Our Cabin Grouping Policy
If you were to take a moment and think about the complexities of determining who sits next to whom at a dinner party or at a social event you’re planning, you would have a small glimpse of the process we go through when we sit down to organize cabin groups for the camp season.
Throughout the process, we want to be conscious of the “Walden Way”, nurtured for over forty years, through which both new and returning campers feel that they belong in an unique camp “family.”
Here are some things we keep in mind when we’re organizing our cabins:
- Our cabins can accommodate up to 15 campers; however, 10-14 campers in a cabin is ideal. Our campers need “breathing space,” room to live in an uncrowded living space, a climate for meaningful interactions with their cabinmates, ample opportunities to participate in a wide variety of activities, and, very importantly, lots of individual attention from their counsellors.
- We like to keep functioning cabin groups together year after year. This approach increases the likelihood that a sense of belonging to the Walden “family will continue year after year.
- However, sometimes we have a group that has become too large for a single building to accommodate. In the “lifespan” of almost every Walden cabin we need shuffle or split the cabin group into two. We will endeavor to perform this challenging task with sensitivity, fairness, and care.
- We welcome new campers to Walden and place them in cabin groups where we believe they will be enthusiastically accepted.
- We avoid putting together cabin groups that are “homogeneous,” (that is, campers who are all from the same school, country, or who all happen to be new to Walden.)
- We try to accommodate campers who want to switch groups when we have agreed that the new fit is a good one.
- We are careful to maintain an optimal size of cabin group:
- Specialties are best suited for 10-14 campers. An hour at ski for a normal sized cabin provides everyone with just enough time for 1 or 2 skis, for example.
- Supervision is the core role of camp staff at Walden. A counsellor’s attention and vigilance can be compromised when he/she must care for too many campers.
- Other challenges such as the size of the table in the dining hall, and the number of players on a baseball team support 10-14 boys/girls as the optimal number of campers in a cabin.
- 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.
It is only when campers arrive at camp that our final groupings are completed. Please recognize that although we collect requests, we do not (and sometimes cannot) always accommodate them. Although we can make guarantees about spaces available in each unit, we cannot guarantee cabin grouping at any time. As you know from our application, we do not accept registrations that are contingent upon cabin grouping requests.
Parents should keep in mind that:
- Being grouped with friends may sometimes create more tensions than they alleviate.
- Requests (and disrequests!) should be made by the families of both campers, in writing, either on the application form or on a separate note.
When friendships interfere with the success of group relations, we will work to make appropriate changes. Of course, if at any time a camper has difficulty adjusting to camp or to the group, we take action to to resolve issues as quickly and effectively as possible.
We are thankful for your registration and the trust you have placed in us. We will do everything possible to assist your camper throughout his/her experience at Walden.