Who are our campers?
In 2021 exactly 50 percent of Walden campers resided in Michigan. The other half live in states as close as Ohio and Illinois and as far as Alaska and California. We have international campers, too!
What type of accreditation does the camp have?
For half a century, Walden has also been an accredited member of the American Camp Association. The ACA’s rigorous certification process forces us to re-evaluate our programs and procedures, making certain that we are operating according to the “best practices” in the camping field.
What training do counselors receive?
The counseling and support staff participate in an eight-day orientation led by the directors, senior staff and visiting professionals. In addition, staff are required to complete several hours of online-training workshops prior to their arrival. Topics include safety/emergency procedures, positive behavior-management techniques, coaching/teaching skills, inclusion, homesickness, and hygiene.
How does the camp handle food allergies?
Walden is a peanut-free/tree nut-free camp and works with campers who have allergies to a wide range of foods. Additionally, our kitchen has years of experience with special dietary requirements, including lactose intolerance and Celiac disease. We serve a vegetarian option with every meat meal and offer a salad bar with vegan proteins (tofu, beans) at lunch and dinner.
How are behavioral problems handled?
Our job is to help campers learn from, and accept responsibility for, inappropriate words and actions. This requires clearly defined acceptable behaviors, staff trained to react constructively, and consequences meted out swiftly and fairly. Walden’s on-site social workers partner with senior staff and counselors, meeting daily to discuss individual camper concerns. Early in their stay, campers complete formal, private evaluations of their experience, which also helps us identify potential problems.
Does the camp post pictures online?
Yes, pictures of daily life at camp are posted in the CampInTouch gallery and on the Campanion app. The latter offers the convenience of facial recognition.
How can I communicate with my camper?
Friends and family can send letters—no packages, please!—through the mail. You may also purchase “camp stamps” for yourself, family and friends in CampInTouch to send email. Our office staff print and sort emails, which are stapled closed for privacy and delivered with the regular mail at Punch & Cookies.
How can my child communicate with me?
Campers write letters home and deposit those letters in the camp mailbox. Our office staff deliver the letters to the Cheboygan post office daily. Walden does not offer campers the opportunity to call home. Only if a child has a birthday while at camp can he/she/they arrange for a call from home. Of course, if a situation should arise in which we believe you should be contacted, the directors will call you.
How does the camp deal with homesickness?
Most campers—more than 80 percent, according to studies—deal with feelings of homesickness. Getting busy and making friends are the best ways to conquer these normal but powerful emotions. Counselors are trained to empathize with camper feelings, share their own experiences, and offer encouragement. We strongly recommend discussing coping strategies for homesickness with your camper, as well as asking us about other resources.