Married with Children!
We thought you might like to read about Walden Alumni who met at camp and eventually were married. Walden has about 50 couples that fit this description. We decided to interview two Walden marriages – one from 1970 and another couple who met during the eighties.
Jerry and Betty Caplan
Many families know Jerry and Betty from the Walden Video Brochure. Jerry and Betty Caplan have the wonderful distinction of being Camp Walden's first married couple – they met at camp in the first year of operation, 1970, and have been married for 35 years. Walden has also benefited from the multiple talents and skills provided by their children, Adam and Lauren. Lauren was a counsellor for several years and eventually became a Head Staff member as the Unit Head for the Comic Unit. Adam began his tenure as a ski staff, graduated to Head of Ski and continues in his important function as “Colour Tracker” as part of the Walden Leadership Team of 2007. Adam, an elementary school teacher for the Toronto School Board, teaches at the “Centre Island” school.
Jerry was 23 years old when he met Betty, 21, as she entered the camp dining hall just off the Ottawa bus. They both had arrived at Walden through the encouragement of a mutual friend, Harvey Rotstein – Walden's First Head of Swim. They were both initially interested and attracted to Walden because of the promise of a “unique adventure” of being part of the creation of a new camp. Jerry remembers there being 40 kids in the second month – representing 2 staff to every 1 camper. Jerry knew Ted Cole and felt comfortable with Ted as the Director despite the fact that Ted was only a few years his senior.
Both Betty and Jerry were “camp people” with several years experience at other camps in the 1960s. Jerry was hired as the Head of Sailing and Betty was the Assistant Head of Swim. They responded to “Walden's beauty” and their nostalgia for Walden's waterfront still remains strong and unforgettable. They knew their kids would benefit from camp life and Walden was their first choice for them.
Jerry remembers being involved in lots of construction projects that first summer. He remembers building Walden's first “Amphitheatre”. Good friends and strong relationships resulted during this summer. Their close friend, Devra Freedman – the Head of the Theatre program in 1971, came from camp that second summer to be present for their wedding.
Lauren Caplan loves talking about her strong connection to Walden and her warm thoughts regarding her families' special status. Lauren often found herself reflecting about her parents when she walked the familiar paths as a camper and staff. Lauren remembers a visitor's day, when she was a C.I.T., and discovering that she had selected exactly the same bed her mother had slept in more than 25 years earlier!
Through Adam's current efforts the Caplan family legacy continues today.
Jeff Newman and Marla Greenbaum Newman
Jeff Newman and Marla Greenbaum met at camp as staff members in 1980. Jeff was a Ski staff and Marla was a Comic counsellor. Marla credits Jeff with being the instigator of their relationship - Jeff was very persistent. Marla initially, and gently, declined but Jeff pursued Marla after camp and they became a “couple” sometime in the fall of 1980.
Jeff had a long, and illustrious, career at Walden – from 1972 as a Colour camper until 1983 as Head of Skiing (12 amazing summers!!). Marla arrived in 1980 as a Comic counsellor and finished her stay 5 years later as a Comic Unit Head. Both are thrilled that their children, Sarah (13 – Zodiac camper) and Gillian (9 – Colour Camper) are veteran Walden campers and continue to represent the Newman family.
Marla feels that camp provided a strong foundation for their relationship to grow and develop over the three summers they were together. The couple experienced the intensity of seeing one another every day. Marla believes that you really get to know your partner in the camp setting. The two month summer season feels like more like triple that amount of time. She maintains that they were a “known” couple and many labelled them as a “hot item”! Marla has great memories of Jeff and her discreetly canoeing to the raft by the island and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
Marla decisively points to the Walden Games as “the most outstanding Walden program”. She recalls proudly of her team, Greece, winning the Walden Games for that summer. She had the most amazing experience as Captain – this remains the outstanding highlight of her years at camp.
Most meaningful is the fact that many of the Newman's circle of current friends came from those wonderful years on staff at camp. There are too many people to name but they will always feel a certain special connection to all of the people they worked and lived with.
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