Woodward West – The Time We Left Our Kid There

Art Park Woodward West

Anyone that grew up skateboarding in the last 40 years has heard of Camp Woodward. Many young skater kids (myself included) spent their childhoods dreaming of spending a week at summer camp. I personally didn’t make it to Woodward until I was in my 30’s. That first trip to Woodward was for a weekend getaway with my daughter at Woodward, PA. And to this day it is one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever taken. So, when the opportunity came up to send our daughter to camp at Woodward West for a week we jumped on it. If spending just a weekend at Woodward left such a lasting memory, just imagine what an entire week will do. Addison was only eight when she arrived at Woodward West, but seemed to be more prepared for the time alone than Mom and Dad.

Arriving at Woodward West

Woodward West Sign

After weeks of talking about this moment, and a four hour drive to get to this moment, the time had arrived. We had made it to Woodward West. The place we would drop off our eight year old daughter to spend a week with people we’ve never met. Complete strangers would be responsible for our child. A child that to this point in her life hadn’t even had a sleepover at a friends house. Oh my god, what are we doing? Put her in the car now and don’t bring her back until she’s a teenager and can take care of herself. No wait, when she’s a teenager she’ll be even more into boys and you’re leaving her alone at camp with them…….

Okay stop, take a deep breath. Woodward has been doing this forever and kids have went before we decided to leave ours for a week. Plus, look around you. There’s all these other parents leaving their children and they look happy. Most of the families don’t look worried, and Addison has been smiling since we started driving this morning. As we wait in line to check in, and we observe the staff and other kids, we start to feel at ease. We realize it’s our job to worry, but it’s also our job to make sure Addison doesn’t. The most important thing for this week is that Addison has the time of her life. We don’t want her missing home when she should be focused on skating and making friends. So as parents, we hid any fear we had and waited in line to check our daughter into summer skate camp at Woodward West.

Home At Woodward West

Woodward West Mini Cabin

After a smooth check-in we made our way to Addison’s assigned cabin. For kids that are 7-9 years old, Woodward has what they call mini cabins. They’re normal sized cabins, but are meant for the younger kids. Instead of a camp counselor, the mini cabins have a cabin Mom that stays with them. For the week Addison was at Camp there were only four other girls in her cabin, so each girl got their own bunk bed and dresser. Normally there are up to 14 girls sharing the same cabin.

When we got to Addison’s cabin we got to meet and spend some time with the cabin Mom. She would be spending the next week with our daughter, so it was important to us that we had this opportunity. We also took the time to set up Addison’s bunk. We hung some colorful string lights, got her clothes put away, and really tried to make it a comfortable home for the next week.

Time To Take A Tour

Woodward West Tour with AddisonBoards

After getting the cabin setup and meeting the cabin mom, we still weren’t ready to leave. There were two other skater girls in her cabin that hadn’t arrived yet, so we didn’t want to leave before Addison had some new friends to hang out with. Instead of sitting in the cabin we decided to see what Woodward West had to offer. It’s a really large and awesome facility with skateparks both indoors and out. There is really only one indoor facility for skateboarding, but the building is so massive it doesn’t feel like just one park. Actually, it’s broken up so well it feels like there are four or five skateparks just in this one building. No matter what skill level your kids are, Woodward West will have something fun for them to skate.

It’s time To Leave

After taking a tour of camp we went back to the cabin where Addison got to meet another skater girl she’d be roommates with for the next week. Within 10 minutes of knowing each other they were already off to hang out at the pool together. At this point we were left alone and realized it was time to stop stalling the inevitable. We had to leave, and with Addison meeting a friend it made it a little easier for us. After some big hugs we were on our way out the gates of Woodward for our long four hour drive home. Leaving Addison for a week is one of the hardest things we’ve done as parents, but seeing the joy on her face made it more than worth it.

Hopefully this makes the Woodward drop off a little easier for other camp parents. If you’re thinking of sending your kids to Woodward and have any questions at all about our experience as Woodward parents please reach out to us. Or if you want to share your Woodward experience feel free to leave it in the comments below.

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