A Look Back at Leaders-Walker Blaustein

Next up in on Look Back at Leaders series, we hear from Walker Blaustein’s parents about his years at Deerhorn. Walker is from Denver, Colorado, and this will be his 7th year at Deerhorn. He is leading the 2024 Deerhorn Bears!

Walker seems to be the best version of himself while at Camp Deerhorn.  The sunshine and good cheer is contagious, just one of the elements of the Creed that we think has made a lasting impression on Walker. We weren’t sure that Walker would be comfortable being away from home that first summer in 2017.  But there was no doubt that he would be back for years to come the minute we picked him up.  He has a look, a smirk, that comes with an assuredness that said it all.  Walker is not one for many words, but you know it when see it.

The 2nd year he obliged his mom by making sure to get in as many pictures as possible.  Watching from home, we couldn’t believe how much airtime he was getting on the daily download of photos.  He looked happy. A bit staged perhaps, but definitely happy. In each subsequent year, he gave up on this effort as his mom knew with conviction that he was in in the right place, and we assumed he was focused far more on getting the most of every hour of every day.

Each year, his letters home were less frequent and definitely shorter, with deteriorating penmanship from a rushed effort.  Walker clearly didn’t see this as a productive use of time.  His final letter last summer was a blank piece of paper.


Each year, his comfort with independence grew.  His confidence grew.

Each year, the bond with his fellow campers grew deeper and wider to encompass all ages.  This is one of the gifts of Camp Deerhorn.

Walker now visits the older guys at CU football games in Boulder.  Often times they just bump into each other and take a few minutes to reconnect.  It doesn’t take (or need) any longer.

For 3 years, Walker and a small group of boys flew from Denver to Rhinelander through Minneapolis with a chaperone from Delta airlines on the layover.  The summer of 2023 was the first without one.  At 15 years old, making a connecting flight through an airport without an adult was an accomplishment.  But the moment wasn’t too big.  The boys were ready for it.  The self-reliance gained at Camp Deerhorn prepared them.

This summer, Walker will be leading campers.  We know it’s a responsibility he cherishes.  Walker will take cues from those leaders that preceded him and showed him the way, but he will also make the 2024 version his own.  We are SO looking forward to hearing about Walker, Sully, Des and Navin’s positive mark on the traditions formed over 90+ years.


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