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Daily Update

That’s right, a daily update almost every day that camp is in session!

8.12.2017  Where Did Everyone Go?

It has been a couple of busy days at Walden…final regular activities, Splash Night, packing, signing Splashes, Banquet Awards and then early morning trips home.

Where has the summer gone? How did it get so quiet at Walden so quickly? One minute campers were happily running and singing around camp and the next minute they were gone. No more Yoo hoo, no more bells, no more EA’s, no more activities, no more mail, no more trips…at least for the summer of 2017. We had a great time…so many wonderful memories, thank you! We are excited for 2018!

8.9.2015   Another Year, Another Counselor Show

As I sit in my office this morning the memories and sounds of Counselor Show are everywhere.    The Show was fondly titled “The Case of the Magical Misprint” in sync with Bunk 12’s summer theme the Detectives and their misprinted uniforms. Yesterday began with the announcement that the Counselor Show would actually take place. Our clever staff hide the announcement on the bottom of Baby James’ feet.  Bunk 12 spent most of breakfast following the clues of a treasure hunt which led them to his feet.  Once found the show could then go on!

Marathon, the final Team Sports competition, followed next. The event was full of spirit and team work. In the end we learned that the Brown Team had won Team Sports for 2017.  Fresh baked cookies celebrated a summer of competition and team work.  We all shouted a big EAO!

In the afternoon there was fun in the Grove with Bunk 10. The girls in Bunk 10 did a spectacular job hanging out with our younger campers.  They taught them songs, initiated a water balloon fight and then everyone watched a movie.

After a delicious dinner in the Dining Room we headed to the HHC, singing our Bunk Show songs, for a terrific Counselor Show. I knew that our staff was filled with talented young people who love the girls at Walden. Tonight I learned that they can also sing, dance and be very silly. What a treat!

8.7.207 P & E (snap, snap) P & E (snap, snap.)

You plan the fun at night to make our summer bright, Denmark Fair and more, there’s so much fun in store.  P & E (snap, snap) P & E (snap, snap.)

Yes, last evening P & E out did themselves and planned the best Denmark Fair ever!  The theme was “Under the Sea” and included the traditional booths, an inflatable obstacle course, an inflatable disco bounce house, a dunk tank, prizes and raffles.  We enjoyed popcorn, cotton candy and fudge.  Fun the Walden Way, exactly how we love it!  We are delighted that the proceeds from the Fair will be donate to The Main Idea providing girls less fortunate than us the opportunity to enjoy Camp Walden!

The Fair was followed by an amazing singing and a cake walk.  7 cakes are being devoured in the bunks today at Rest Hour.  This morning 22 campers swam to Counselor Rock, 50 plus campers rode in the Denmark Fair Horseshow and we all enjoyed Lobster Lunch (so much singing and cheering!)  This afternoon the girls will participate in regular activities and tonight is Final Campfire.   EAO!

8.4.2017  Tetherball in the morning…tetherball before lunch…tetherball after lunch…

If there were an Olympic or World Cup competition for Tetherball I am sure that the Walden Team would win…hands down.  Walden girls, especially campers in Bunks 1-5, play Tetherball every chance that they can.  Some mornings right after Yoo Hoo (the morning wake up at 7:30 am) girls run out of their bunks, fully dressed and begin to play Tetherball.  Even tonight, with Bunks 1-5 in the HHC rehearsing their Bunk Show, there are campers playing Tetherball while they wait for the start of evening activity.

What does this all mean?  Why do we love to play it so much?  Tetherball is a game of skill.  It requires eye hand coordination, strength and agility. It also requires patience as the line for a turn to play can be 10 campers deep.  It can also be dangerous.  Jammed fingers and the ball to the face are common injuries.  Yet, we continue to play day after day after day after day.  EA Tetherball!

7.31.2017 What Makes Walden Special?

Is it Walden’s great program where campers learn skills and participate in activities they may only get to do while they are at camp?  Is it Walden’s extensive wilderness trip program where campers experience nature and camping first hand?  Is it Walden’s many special events and evening activities which are planned and run by our campers?  Is it the Walden traditions that have been around for 102 years?  Is it the weekly Bunk Shows?

Walden is special because of all of these reasons and most importantly Walden is special because of the GIRLS (of course!)  Walden is a community of girls and women who care for and support each other.  They continue the Walden traditions and they are our insurance that Walden will forever be here.

In these last few weeks of camp each and everyone of us are taking the time to enjoy the little things at camp, our friends, our activities, the smell of pine, the rain and the sun.  Camp only comes around once a year and we want it to last all year!

7.30.2017  Carnival at Camp Wigwam

The weather has been perfect, cool nights with warm sunny days, and the forecast looks to be the same for the coming week!  Last night we enjoyed another great Bunk Show (thanks Bunk 10.) This morning many of us slept late and then we all attended a camp meeting and watersports…such is our busy life at Walden.

This afternoon the entire camp will be traveling by yellow school bus and camp vans to Camp Wigwam for a very special Carnival.  Many of the campers thought it was the Bunk 5 Trick, NOT!    It is always so much fun!  The boys (including some of our bothers) are wonderful hosts as we enjoy laser tag, jump in the moon bounce, cover ourselves in tatoos, eat cotton candy and much more… EAO!

7.27.2017 Pure Happiness and Joy!

Everyday we eat 3 meals as a camp family in the Walden Dining Room.    We enter the dining room, find our seats (table assignments change every week,) sing grace, sit, and then the counselors bring our food to the table.  During each meal campers and staff sing, they clap, they talk to each other and they smile and hug each other.  We celebrate our accomplishments, we fill our bellies with plentiful and delicious food without the distraction of electronic devices, books, or TVs.  The only music we hear is our own singing.  3 times a day, 7 days a week for 7 weeks!  Pure happiness and joy we hope happens in your life with your family!

7.24.2017  Thank You, We Loved Having You Visit!

To all of our Walden families, thank you for visiting, we loved sharing Walden with you!  We trust that you had a safe trip home.  We loved sharing Walden with you and especially enjoyed the sisters who stayed with us on Friday and Saturday nights. It is hard to believe that Visiting Day 2017 has come and gone.

After a few tearful good-byes we have quickly returned to our camp routine, Picnic Supper, the Bunk 12/Staff Talent Show, trips, activities, movie night…we can feel and hear a renewed sense of energy and community at Walden.   After a rainy Monday the forecast for the remainder of the week promises improving weather.  EAO!

These next 3 weeks will be filled with pleasure trips, throwing counselors into the Lake, Denmark Fair, Horse Shows, Inter-camp competitions, a Carnival at Camp Wigwam, finishing projects in Arts & Crafts, passing levels in lots of activities, Splash Night, swimming to Counselor Rock, Lobster Lunch, and Final Banquet.  So much to look forward to!

7.20.2017 Our Mom’s and Dad’s Are Coming…

On the surface today is just a regular day at Walden.  Campers have returned from their trips, activities are running as usual…what is not regular is a sense of excitement as we anticipate our parents’ visit this weekend.  Where we might have walked yesterday, we are running today.  Where we might have sung yesterday we are yelling.  We are so excited to share Walden with you!  We are not sure we will be able to sleep tonight and we are sure that we will not eat breakfast!

We know that you are also excited to see us, to meet our friends (and their families,) meet our counselors and spend the day with us at Walden!  We are all going to try to walk slowly this weekend, give each other lots of hugs, and enjoy every minute of our visit.  When the day is done, and that moment will come at around 4pm, we will remember that the best of camp is left to enjoy and that we will see each other again in less than 3 weeks.

Safe travels and we look forward to seeing all of our moms and dads this weekend!

7.19.2017  There is Nothing Like a Swim at the End of a Hot Day!

And that is exactly what Bunks 1-5 did tonight  Their counselors joined them for an evening swim.  They played, they went down the slide, they giggled and they laughed.  Just like a bath in a huge tub with a beautiful sunset at the end of a busy day.  We had so much fun!  Now they are back in their bunks changing into their pajamas before they return to the Main House for Milk Line (freshly baked cookies and milk.)  I know some little Waldenites who are going to sleep very well tonight!

7.17.2017  We Have Had A Lot of Fun Today, Yesterday and Saturday!

On Saturday we celebrated our first Annual Alumni Day.  Waldenites were invited to join us for lunch in the Dining Room, a swim in the Lake, Watersports, Picnic Supper and Campfire.  It was wonderful to welcome back a small group of alumni who enjoyed all of these activities as well as a tour of the Camp Walden Museum and some time to reflect on the Main House Porch.  We all enjoyed having them here and look forward to next summer’s Alumni Day on Saturday, July 14th, 2108!

Yesterday our brothers joined us for lunch and a swim.  We loved sharing Walden with them and introducing them to our camp friends.  One camper asked me why her parents would be visiting for a full day but her brothers only visited for 3 hours?  Interesting question don’t you think?  We ended the day with Bunk 12’s Bunk Show…they sure can sing!

Today we hosted the 69th annual Inter-camp Tennis Tournament with Camp Pinecliffe, Camp Fernwood and Tripp Lake Camp.  It was a beautiful day and thanks to the hard work and dedication of our tennis staff, especially Jeff and Coach, the Tournament was a huge success.  Walden played hard but in the end Pinecliffe won the tournament.  Thanks to everyone who joined us for this amazing day and for the Walden campers who cheered on their bunkmates and friends.  EAO!

7.13.2017 And Rains Some More…

The crazy Maine summer weather continued today.  Cool temps and rain made wearing lots of layers, staying active, or sitting in the living room where the fire was roaring, important for a fun day.  Camp activities continued all day, but not in the usual way.  Swim instruction was conducted on the beach and took the form of dramatic readings by the staff and yoga on towels.  Waterski was a boat tour of Walden Pond and dodge ball in the ARC.  Bunk 12 continued to rehearse their Bunk Show, younger campers participated in intensive tennis while older campers continued to practice for next Monday’s Inter-Camp Competition with Camps Fernwood, Tripp Lake and Pinecliff.  Riders headed to the trails around camp and artist created beautful wooden pendants.

Tonight is TV skit night, a favorite evening activity.  You may enjoy the skits but it is the costumes that I like best.  All and all another great day at Walden.  A little rain and cold weather never stopped us!

7.12.2017 “What Do You Do At Walden When It Rains?”

This summer, after a week of afternoon showers , we have enjoyed amazing and beautiful days.  Today, just at the beginning of the afternoon activities it rained.  As has been true in the past few summers, when it rains it pours (last Saturday it rained so much that I began to calculate what it might take for us to build and ARK (only kidding!)

Many families ask me, “What do you do on a rainy day at camp?”  We wait a few minutes and the sun comes out, as it did today, and the girls attend their regular activities…swim, sail, paddle board, canoe, create in arts and crafts, play kickball, play tennis, climb the wall and rehearse the Bunk Show.  If the rain continues the girls head to the Arc, the Barn and the Living Room to learn tennis rules,  care for the horses, play board games in the Living Room and play dodge ball and dance ZUMBA in the ARK!

The next few days we should have more afternoon showers but then clear and cooler days with 0% chance of rain return!  Until then we are happy to wait a few minutes and to just keep going!

7.10.2017  Phone Calls

I need and please send…I miss you…oh and yes I am having the time of my life!  Sound familiar?  Everyone, including campers and parents, look forward to their 10 minute phone call during the 3rd week of camp, or do they?  After communicating by letters and emails for 2 weeks there is so much to say and share but you only have 10 minutes.  I would like to offer a few suggestions…

1.  Ask your daughter how she is and let her tell you everything.

2.  As much as you miss her tell her you love her but don’t tell her you miss her (unless you want her to cry.)  Remember you are going to see her next weekend!

3.  If she asks you what is going on at home consider telling her how boring your home routine has been this summer.  You don’t want her to thinking she is missing lots at home (again unless you want her to cry.)

4.  Consider ending the call with a joke or a funny story.  We love laughing and a smile!

Campsisters and staff are here to scoop up the girls after their calls.  Good luck and remember the call will only last 10 minutes so everyone can call home!

7.9.2017 Sunday, a very, very special day!

Today, Sunday, we had a Sleep Late. For me that means a large cup of coffee in the Lodge, a peak at the Sunday New York Times and then up to the Main House.  At 8:30 am I ring a light bell that lets the girls who are awake know it is time for them to come over to the Main House in their PJ’s to read, play games and chill with friends!  It is a great time to catch up with the girls and this morning everyone was in great spirits.  It is fun to hear about what is on their minds- they always have great questions-and I love admiring their fun slippers.

Breakfast (Schneken and Bacon) and Inspection are then followed by Camp Meeting, another favorite of mine.  I love that the entire camp fits into the Rec Porch.  I also enjoy singing with the girls and watching on as our council president and her assistant discuss the Honor System with the entire camp.  This week the conversation was about being a good friend.

Sunday lunch is another favorite of mine, Turkey lunch with all the fixings…roasted Turkey Breast, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce.

Sunday afternoon is always Water Sports and today it was a perfect day to be down at Swim Beach, sunny and warm with a slight breeze.  The teams singing and cheering at the Beach could be heard all over camp.  Music to our ears.

Dinner is Picnic Supper: hot dogs and hamburgers (veggie too) on the Landsports Fields followed by ice-cream from the Ice Cream Truck.  Then our weekly Campfire lead by the Bunk 12 Song Leaders.  Now I do love the singing and the view of the lake and sunset, but it is the girls who make my night.  Yes, the Walden Campers.  They were arm and arm, in each other’s laps, sharing song books and singing their hearts out.  Even the not so new anymore campers.  These are precious moments.  The moments we remember all winter and try to explain to our family and friends. Walden is a very, very, special place!

7.6.2017 As Good As It Gets!

During the first week of camp almost everyday ended with thunderstorm.  The weather was wet enough or the thunder was close enough to  send us for cover.  We wondered if the rain would ever stop.  On Saturday evening, just as we were ending dinner, it began to rain buckets of water.  The harder it rained the louder we sang and the rain just kept coming down.  We all felt damp and again we wondered if the rain would ever stop.  Overnight the rain did finally stop and the air changed becoming much dryer. Since then we have enjoyed a number of perfect Maine summer days, warm and dry during the day (perfect for enjoying all of our activities and trips,) and cool and dry at night (perfect for sleeping!)  We are grateful for all of these beautiful days and those rainy days are now a distant memory.  May the sun continue to shine over Walden.  EAO!

7.5.2017 Bedtime…

One of my favorite traditions at Walden is our evening routine.  It happens every evening and it is important to all of us as we unwind from our busy camp day.  The routine goes like this…immediately following an all camp evening activity, which is planned and run by some of the oldest girls at camp, the campers and staff enjoy freshly baked cookies (gluten free and dairy free as well) and cold milk (lactaid and soy milk as well.) The girls then head back to their bunks to get ready for bed with their Campsisters and Secondmates.  The warning bell rings at 8:45 and at that moment you can hear the older campers saying to their Campsisters and Secondmates “big hug, sleep well, I love you.”  Now it is the bunk staffs’ turn to help their campers get ready for bed and the older campers return to their own bunks.  In bunks 1 through 8 staff use this time to read aloud to their campers, a lovely tradition that helps the girls unwind that I am glad still exists at camp. At 9 pm the Taps bell rings and the oldest campers sing a few beautiful songs in the middle of the bunk area, the Grove, signifying that the day has ended.  Everyone in the Grove can hear them singing.  As everyone quiets down and the singing ends the oldest campers shout “Good night Camp Walden, we love you!”  Campers around the Grove reply, “Good night Bunk 12, we love you!”

And so another Camp Walden day, a beautiful cool and sunny day, ends!

7.3.2017  July 4th on the 2nd!

Yesterday was a day of special events and cheering. It began with our 4th of July celebration…flag raising, the singing of the national anthem, the Bunk 9 skit (they were very funny and cute) and then the big softball game, Bunk 12 and Men’s Bunk against the Bunk Counselors. The Bunk Counselors put up a valiant effort with the support and cheering of the entire camp.  The game was close until the last inning when the counselors effort to come back fell short.  Bunk 12 continued their winning streak.

Turkey lunch was followed by Rest Hour, Water Sports. and Songfest. I sang this year’s version of Laugh it Off, a song we write each summer that reminds us of all the fun we have had that we just need to laugh off, and Bunk 12 revealed their Campfire Song to a big EAO.

And now, with the first week of traditions and practice hikes behind us, it is wonderful to settle into the routine of camp… yoo hoo, meals, trips, activities, singing, candy line…and just chillin’ with friends! Even the weather has turned beautifully summery.  The often still Walden Pond had a nice wind this afternoon testing the skills of our sailors, canoers and swimmers.

With routine there has also come a sense of connection and belonging. Feelings and tears of missing home have turned to feelings of happiness and new friendships. New Staff are feeling more comfortable with their understanding of Walden traditions.  I am always amazed how much we manage to pack into each day at camp and how wonderful it is to get into bed and listen to the loons sing amidst the gentle wind as we fall asleep.

Sleep well you Waldenites!

7.1.2017  Saturday Night When It Gets Dark-The Bunk Show Starts!

“Excitement shows on every face-The Ark’s the place, (HHC). Grab a seat, stomp your feet, Bring your tie with pins piled high, House lights dim and music begins, We had a cry, we had a laugh, Thanks Bunk and staff!”

EAO Bunk 6,7,8, I thought I was at the Broadway version of Willie Wonka…you were amazing! EAO to the HHC Staff…the sets, the costumes, the dancing and singing…all were terrific. THANK YOU!

Each week, as is tradition at Camp Walden, the girls who are not in the show dress in Walden finest, including their orange tie, and head to the HHC to enjoy a musical, this week Willie Wonka.  During spend Rest Hour and Shower Hour they create notes and signs of EAO (congratulations,) also known as Bunk Show Notes, for the girls in the Bunk Show. At the end of the performance all of the campers in the audience rush the stage armed with Bunk Show Notes and hugs. This is a wonderfully special moment for all of us but especially for the girls in the show. Tonight was no exception and I know that the girls in Bunk 6,7,8 will be reading and cherishing their memories of the show and their Bunk Show Notes.

6.30.2017 Even if the skies are gray we are going to have a lot of fun today…

The skies have been gray and it has been raining but we are still having lots of fun!  Activities have continued with a few interruptions for a down pour or a thunderstorm.  Between showers (and sometimes during a rain) we have been learning to sail, ski, canoe and swim.  We have been participating in intensive tennis, riding, playing sports and climbing the wall.  We have also been creative in arts & crafts building clay pots, drawing and painting.  Bunk 6,7,8 has spent the week rehearsing their Bunk Show, Willy Wonka, and tonight is their dress rehearsal.  It has also been a week of practice hikes.  Bunks 9, 10, 11, and 12 have all gone on their practice hikes getting their legs ready for their climbing trips in two weeks.  All and all a busy week with lots of first for everyone.

I hope that many of you have received your first, and maybe your second letter, from your daughter(s).  Remember that it can take anywhere from 3 to 7 days for a letter to arrive at home from camp and a lot can happen in that time. So, if your daughter writes a letter that sounds like she is not having the perfect summer (we all have bad days) wait a day or two because you will probably receive a letter telling you that she is having the best summer of her life!  Remember too that we like to receive letters, (and the email ones do not count as “real mail,”) so please keep sending those letters and postcards! 🙂

6.28.2017  Ick, Ick, Ick…Happy Birthday!

I am happy to report that I have the sweetest job on earth!  Every time we celebrate a camper or a staff member’s birthday I get to eat a piece of their birthday cake.  So sweet!

At Walden it is our tradition to make birthdays very special.  Every birthday girl brings her birthday cake to me once she has blown out her birthday candles.  I am so lucky to be the first one to wish her a very special Walden Birthday and then I cut her a huge piece of cake (the center circle for her) and take a small piece of cake for me.  (I think Ms. Herz, Blanch or Clara must have loved birthday cake!)   Really, I am not complaining, as I also love birthday cake and I love the tradition even more.  I am honored to have a special birthday moment with each camper and staff member. What is the rest of the camp doing while we are cutting and eating cake?  They are singing many Walden Birthday songs.  The rest of camp is doing what Waldenites love to do, eat cake and sing!

6.26.2017  RAID!!!

Each summer during Charlottesville, the Bunk 12 spring retreat, the campers in Bunk 12 write a fight song that they will sing when they play softball against the Bunk Staff on the day that we celebrate July 4th (Sunday, July 2nd this summer.)  For now they have hidden the fight song in a top secret place in their bunk.  Beginning at dinner today the Bunk Staff tried to find the fight song by “Raiding” the Bunk 12 Bunk.

Now what is really happening is that all through dinner a few of our more competitive staff run out of the Dining Room, Bunk 12 yelled “RAID” and then Bunk 12 ran after the staff saoking them with water guns.  It is a bit like an episode of the Three Stooges!  Staff and campers running to the nearest exit yelling RAID!  The rest of us continue to enjoy our meal and each others’ company.  Ah RAIDS!!!

6.25.2017  Snake Line

Tradition has it that at some point during the first weekend of camp whose going on what trips, campers and staff, during the first week es announced.  This tradition is called Snake Line.  The girls create a line beginning with Bunk 12 (the oldest campers) and ending with our youngest campers (Bunk 1,2) and they snake their way from the front of the Main House, through the Grove, and back to the front of the Main House and then into the Rec Porch holding hands all the while.  They sing trip songs while they walk and then form a huge layered circle in the Rec Porch where I announce the first trips.  This is so much fun and the girls love hearing about who they will be going on these first trips with and when they will be going.  There are wonderful photographs of today’s Snake line on your camp intouch portal at the photo link.

Otherwise today was a pretty routine Sunday at camp.  Lots of food traditions- Schneken for breakfast, roast turkey and the fixings for lunch and picnic supper (grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, vegetarian burgers and hot dogs, and portabello mushrooms) followed by a visit by the ice-cream truck.

The girls participated in 4 activities during the day and this evening was our first campfire.  Phew, a busy and fun day.  We are all so happy to be at Camp!

6.24.2017  Missing Home or Missing Your Daughter…

I can imagine that tonight you are missing your daughter and that you might be worried about what she is doing and how she is doing.  I am here to tell you that although we had a few tears yesterday, today we have had no tears!  Girls were busy getting to know each other, participating in activities and getting to know the counselors. I am pretty sure if your daughter was writing this blog she would say  “I miss you, I love you, and I AM DOING GREAT!

Really, all true!  Our returning staff (40% of last summer’s staff returned to Walden for this summer) Jen, Katie, Jenny, Alex and I know your daughters very well.  Together with our new staff we have spent 2 weeks preparing to give your daughter a summer she will remember all of her life.   We are going to work as a community to make sure that every Waldenite returns home in August with at least one close friend.  That they learn new skills in activities they already know and try lots of activities they have never tried, including spending time in the Maine and NH wildernesses.  Your daughter will learn to take care of herself (making her bed, feeding herself, and working through disagreements with friends.)  She will become a leader in our community and will learn to take responsibility for this leadership.  In short she will return home in August with lots of new skills, more confident and a leader.

In short, we love that you miss your daughter, she misses you too, and know that we are taking great care of her, we promise.

6.23.2017  Here we are, altogether, as we sing our song…

Another memorable summer begins today at Camp Walden. Can you believe it?  I hardly can!  EAO!

Buses, vans, and cars arrived last evening, this morning and this afternoon with happy and excited, new and returning, Walden campers (Waldenites.)  Their first stop was to have their photograph taken (this summer Campminder will be using facial recognition software to identify the girls in the photographs that we post on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.)  The girls then they had their heads checked for lice (we will call you if we found them), and then they met our nurses Sarah and Jane.  Once they had visited each of these stations the girls headed back to their bunks to meet their bunk mates, unpack their duffels and change into their Walden uniform.  It is wonderful to hear the happy sounds of girls in the Grove.  The girls have even begun to play tether ball which I can see from my office window.  I watched a Bunk 12er play tether ball with one of our new Bunk 3,4,5 campers.  So sweet!

Our first meal together in the dining room was spaghetti, meatballs and sauce, green beans and lots and lots of singing.  After dinner we headed to the HHC (our theater) where Bunk 12 revealed their theme:  the Detectives.     All new campers  met their Campsisters and all second year campers met their secondmates.  They say campsisters are for life!

What a wonderful day and I am looking forward to hearing the sound of taps, sung by our oldest campers, rise from the Grove in just a little while! Having everyone at camp is great and we are all looking forward to tomorrow and our first full day of camp activities.