“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it comes by overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t”
If there’s a group of people who know a thing or two about what it’s like to be passionate about something, it’s our incredible Walden community. Walden is a place that has endless amounts of passion – for this summer home we love, for each other, and for the culture we work so hard to create. This summer we asked ourselves: how can we grow, both as individuals and as a community? How can we inspire each other to go the distance for the things we’re passionate about? How can we stay motivated to stick with things when they are difficult?
Both children and adults need grit to succeed – to push past initial failures, work hard at the things we’re not instantly good at, and to eventually find success. Where better to grow grit than here at Walden, where we are constantly trying new things? Camp is an incredible opportunity to open ourselves up to new experiences, whether that’s sleeping away from home, making new friends, or trying so many different things for the first time. We want to motivate our campers and staff to maximize the short time we get to spend here with one another, by constantly pushing ourselves to be better. To be kind. To be brave. To be strong. Grit encompasses all of these traits, but in order to gain grit you have to decide what is important to you and pursue it above all else.
This summer, like every summer, we wanted to help our campers and staff grow their grit by encouraging each member of our Walden community to set goals for their time at camp. The difference this time around was that we knew that it would take a little something extra to make those goals a reality, and to continue to grow after the fact. So with grit on our minds we spread the message to all of camp, posing the question “Got Grit?” The overwhelming response from our campers and staff was that they were eager to gain grit, and as a result were able to learn more about what that means. Grit takes work. Grit means that you might have to take a step or two outside of your comfort zone, but the result of that risk is worth it. Grit, and the passion and perseverance it takes are now important pieces of our Walden culture.
We feel so lucky that Walden is home for the many campers and staff who arrive each summer eager to nurture friendships, achieve their goals, and to just let loose and have fun doing whatever it is they love to do. Camp is special for all of these reasons, but above all, it’s a place where we can make the most of these moments in order to become stronger, better versions of ourselves. Each summer that we share here at Walden, away from the pressures of our everyday lives, we are able to take the most vulnerable parts of ourselves and turn them into our very best characteristics. This takes hard work and a whole lot of grit, but it means that we leave camp each summer with a newfound sense of strength and confidence that we always knew we had, but were never quite sure how to grow on our own.
Our challenge to our Walden family now is to take this “Got Grit?” attitude back home, and to strive to have grit and infuse passion and perseverance into all that we do. We encourage campers, staff, and families to share this message, to live it proudly and know that by working hard on the things we are passionate about we will grow grit and persevere.
We feel so fortunate for the extraordinary people that call Camp Walden home. Thank you so much for the love, kindness, enthusiasm and spirit you all bring to this magical place.
With love from Mark and me,
The summer of 2014 was one in which we set out to leave our mark and to ensure others knew that “we were here”. We saw first-hand growth inourselvesandinthepeoplearoundus. Inordertobuildourintentional community it was first and foremost due to the effort of an incredible staff that cared so deeply. We constantly reminded them of the wonderful opportunity they would have to leave a positive imprint on the lives of our campers. We guided them to inspire others with their enthusiasm, their kindness and their thoughtful actions. It was amazing to see just how much they put into this place and how incredibly meaningful it was to see the impact that they made and the transformative experience they helped to provide.
As the summer progressed, we challenged our campers as well to make a positive difference in the way they treat others and to look closely atthemarktheyareleavingatcampandintheworld. Justasweasked our staff to share with us how they are leaving their mark, we invite our campers to do the same. How have you left your mark
at Camp Walden? How are you making your mark in the world? How has Camp Walden left its mark on you? Please send all responses to fun@campwalden- ny.com – we would love to hear how you’re making a difference!
With lots of love from Mark and me,
In the Words of our Staff…
Camp Walden has taught me to always be even, kind and fair to my campers and my co-staff while challenging me to continually raise the bar on how I take care of kids. I am grateful for these experiences and now spend my time and energy passing them along to others. I have taught my campers that there are always times for fun but also times to be serious and responsible when the situation calls for it. I try to set an example for other staff by being flexible and having a great time with kids from all different age groups. – Justin Short
My experience at Camp Walden has completely changed my entire perspective on life. I’m more open to different things and meeting people who are different from me. I also feel like I give a part of myself to Camp Walden through the art I teach kids as a ceramics counselor. Some kids have never used a pottery wheel or have never been in a ceramics class, and I’m able to open up their minds and introduce them to new experiences. – Henny Harmon
The unconditional love that engulfs you when you step within the confines of Camp Walden is difficult to summarize in words. Lauren Bernstein has created a culture where you are allowed to truly be yourself without holding back. When you’re given this gift, it allows you to blossom as a person and amazing things come out of it. Some might say that I’ve left my mark on Camp Walden, but that mark doesn’t come close to how significant Camp Walden has been in teaching me to love every person the way they are. Thank you Camp Walden. – Dan Whelan