In the summer of 1966, 11-year-old Ricky Crane and his twin brother, Robby, first attended Camp Walden. Their father sent them to camp to protect them from spending the summer watching their mother’s health decline during her final months of life. Camp Walden provided Rick an escape from the sadness at home and so much more. Rick found joy, confidence, adventure, fun, and lifelong friends at camp. He returned to camp every summer for over a decade, both as a camper and a counselor.
Rick established The Rick Crane Scholarship to help kids who have experienced significant loss or trauma in their lives. Attending camp saved Rick during a difficult time in his life, and through this scholarship, Rick desires to pay it forward to other children in similar situations. Each scholarship covers camp tuition, travel to and from Cheboygan, camp gear, camp field trips, and all other camp-related expenses
Applications for the 2023 season will be accepted from October 1, 2022 – February 15, 2023. Scholarship awards will are announced in March of each year.
WHO IS RICK CRANE?
If you were never a Walden camper or staff member, you’re forgiven for not recognizing the name! Ricky—as he was known—started at Walden in 1966 as an 11-year-old camper, along with his twin brother Robby. It’s hard to overstate the legacy of the Cranes: Along with a few other Walden stalwarts, Mark Levin, Jim Barahal, and Bill Miller, they wrote and performed the iconic Walden songs that we still sing today: “Walden Days/Walden Nights,” “Goodnight, Camp Walden,” “Walden Under the Stars” and (IMHO) the vastly underrated “Cover of the Walden Pond.”
Rick will tell anyone who’s willing to listen about camp’s life-altering impact on him. Walden was both an escape and an awakening. Like a lot of children, he figured out who he was during those summers away from home. At Walden, he developed a natural charisma and a social acumen that led in part, he believes, to his success as an entrepreneur.
After 12 summers at Walden, Rick moved to California to pursue a career designing, manufacturing and selling blue jeans. (Despite the summer heat, Rick claims he never wore a pair of shorts at camp—only Levi’s—even while driving the ski boat!). He founded the premium denim brand 7 for All Mankind, which he sold in 2007.
Rick resides in Los Angeles and still spends a portion of every summer in Northern Michigan. He’s the creator of Charlevoixcam.com, which hosts live webcams throughout the city. Charlevoixcam seeks to raise awareness of the city’s all-season beauty, as well as to connect the greater Charlevoix community.
Ricky Crane helped to define the Walden experience for a generation of campers and staff. We could not be more delighted by, and grateful for, his continued commitment to camp in general and Walden in particular. His generosity will make Walden summers a reality for many future campers who would otherwise miss the opportunity. Thank you, Ricky Blue Jeans!
For me Camp Walden was truly people, places, friends not soon forgotten. The life skills camp taught me provided the confidence , perseverance, independence to move forward successfully out into the world. But even more importantly than that-camp was fun. Incredibly fun.
This scholarship fund is my small way of paying back the debt I owe to Camp Walden for a lifetime of gratitude.