Frequently Asked Questions
Walt Whitman provides a unique summer experience with an emphasis on warmth, friendship, and community. We are proud of our unique well-rounded program which combines required and elective activities with extensive outdoor opportunities. Professionally trained specialty staff direct each activity area.
Most importantly, there are two full time, college age counselors who live in every cabin. Our counselors' entire responsibility throughout every day is to spend all of their time with their campers. They do not become instructors teaching an activity, but rather they participate in all of the activities with their cabin group. Our cabin counselors are there for their kids all day long knowing when to cheer them on or when to put an arm around their shoulder if that's what is needed.
Jed and Carolyn Dorfman are the directors of Camp Walt Whitman. Jed's Great-Uncles started Walt Whitman in 1948, and Carolyn and Jed are the third generation in the family to run camp. Jed was both a Camp Walt Whitman camper and counselor at Walt Whitman and became a Director in 2006.
Jed is a graduate of Emory University and earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management. Prior to becoming a director Jed worked at CWW for 10 years, serving as the Assistant Director for five years. He is a former middle school and high school teacher, and is one of the founders and a director of America's Camp.
Carolyn graduated from Dalhousie University with a degree in Recreational Management. Prior to becoming a director, Carolyn worked as the Executive Director of the National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children's Foundation in New York City. Carolyn spent seven years in Knoxville, Tennessee first graduating with a Masters Degree in Sports Management and then working as Assistant Athletic Director for the Women's Athletic Department. Carolyn played four years of collegiate basketball at Dalhousie University where she graduated with a degree in Recreational Management. Carolyn's prior camp experience includes working as the Director of Glencoe Day Camp and many summers coaching at basketball camps throughout the US and Canada.
The single most important word to keep in mind is QUALITY. This means quality of care; quality of facilities and their maintenance; quality of staff, programs and instruction; and quality of the directors. Experienced leadership is a key ingredient found in the best camps. People who care and who couple thoughtfulness with expertise define excellence at Walt Whitman.
In addition, it is essential that parents seek a camp with values that match their personal values. While every camp has tennis courts, a lake, cabins to sleep in, and a place to do arts and crafts, parents need to understand what the camp is trying to accomplish for each child and how the camp pursues these goals.
Camp Walt Whitman is located in Piermont, New Hampshire, 2 1/2 hours from Boston and 5 hours from New York. Nestled in the spectacular White Mountains, our 300-acre site is situated on beautiful, crystal-clear Lake Armington. More information about our location...
With warm days and cool nights, the weather in New Hampshire's White Mountains is ideal for summer activities. Your child will comfortably play tennis, soccer, baseball or any other outdoor activity, and the fresh mountain air and low humidity enhance indoor activities such as cabin life, theater, creative arts and dining. In addition, Walt Whitman attracts campers from throughout the northeast as well as from other parts of the country. This allows campers to meet and become friends with children from beyond their own neighborhood.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions that parents have. We know your child's safety and security are most important to you. It is reassuring for our parents and campers that Walt Whitman is located down a little-traveled dirt country road. We are not close to a city, main highway or thoroughfare. We are securely set back in the woods. However, we are only four miles from an emergency facility and 35 minutes from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital, Dartmouth's excellent medical school teaching facility.
Even with our wonderfully safe location, we maintain a security guard at the entrance to camp 24 hours a day.
We have 400 campers equally divided between boys and girls at Camp Walt Whitman.
Our low camper/staff ratio is important to who we are as we hire more than 200 full-time staff members each summer. Our counselors are all college-age or older. Many of our staff return summer after summer, and many are former Walt Whitman campers.
Most of our campers are from the middle and northeastern states. We also attract campers from the mid-west, Florida, Texas, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Georgia, California and Canada.
Walt Whitman takes pride in providing mature, professionally trained, and motivated staff. We employ numerous teachers and coaches with extensive experience working with children. Our cabin counselors are all college age. We personally interview every staff member, and we take pride in the rigor of our interview process. Staff members must have excellent references, impressive experience working with children and a willingness to dedicate their summer to the care and supervision of our campers.
In addition, we conduct national background checks and sex offender checks on all staff members before they arrive at camp.
Because some very young first-time campers, or their parents, may not be comfortable with the full summer program, we do offer both half and full summer cabins for children currently in 2nd and 3rd grades. To ensure a better experience for all children this age, four-week campers in grades 2 and 3 are housed in separate cabins from full summer campers. Although they all are friends and enjoy activities together, this enables us to provide individual planning and appropriate closure.
For campers finishing 4th through 7 grades we have a limited number of 4 week options available.
Before we make cabin assignments, we take great care to get to know your child's needs and interests. We really listen to what you and your child tell us. In addition, every camper (with help from parents) fills out a camper biography form before arriving at camp. This biography form is very important to us because it lets us know your child's favorite activities and special goals for the summer. It also offers parents an opportunity to share their concerns with us. We review this form with your child's counselors and Area Director and use it to help place your child in the best cabin situation. We arrange beds so that campers are near others with similar interests to ensure that from the very first day your child will connect easily with other kids.
Walt Whitman is on Lake Armington, an unusually beautiful mountain lake, on which campers enjoy our extensive boating program. However, unlike a heated pool, clear mountain lakes are not the best place to teach kids to swim. It's difficult to keep children in cold water for any significant length of time. Our heated Olympic-size pool enhances our recreational, instructional and competitive swim programs. Campers never complain about instructional swim and stay in the water as long as they possibly can at free swim. Of course, they always have the option to swim in the lake as well, and many do, particularly in hot weather.
Our food is excellent and draws compliments from our campers. We provide a wide choice of foods including home made baked goods; lots of fresh fruit; a daily grill, including chicken, hamburger and veggie burgers; a twice daily salad bar; pasta, soup and sandwich bars and many other tasty, healthy options. Gluton-free options are also available.
Campers have 3 scheduled activity periods with their cabin, 2 elective periods, and free swim each day. We carefully balance group activities with individual electives.
Scheduled Activities: Campers join in 3 scheduled activities a day with campers in their cabin. The activities combine both instruction and play enabling campers to have fun while developing skills. Boys and girls are scheduled separately.
Elective Activities: Campers participate in 2 elective periods each day. One is chosen daily while the other is chosen for a whole week. Younger campers are assisted with their choices by our staff.
The 9:00 elective is selected weekly. It is called a Special Interest Group (SIG) and is a favorite with campers since it is the time for them to choose an activity each week in which they would like to specialize. There are some offerings that are not found in the usual daily schedule including cooking, photography, self-defense, model rocketry and guitar, to name a few. For those who want intensive instruction in tennis, land sports, water sports or the arts, the weekly elective resembles a mini-specialty camp.
The 4:00 elective is selected daily. Campers love this time since it allows them to return to any of their regularly scheduled activities or to choose among the special offerings available that day. This is a time for sports practice, windsurfing, private tennis lessons, arts projects and the list goes on and on!
We want to get to know each of our campers before they enroll at camp. Some families take the opportunity to visit and see camp in action during the summer; most do not. We are happy to schedule appointments with you in the fall.
Please call with any questions or to schedule a summer visit or fall get-together.
Camp Walt Whitman
3 New King Street
White Plains, NY 10604
Camp Walt Whitman
1000 Cape Moonshine Road
Piermont, NH 03779