic had surgery in San Diego. Afterward, I flew back to Woodward to rehab it. I’ve been coming here so long, the owners, their families, and all the staff feel like family to me. I’ve been here since the first year they added the skatecamp to the gymnastic camp, and it scares me to think I was here the year it almost ended.

Back in ’90 or ’91, I was a visiting amateur, staying for two weeks. The camp directors asked me if I wanted to help council for one week, so I agreed. Counseling is easy, I thought. You sleep in a cabin with ten or twelve kids, make sure they don’t smoke cigarettes, sneak out, or steal from one another. Basically, you just act like a big brother.

It was Friday, the last day of camp. Kids are always anxious the night before they leave. They stay up all night talking about the tricks they learned, or the gymnast girl they met, or whatever.

Lights were out at about 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. All of my kids were talking, but being pretty mellow. About 3:00 a.m., the kids in cabin 18B, which was next door to us, started knocking on the wall. So, naturally, the kids in my cabin knocked back. This went on for about ten minutes. Then, suddenly it stopped, our door flew open, and out of nowhere came a kamikaze camper with a spray bottle full of water, and he sprayed about eight of my men still in their beds. As he ran back to his cabin, I declared, “This is war!”

I gathered my troops. Moral was low, as we just got hit with our butts hanging in the wind and didn’t see it coming. I got three guys, and we each filled a bucket with water. The plan was to hit the enemy with twice as much force as they hit us. We looked out the door: total darkness, not a sound. As we snuck up to their door, we could hear them still rejoicing over their successful mission-all laughing as their recon soldier bragged of his daring feat.

The last laugh was ours, as we flung open their door and hit them with four buckets of water; they didn’t even know where it came from. Four guys dressed in all black like Navy Seals, concealed in total darkness. We were in and out in eight seconds flat.

When we arrived back in our cabin, the troops were anxious to hear about our mission. It went off without a hitch, but they would be back. Every smart commander knows the strategy of war is to hit your enemy before he hits you-when he least expects it. Destroy his moral and confidence (which we already did), and he will eventually surrender or just be plain beat.

Knowing this full well, I gathered all of my troops shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and any other toiletries imaginable, and we squirted them into a five-gallon bucket full of water. We mixed it up, and were ready for phase two.

A counter attack was imminent, it was only a matter of time. I instructed my men that the leftover shaving cream and whatnot be saved for hand-to-hand combat, and that they were to remain in the cabin until our recon team hit the enemy first.

The two biggest guys in the my cabin and I ran out the door and circled around the back of our cabin. They gave me a foot up onto the roof, then passed up the bucket. I tiptoed up one side of the roof and down the other. As my men scurried back, I waited perched over the enemy’s door in the cold dark night for ten minutes.

As we had expected, their door slowly opened. One by one, they started peeping their heads out. I kept my cool until I had three in my sight. Just as they readied themselves for a pre-dawn attack-I hit. Wanting to see the looks in their eyes as I dealt them their final dose, I yelled, “Hey!” They froze in their tracks and looked straight up. Bombs away. Bull’s eye, dead on, all three. They let out a battle cry of, “They’re on the roof.” All of sudden every man in both cabins filed out for hand-to-hand combat. Imagine tnty kids warring with shaving cream, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner. This battle lasted only about 45 seconds, until, from my vantage point on the roof, I began to see the grand scheme of things.

We had obliterated the decks of the cabins, and the fronts of them as well. This was a war zone. I gave the order of “cease fire” and immediately commanded both sides to begin clean-up, before anyone else in camp got wind of it. This was no small task. We had to wash the decks down for two hours just to get the foam from the shampoo and conditioner to go away. We finished about 5:30 a.m.

The next morning the kids from 18B and C looked like zombies from lack of sleep. They had fought a war and cleaned up the battlefield.

Looking back on that great battle, I now realize it could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, being that the skate program had just been added to an already successful gymnastics camp of 25 years. Eight years later, I am certain it’s here to stay, shampoo wars or not. Ed and Gary (the owners) truly love this camp. Woodward prides itself on the fact that there is no skate camp bigger or better, and it has expanded every year for eleven years straight.

In closing, I’d like to say thanks to Ed and Gary and their families for the years of fun and all the memories. I would also like to give a final salute to all boys of 18C. You fought a brave war that will not be soon forgotten.-Mike Frazier

Paul Zitzer

Dear Mom,

Hello from Camp Woodward. I’m having a good time. The food isn’t the best, but that’s okay. Today, I got a free set of wheels from Mike Frazier for learning how to drop in on the halfpipe. My friend Billy broke his arm and had to get shipped back home, but I’ve made new friends already, so everything’s cool.

Last night, I snuck out of my cabin after everyone was asleep, and I went to State College with some of my instructors. We went to a bar downtown, I got in with this older kid’s ID. It was cool. Some crazy guy named Johnny got super wasted and started smashing bottles. We got kicked out of the bar and had to go back to camp. When we got there, Johnny picked up a mountain bike and threw it off a second-story balcony. It smashed to bits, and we all had a good laugh over it. Soon after that, Crazy Johnny realized he had messed up pretty badly, because the bike belonged to this super built gymnast girl named Helga. Johnny thought she would either get him kicked out of camp or give him a serious beating. He didn’t like either option.

We decided to try to come up with a plan to help Johnny out. Since everybody was lit up, our ideas weren’t so good. Some of us thought he should throw the bike in the lake and nobody would be the wiser. Others thought Crazy Johnny should jump off the balcony and claim he was hurt just as badly as the bike; maybe people would overlook the damages to the bike. He was seriously considering this option. He is crazy. While we were talking about Johnny’s options, one of Helga’s friends who had been out with us came into the room and spoiled it. She couldn’t be trusted. We told Johnny he had to go in and fess up to Helga right then and there. We realized it was 5:00 a.m, and that maybe it was a little late (or early) for that. We stayed up until the sun came up, laughing at Johnny’s predicament.

“Man, this is all I got,” Johnny was saying. “I can’t lose this job, I’ll be back in Alabama painting fences for the rest of my life if I lose this.” At that point, I had to get back to my cabin before my counselor woke up and realized I was missing, or else I would get kicked out, too.

Well, to make a long story short, I saw Johnny the next day wandering around like a zombie with a buckled rim and tire in his hands, muttering, “What have I done? What have I done?” I found out later that he got the bike fixed for just under 200 dollars, Helga didn’t smash him, but Helga’s boyfriend Robby has it in for Crazy Johnny. He’s still sweatin’.

Well, I gotta go. See you soon.

Love, Timmy

Where would you expect the biggest skate camp in the world to be located? Just outside of some big city? Everything you could possibly need would be right there. Well, if you decide to build your camp away from any metropolitan area, I suggest you do as Woodward has and build your own little city. And build your own little family, while you’re at it.

I have come to this camp eight of the last nine summers. It has become a yearly pilgrimage not only for me, but for many. The staff has really become quite a tight unit.

I have also seen a fair amount of campers come back and move on to being counselors, sponsored ams, and even a few professional skateboarders. I don’t know if camp really helped them progress, but it couldn’t have hurt. Imagine the best skatepark you have ever seen and multiply that by four. That’s Woodward. By next year, it could be five or six. To this huge skatepark with its no-stress environment add some of the coolest people and best scenery you’ve ever known, and you’ll see why people keep coming back.

I have endured some of the best times and some of the worst times at this place. With all that under consideration, I can not think of a better place to spend the summer. I suggest everyone pay a visit. Thank you, Woodward.-Brian Howard There are hundreds of stories I could tell about Woodward. But I won’t because that’s all they are-stories. Camp stories are intricate inside jokes; they often sound exaggerated, and sometimes border on unbelievable.

It’s not until you actually experience camp and become a part of the madness that is Woodward that you might be able to understand how true they are.-Ryan Wilburn

ta go. See you soon.

Love, Timmy

Where would you expect the biggest skate camp in the world to be located? Just outside of some big city? Everything you could possibly need would be right there. Well, if you decide to build your camp away from any metropolitan area, I suggest you do as Woodward has and build your own little city. And build your own little family, while you’re at it.

I have come to this camp eight of the last nine summers. It has become a yearly pilgrimage not only for me, but for many. The staff has really become quite a tight unit.

I have also seen a fair amount of campers come back and move on to being counselors, sponsored ams, and even a few professional skateboarders. I don’t know if camp really helped them progress, but it couldn’t have hurt. Imagine the best skatepark you have ever seen and multiply that by four. That’s Woodward. By next year, it could be five or six. To this huge skatepark with its no-stress environment add some of the coolest people and best scenery you’ve ever known, and you’ll see why people keep coming back.

I have endured some of the best times and some of the worst times at this place. With all that under consideration, I can not think of a better place to spend the summer. I suggest everyone pay a visit. Thank you, Woodward.-Brian Howard There are hundreds of stories I could tell about Woodward. But I won’t because that’s all they are-stories. Camp stories are intricate inside jokes; they often sound exaggerated, and sometimes border on unbelievable.

It’s not until you actually experience camp and become a part of the madness that is Woodward that you might be able to understand how true they are.-Ryan Wilburn