As parents and educators, we know that young people use and adapt to new technology at dizzying speeds. Electronic devices are often a useful and necessary part of children’s educational and social development during the school year. But we also think that summer should stand apart from the rest of the year.
We want campers to experience nature with all their senses, and engage directly with each other without the separation of a screen. At Walden, we encourage children to develop their sense of accomplishment and well being through hands-on activities, whether they are sports or play or dance or music. And we want them to get those hands dirty! Which is why we need campers to leave most electronics at home. Help us preserve “endangered tech-free time” by supporting our policies.
To cut down on distraction and increase campers’ enjoyment of camp, we have a “Screen-Free” policy at Walden. Your understanding and support of this policy helps us ensure campers have a refreshing and engaging summer experience.
We allow personal music devices and digital cameras at Camp Walden. Personal music devices may only be used within cabins. Camp appropriate iPods can be found on eBay for as little as $45. Please assume that items not found on these lists are prohibited.
iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, iPod Mini, Kobo Touch, Sony Reader, Nook Simple Touch, or Amazon Kindle.
Small, lightweight and inexpensive digital cameras are allowed, along with their chargers and preferably waterproof cases. Cameras that are large, bulky or with removable lenses are strongly discouraged.
These devices are not allowed if they are capable of playing games, watching movies, tv shows or videos, uploading or downloading data of any kind, or being used as telephones. Please note, that this list is by no means exhaustive.
iPod Touch, iPad, Tablets, any Kobo other than the Touch, Sony PSP, any Nook other than the Simple Touch, Kindle Fire (and any other variation on the basic Kindle), any Nintendo product, any Leapster product, any device capable of connecting to a cellular network.
Cabin groups are like little families within the larger Walden community. We do our best to make sure they are happy ones.
Final cabin groupings are not completed until campers arrive at camp. While we do collect requests we cannot always accommodate them, and cannot guarantee cabin groupings. Requests for campers to be grouped together—or kept apart—should be made by the families of both campers, in writing, on the application form or a separate note.
We do not accept registrations that are contingent upon cabin grouping requests. While we understand a camper’s wish to be grouped with a friend, parents should keep in mind that these situations can often create problems, causing tension among others in the cabin or straining the friendship. Should difficulties within a cabin group arise, or any time a camper has problems adjusting, we will work to make effective changes.
Our cabins can accommodate up to 15, however, we aim for 10-14 campers per cabin to give everyone more breathing room and to allow for more individualized attention from counsellors.
Staffers are careful to maintain an optimal size of cabin group to allow for successful and safe enjoyment of activities, dining hall time and team sports.
In addition to a successful experience for kids in any one cabin, we must be mindful of the “chemistry” of kids throughout our camp community.
We always welcome new campers to Walden and place them in cabin groups where we believe they will be enthusiastically accepted.
We like to keep functioning cabin groups together over several summers so that these Walden families grow up together.
At some point within the “lifespan” of almost every Walden cabin we will likely need to shuffle or split the cabin group into two. We always try to do this with sensitivity, fairness, and care.
We try to accommodate campers who wish to change groups once we have determined that the new fit is a good one.
We strive for a diverse mix of backgrounds and amount of Walden experience within each cabin group.
Cabin groups often remain together year after year and we often place new or returning campers into an established group.
To make transitions easy and fair, campers are not permitted to claim specific beds ahead of the camp session. We want every camper’s first impression of their cabin to be an open and welcoming one, something that boundaries and prior claims doesn’t offer, so we ask that campers respect our bed selection policy.
Staff will monitor the selection of beds and make sure that everyone has an equal voice in the process. Each cabin has one head staff or Leadership Team member on hand to help in the process – a random draw is done to determine the order in which campers may select their beds, which is done privately in the presence of the counsellors. Campers have the opportunity to speak with their Tracker if they are uncomfortable with their sleeping arrangements.
The camp session is a busy time for campers, but we want to make sure that neither parents nor kids are anxious about communicating with each other. We have a number of ways for everyone to stay in touch.
Walden’s camp office is staffed from 9am – 6pm. After hours, confidential voicemail is available and checked regularly. Any concerns or questions will be directed towards the appropriate member of our Leadership Team. All messages are returned within 24 hours.
As with telephone calls, we will respond to emails within 24 hours. Although we read and respond to every inquiry, camp commitments mean that we are not always able to reply immediately.
If your email is of an informational nature then you can expect to receive a confirmation of receipt within 24 hours.
If your email is a concern that requires follow up then we will contact you by telephone. We feel this allows us to better understand and solve any problems. As well, though an email may be addressed to a specific staffer, you will be contacted by the person determined by the Leadership Team as best able to deal with your issue. No matter who you speak to, please be aware that we will share information appropriately as a Team.
If you have a need to get something to us in writing (i.e. itinerary for your travel plans during camp, updated health information) please use our fax service.
Camp is a time for kids to gain independence and have new experiences. We want families to hear all about it so we encourage you to keep in touch with your campers via letters and emails. They’re a great way to share the fun of camp with friends and family and they make wonderful keepsakes long after the summer is done.
Getting mail from home is an anticipated part of the camp day. Mail to camp should be labelled clearly with your camper’s name and cabin, along with our full summer mailing address. Incoming mail often arrives within a few days and is distributed to campers daily after dinner.
If you want your child to receive mail within the first few days of camp, try mailing a few letters before campers depart. Another option is to pre-write letters in numbered envelopes and send them up to camp via Bus Mail, we will distribute them with camper mail in the order they are numbered.
Campers have two scheduled writing days each week. Make sure campers have a list of names and addresses for everyone they want to write to from camp. Printed labels or pre-addressed and stamped envelopes can make the process even easier.
Due to the limitations of rural post offices, outgoing mail can sometimes take more than a week to arrive in major Canadian cities and longer for other locations.
Camp Walden has a screen free policy, and as such campers cannot directly send or receive emails as we do not allow them access to computers. However, you are still able to communicate with your campers by email if you wish.
Send your emails to email@example.com with the subject line stating your camper’s name and cabin. Emails will be printed and distributed with regular camper mail, 3 calendar days after they are received. Campers may only receive one email per day and they must not include any images or attachments.
Your child is able to communicate with you by email by writing their letters to you using our special stationery. Their letters will then be scanned, converted to PDF 3 calendar days after they are received, and sent to your email address. The first letters of the summer go out on the first Wednesday of camp!
Download the special stationery (requires Microsoft Word), and replace the email address at the top with your email address (do not modify the template in any other way). Print off as many copies as you think your child will need to write to you while they are at camp (to be safe add 10 to this number!).
Repeat these steps for any one else that your child may want to write to. If your child is unfamiliar with any of the email addresses, you may want to label who they’re going to at the top. Finally, make sure that these pages get packed for camp with other stationery.
For first time campers, the Camper Tracking Team will call parents on the Tuesday following your camper’s start of camp – giving new campers 3 days to adjust, 1 day to check-in, and 1 day to call you.
If we cannot reach you, we will leave a detailed message indicating how your child is adjusting, the activities they are enjoying, and what, if any, difficulties they have overcome. If we require follow-up from you, we will indicate this in our message. Otherwise, a return phone call is not necessary.
Parents of Zodiac Stars are phoned later in the first week shortly after campers return from their canoe trips.
We seek to ensure a safe and healthy stay at camp, but in the case of an unexpected accident or illness MASH, our camp’s Health Centre, will contact you.
MASH will call to inform you of any significant medical situations that have occurred at camp. Some examples of this include the doctor prescribing oral antibiotics or other medications, any situation requiring a visit to the hospital or dentist, an unusually long illness, or continuing homesickness.
For minor medical issues we do not contact the camper’s family. These matters may include: the dispensing of some oral medications such as antihistamines, topical creams or lotions; minor cuts and scrapes; homesickness that lasts for short periods of time; minor colds or short term illnesses that do not require medication.
Should we need to contact you, we will make several attempts to reach you directly and will leave a detailed message on voice mail if necessary. Please make sure to provide the camp with your most up to date contact information.
“If you are travelling—even just for the weekend–we ask that you please let us know by either emailing or calling our office. In the event that we need to contact you (though we hope we don’t!), we’d like to have the right contact info, either for you or your emergency contact person.”
Every child has the right to feel safe while at camp. Walden’s policies and staff training are designed to promote a healthy and inclusive space for all campers. Should any challenges in regards to behaviour present themselves, we have a problem-solving framework that offers support to all involved. Any disciplinary measures that may be required are fair and progressive, and intended to be used as a teaching tool.
Camp Walden responds immediately to issues of verbal or physical intimidation, putdowns of any kind, or any situation that creates discomfort for campers. We hope that prior to camp you will discuss with your campers the importance of positive interactions with others, so that we are simply reinforcing these lessons at Walden.
A safe environment requires safe practices. The possession, use, or being in the presence of alcohol, tobacco or related paraphernalia on the grounds of camp or at a camp sponsored activity by any camper or CIT is strictly prohibited.
When sending mail to camp, we ask that all families please respect our Food and Package Policy. Learn more about the factors guiding the development of this policy.
Campers are allowed to bring one plastic grocery bag size amount of food at the beginning of their camp stay and receive another grocery bag size amount on Visitors’ Day.
This includes: Mr. Noodle, Kraft Dinner, and Cup-a-Soup.
Camp Walden’s water undergoes more treatment than most municipalities and water bottling manufacturers. Its source is our soft water lake in a relatively unpopulated and unpolluted part of the country. It undergoes regular testing conducted by certified water treatment operators and is subject to the strictest of standards in Canada. The taste of water varies from city to city based on the makeup of its inactive minerals. Walden’s water is clear, refreshing, and indeed tastes different than your home water. Many bottled waters, although seemingly tasteless, are unregulated, and untested.
A non-food package may be sent for your camper’s birthday. Please indicate on the outside of the package that it is a birthday package.
If it doesn’t fit under the mailroom door, it’s not coming through it!
Campers are encouraged to bring books to camp.
“If you feel that you need to send “essential items” to your camper, please mark your package with the word “ESSENTIALS” in large bold print. This indicates to us permission to open the package and deliver the essential items to your camper. Approved essential items can be found on our packing instructions guide.”
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