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FAQs

What distinguishes Walt Whitman from other camps?

Camp Walt Whitman provides a unique summer experience for children with an emphasis on friendship and community. Our intentionally developed well-rounded program combines required and elective activities for each child with extensive outdoor opportunities as well. Therefore, we know that each camper will get to experience every activity we offer, while also having the chance to choose their favorites each day.

Most importantly, there are two full-time, college-aged counselors who live in every cabin. We do not utilize high school–aged Junior Counselors as we do not believe they possess the maturity to take care of children. Our counselors’ entire responsibility throughout every day is to spend all of their time with their campers. They do not serve as instructors, but instead 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.


Who are the directors of Camp Walt Whitman?

Jed and Carolyn Dorfman are the directors of Camp Walt Whitman. Jed’s great-uncles started CWW in 1948, and Carolyn and Jed are the third generation in the family to run the camp. Jed was both a Camp Walt Whitman camper and counselor, and became a director in 2006.

Jed is a graduate of Emory University and earned a Master of 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, and played four years of collegiate basketball there. 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. She spent seven years in Knoxville, Tennessee, first graduating with a master’s degree in sports management and then working as assistant athletic director for the Women’s Athletic Department. Carolyn’s prior camp experience includes working as the director of Glencoe Day Camp and many summers coaching at basketball camps throughout the U.S. and Canada.


What is the right reason to choose a camp?

The single most important word to keep in mind is QUALITY. This includes quality of care; quality of facilities; 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 Camp Walt Whitman.

In addition, it is essential that parents seek a camp with values that match their own 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. Every camp is different in this regard, but it’s not always easy to differentiate one camp’s philosophy from another’s based on promotional material. In order to ensure a camp is the right fit for your family, it’s important to find out the following:

  • Who runs the camp, what is their experience, and why do they do what they do?
  • What is the philosophical underpinning of the camp? Aside from allowing kids to have fun, what is the camp trying to accomplish?
  • How does the camp determine success?
  • Who are the people who are taking care of the children on a daily basis? What is their background? What is their experience? How old are they?
  • Who are the people on the leadership team and what is their background?


Where is Camp Walt Whitman located?

Camp Walt Whitman is located in Piermont, New Hampshire, 2 1/2 hours from Boston and 5 hours from New York City. Nestled in the spectacular White Mountains, our 300-acre site is situated on beautiful, crystal-clear Lake Armington. For more information on our incredible location, click here.


Why choose Walt Whitman over a camp closer to home?

Finding the right camp for your family can feel overwhelming. Yet, we know that when a family finds the right camp for their child, it can lead to an absolutely magical experience. Sometimes, in order to simplify the choices, a family will eliminate a camp that is further than an hour or two from home. The problem with this approach is that it’s possible there is a camp that is a better fit that’s slightly further away. We are obviously biased, but we know that, in addition to our values and philosophy being a great fit for many families, the weather in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, with warm days and cool nights, 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. Additionally, families find that when they venture a little further away from home for camp, it becomes less likely that everyone their child knows from their home town will be there. 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 well beyond their own neighborhood.


How safe is the location?

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 country road through the woods. We are not close to a city, main highway or thoroughfare. And, even though we are securely set back in the woods, we have a 24-hour security guard at the entrance to camp.

Despite our remote and safe location, we are only four miles from an emergency facility and 35 minutes from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital, Dartmouth College’s excellent medical school teaching facility.


How many campers and staff does Walt Whitman have?

We have 400 campers, equally divided between boys and girls. Most of our campers are from the northeastern states. We also attract campers from the Midwest as well as Florida, Texas, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, California and Canada.

Our low camper/staff ratio is vital to the individual attention we provide, which is why we hire 230 full-time staff members each summer. Our counselors are all college-age or older, and many of our staff return summer after summer.


How do you select the staff?

Walt Whitman takes pride in providing mature, professionally trained, fun and motivated staff. We employ numerous teachers and coaches with extensive experience working with children. Our cabin counselors are all college-age and have significant prior experience working with children. 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.


Does Walt Whitman offer a four-week option for first-time campers?

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 the campers are all friends and enjoy activities together, this housing enables us to provide individual planning and appropriate closure.

For campers finishing 4th and 5th grades, we have a limited number of four-week options available.


How do you provide the 'right' cabin placement for my child?

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 is very important to us because it lets us know your child’s favorite activities and special goals for the summer.

We also provide a separate biography form for parents to complete, providing you an opportunity to share your 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 go so far as to 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.


What are the benefits of having a heated swimming pool at a New England camp?

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.


How is the food and what choices will my child have?

Our food is excellent and draws compliments from our campers. In fact, on our post-camp surveys, over 80% of our campers rated our food as “good” or “very good.” We provide a wide choice of foods, including home-made baked goods; lots of fresh fruit; a daily grill, including chicken, hamburgers and veggie burgers; a twice-daily salad bar; pasta, soup and sandwich bars; and many other tasty, healthy options. Gluten-free options are also available. Click here to see more details about food options.


Is the program scheduled by group or by individual choice?

Campers have three scheduled activity periods with their cabin, two elective periods, and free swim each day. We carefully balance group activities with individual electives.

Scheduled Activities: Campers join in three scheduled activities a day with their cabin mates. 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 two 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 because it is an activity that they choose to specialize in for a full week. There are some offerings that are not found in the usual daily schedule, including cooking, photography, technology, model rocketry and Legos, to name a few. For those who want intensive instruction in tennis, team 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 because 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, sailing, private tennis lessons, arts projects … and the list goes on and on!


How can I get more information about Camp Walt Whitman?

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 Walt Whitman in action during the summer, but most do not. We are happy to schedule appointments to meet with your family during the off-season.

Please call with any questions or to schedule a summer visit or fall get-together.

Winter

Camp Walt Whitman
4 New King Street
White Plains, NY 10604
1-800-657-8282

Summer

Camp Walt Whitman
1000 Cape Moonshine Road
Piermont, NH 03779
1-800-657-8282

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