Why is a New England Sleepaway Camp Named After a Famous Poet
Camp Walt Whitman, a New England summer camp, is named after the famous American poet Walt Whitman. That doesn’t mean it’s a place for kids to read and write poetry during the summer! To learn about the real meaning of the name read on:
Our camp was founded and created by Arnie and Chick Soloway, Jed’s great uncles. The duo was not interested in becoming yet another coed camp named after a local geographical feature like a lake or a mountain. When they heard Whitman’s poem, “I Hear America Singing” they loved how it speaks to people working together to form communities while also doing their own individual jobs.
During the opening campfire at CWW, the poem is read aloud. Then, Jed leads our campers and staff in the poem’s meaning. Jed ensures that everyone in our community understands that the summer will involve individual growth and contribution to the camp community all while respecting one another and nature.
Whitman famously said, “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” He places no more importance on the positions of politicians than janitors. The same applies to camp where no one person is more important than another, regardless of age, gender, years at camp, or title.
The poet does not believe any form of work or expression is greater or more appreciated or worthy than the next. This idea too is reflected in our programming. Our well rounded program includes over fifty activities like swimming and waterskiing, hiking and camping, soccer and basketball, as well as arts and woodworking. None of these activities are more important than the others. While one person may enjoy conquering the ropes course 45 feet in the air another might prefer trying their hand at tacking our mile long lake swim challenge. While campers participate in different opportunities they are creating a community together during activities, meals and special events.
As Walt Whitman says, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and the shadows will fall behind you.” The incredible campers and their enthusiasm are the sunshine of Camp Walt Whitman.