Walden West

By Keira De Vita

Home away from home. Walden West has overwhelmingly consumed my life in the past two years and left a noticeable impact on me; dedicating my time there grows increasingly more important every single time I take the journey through the windy forest of Sanborn Road. From the staff to the children, the Walden West community quickly became a second home for me and welcomed my character and the skill I have to offer with kindness and eagerness. 

Last summer,

I spent over 200 hours on the Santa Clara hills property where Walden West has stood strong for over 70 years. With friends from my past and creating new ones that would exist into the foreseeable future, the camp remains where I prefer to spend my time. Three positions I have had the pleasure of working are science camp cabin leader, day camp summer counselor, and CORE crew counselor.

With 26 letters in the alphabet, I can only begin to describe the experience of science camp with half of them: overwhelming joy. A week away from reality may seem difficult and unrewarding but it plays out to be the exact opposite. Leaving after a week away, I get post camp depression. It is a real thing. Anyone who has gone up can attest to that. No phones, no drama, no school work; just nature, music, hiking and exploring, and community. Being there to grow the minds of ten-year-olds is an experience I live for. Talking with them, challenging their concepts of the world, and learning what they enjoy grows my passion further to pursue a career as a teacher. Children need good role models and teachers to challenge and grow their minds to become the minds of the next generations. With growing experience and a place to do that, science camp has provided me just that, as well as friends, and some service hours which is a plus.

Summer camp is a whole other ball park. It is your job as a counselor to regulate your energy. Personally I do not, and staff recommends it, but I continue to ignore it. Giving 100 percent creates an atmosphere for the kids to grow and break out of their shells to become new people at camp. I help inspire their creativity and grow their ability to learn how to grow into social individuals who look to grow. A benefit that comes with summer camp and the dreadful fear of losing all of your energy is being able to leave four out of the five days of camp due to the fact it is a nine a.m. to three p.m. ordeal. Being a day camp counselor you interact with kids the entire week all day long, hiking, crafting, and singing with the kids. As a CORE counselor, that job resonates at the rock climbing wall where you spend the week with all age groups of kids–CORE counselors earn 45 hours for the week where day camp counselors earn 55. Both are enjoyable but my overarching favorite remains day camp.

I cannot do anything but thank Walden West for the time I have had and the ability to spend up on Sanborn Road.