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History of Camp

Camp Walt Whitman was founded in 1948 by Arnie and Chick Soloway (Jed’s great-uncles). The Soloway brothers were determined to establish a sleepaway camp for children that could provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere, stretch campers to overcome challenges and teach children how to reach their full potential as individuals while contributing to a larger community.

The camp remained in the Soloway family until Jancy and Bill Dorfman (Jed’s parents) took over in 1984. Jed was already a camper at this time and he simply never left. Jancy and Bill continued to run the camp together as a couple until Jed joined them as a co-director in 2005.

In 2007 Carolyn and Jed became the third generation of the Soloway/Dorfman family to take the reins as the leaders of the Camp Walt Whitman community.

Where does the name “Walt Whitman” come from?

When Arnie and Chick were starting the camp, they strived to find a camp name that was more than just the name of a lake, a nearby mountain, or a Native American tribe. They sought a name that would capture the philosophy of the camp. Both men were fans of the poetry of Walt Whitman and, in particular, his philosophy about community.

One poem by Walt Whitman, “I Hear America Singing,” struck a chord with both Arnie and Chick. The poem describes the working men and women of America each performing their own job and singing their own individual song with pride, but interwoven together to form the great community of America.

While Camp Walt Whitman is by no means a poetry camp, we read this poem at our opening campfire each summer and discuss how it applies to all of us in the Camp Walt Whitman community. At our core we are a camp where everyone is respected and important for who they are, while everyone contributes to the community at large.

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