Having assumed the reins of Walden from Liz’s parents, Larry and Ina Stevens, Scott and Liz came to the camping business with an insiders’ grasp of its challenges and rewards. Since 2006, they have sought to nourish camp values and traditions while modernizing Walden for today’s families.
Liz spent her first 22 summers at Walden as camper and staff. After graduating from the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, she embarked on a 16-year career in newspaper journalism. Scott, a native Texan, earned a BA and an MA in English before gaining his Master’s Degree in community-based Social Work in 1999 from the University of Texas.
Scott and Liz take great pride in running a camp that fosters kindness, empathy and respect for differences. During the off-season, the couple live in Fort Worth. Their son Max, a former camper, is a student at UT Austin.
Walden is fortunate to have a senior ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF that returns year after year. They are education professionals who have dedicated themselves to working with children as teachers and coaches. Their commitment to providing a positive camper experience is perhaps the most vital aspect of Walden’s success.
Legend has it that Robyn learned to crawl while a visitor to Walden–and then cried her entire first summer as a camper! Thirty years later, she practically runs the joint. Robyn makes sure that the days function smoothly, working closely with the unit programmers to develop Special Day and evening activities, while also overseeing staff duties, such as rounds and days off. During the school year, Robyn lives with husband Brian in West Bloomfield, MI, and is an award-winning teacher of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “CAPICHE?!”
Boz (rhymes with nose) started at Walden in 1981 as a tripper before assuming the reins of the waterfront. Her knowledge of Long Lake, of watercraft, and of cool sunglasses are invaluable assets. She oversees everything from kayaking to swim instruction and, not surprisingly, has the best tan on camp. Boz’s two dogs, Anders and Briggs, win the award for cutest pet couple on camp. Before retiring from her “real” job, Boz taught high school PE, including aquatics/water safety, in Napoleon, OH.
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “TO TARP OR NOT TO TARP? THAT IS THE QUESTION.”
A Walden icon since the 1980s, Neal is a professional children’s writer and cartoonist, whose award-winning work has appeared in numerous magazines and books. His poem “Baby Ate a Microchip” is included in 2013’s “Poems To Learn By Heart,” a compilation edited by Caroline Kennedy. At Walden, Neal creates the daily Walden Pond newspaper, filling its columns with his inimitable characters, along with camper stories, poems and artwork. Neal also dreams up the clues for our Phantom mysteries and hides the much sought-after Pictured Rock. No one can figure out why Neal wears only yellow t-shirts during the summer–not even Neal!
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “A STRANGE THING HAPPENED TO ME ON THE WAY TO BREAKFAST…”
Erika first came to Walden as an Arts & Crafts instructor in 2000, while a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After receiving her MA in Education from the University of Findlay (OH) in 2005, she taught both at the college level and as an elementary-school art teacher. In 2016 Erika returned to her beloved “art barn” in the woods, where she brings a joyous creative spirit and a professional educator’s eye to the Walden studios! In 2021 Erika founded Happy Camper Art Studio in Findlay.
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “DON’T RUN WITH SCISSORS!”
Peggy first arrived at Walden in 1978, spending six summers as a counselor and assistant athletics director. She returned to the Walden fold in 1995, bringing her inimitable energy and signature fanny pack (the contents of which can fix any logistical problem at camp!). A singer and guitarist, Peggy hosts the ever-popular “Night with Peggy” around the campfire, leading old and new camp songs, topped off by s’mores. The rest of the year she lives in Kansas City where she is a “retired” high-school PE/health teacher, still coaching and playing volleyball.
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “IT'S ALL GOOD.”
Karen started at Walden “30-some” years ago, around the same time as Spoddy, Nasa and Big Man. She has cared for generations of Walden horses as if they were her own (in fact, she took one of them back to Cincinnati with her this year!). Karen oversees Walden’s program of “on the flat” English-saddle riding at Walden, with a touch of Western thrown in, while adding fun extras like Pasture Parties and the Adopt-a-Horse dress-up contests. A retired 1st-grade teacher, Karen follows the Derby scene almost as closely as she does the comings and goings of the British royals.
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “RUN BACK TO YOUR CABIN AND CHANGE THOSE SHOES!”
Mike Retcher has held many titles at Walden since 2011—counselor, ski director and assistant waterfront director under his former teacher and mentor, Ann Boz Bosenbark. For the past four years, he has served as our exceptionally accommodating kitchen manager. At home in Napoleon, Ohio, Mike works as Assistant Athletic Director at Napoleon High School, and is closing in on a degree as a special education teacher. In his spare time (none), he's hiked more than 350 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
HIS FAVORITE THING TO PREPARE: “PLAIN NOODLES!”
Mark began his Walden career as a counselor in 1989. Now, he spends his summer days capturing the activities, antics and smiles of Walden’s campers and staff. You can find his beautiful pictures in our online photo gallery and hardback yearbook. Mark also leads our rocketry program, drives camp buses and can turn a dollar bill into an elephant in just a few folds. Mark is a 5th grade teacher in the Cleveland area and spent most of the 2019-2020 school year teaching English to elementary school students in Budapest, Hungary.
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “NEARLY PERFECT”
Martin headed Walden’s Arts & Crafts program for 20 years, beginning in the early ’80s. We are, once again, incredibly lucky to have him back at camp for five weeks each summer, during which he does what a professional painter does: Paints! His beautiful oil canvases of the Walden woods, meadows and people adorn our buildings and game room “gallery.” Hosting a working artist gives Walden campers the chance to watch a painting come to life, from Martin’s initial sketch to his final strokes of the brush.
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “...” (Martin is actually a pretty quiet guy)
Dr. Caren Stalburg is a lifelong Waldo. Having attended Walden for many summers as a camper, Caren returned to the Walden fold a decade ago as our camp doctor and medical consultant. Caren spends the first week of each session at Walden, updating our health-center protocols, mentoring our Camp Health Officers, and surreptitiously handing out "Dr. Rosen's Magical Medicine" in a variety of frozen flavors to individuals in need of cures." An obstetrician/gynecologist and university educator, Caren lives and works in Ann Arbor.
OFTEN HEARD SAYING: “REMEMBER TO WASH YOUR HANDS, PLEASE!”