For over 100 years Camp Walden for girls in Denmark, Maine has helped young girls and women acquire the leadership skills and confidence to navigate our world.
Each summer campers return for the fun, friendship and new experiences they gain from their close-knit Walden family. Here are 3 things that make us special:
The Walden community is unlike any other! Our 150 girls quickly learn the importance of strong friendships and comradery with guiding support from the staff and leadership team. Every camper is known, loved and appreciated for the unique value she brings to our community ensuring that she will have the best summer ever.
At Walden, we teach leadership through modeling. We believe it is equally important to teach young girls leadership as well as the responsibility for that leadership. Young girls observe older campers teaching traditions, leading discussions and running special events and evening activities.
While our activities and facilities are getting better every year, one thing at Walden never changes…our traditions! Many of the traditions we honor and celebrate at Walden date back to 1916. Our songs, special events, and Walden honor system have remained the same for 103 years. Our deep connection to the worldwide Walden network gives our campers an opportunity to bond with alumnae and other campers.
“Yoo-Hoo, good morning Camp Walden,” announces the start to another fun day at camp! The ring of an old-fashioned bell lets campers know that their activity is about to begin or end. Campers participate in five activity periods a day with friends from all age groups. After breakfast, each camper will check her individual schedule which reflects a combination of required activities and camper choice.
High and Low Ropes
Every camper embarks on three trips a summer: a hiking, canoeing, and pleasure trip. The girls experience the fun and challenges of cooking over a fire, pitching a tent and cooperating as a group. Whether it’s a three-day trek up Mt. Katahdin or overnight on Walden Pond, making s’mores, telling stories and stargazing with close friends is always a highlight for our campers!
“Saturday night when it gets dark, the bunk show starts, excitement shows on every face…”
Each age group spends a week learning lines, dances, and songs to rehearse for their bunk show. Saturday after dinner, campers don their traditional orange ties and race up the hill for a front-row seat to cheer on their friends.
Team sports, a friendly rivalry between the Brown and Tan teams, that takes place each weekend, is planned and led by the Team Captains in the oldest age groups. On Saturday mornings campers compete in land sports and on Sunday afternoons they compete in water-based sports. At Walden, we feel the most valuable component of competitive sport is sportsmanship and at Teamsports our campers learn to play their hearts out, then leave the rivalries on the field.
Past and Present
In 1916, Clara Altschul and Blanche Hirsch founded Camp Walden to create an environment where girls could learn leadership, cooperation, and self-sufficiency in the great outdoors. The pair stressed the importance of respect, trust, and consideration for others. In team sports, they emphasized sportsmanship; in activities, trying your hardest while pursuing excellence.
In 1938, Blanche’s niece, Helen Herz Cohen was named Director, which began her 60-year tenure as Director and eventually Owner. Miss Herz believed every child had immense potential and in 1968 she began The Main Idea, a ten-day residential camp that provides economically disadvantaged children a similar camp experience. The legendary Miss Herz, who died in 2006, was a role model who inspired scores of Waldenites with her passion and wisdom.
Since 2008, a group of Trustees have been the stewards of Camp Walden. These women include third & fourth generations of the founding family and a three-generation family Waldenite. Their goal is to ensure that the spirit and original goals continue.
Every summer, one can find many daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters of former campers, and hear songs written decades or days ago. While the stockings and bloomers are long gone, the basic feelings for Walden remain the same, and each year, girls return to their summer home to enjoy the quiet lake, beautiful pines, immeasurable fun, and friendship.
Who are our Walden Families?
Campers who want to try new things, make life-long friendships and have fun being a kid!
Parents who are looking for a true community for their daughter where she can learn to be a leader and be entrusted with the responsibility for that leadership.
Families who share our core values of respect, trust and consideration for others
Contact: Camp Walden
Read Next: Kroka Expeditions