On September 20th, Sasha received a text on the year-round Walden group chat. It read: “Only 40 weeks, 00 days, 19 hours, and 22 minutes ‘till Walden 2018 begins!”

Her brain was on fire, because she did not feel so far away from the place she loves most. Sasha began her time at Walden at age 10. She remembers knowing, from her first hug by a faculty member she had just met and a roommate who welcomed her from the start, that Walden was special. She was surprised and encouraged to find that people reached out to her, wanting to discover more about her talents and her personality. She believes part of Walden’s sense of community comes from everyone learning to reach out to those around them and discover what makes them special. It made her want to learn about others and celebrate the diversity of her peers.

The first time Sasha sang Goodnight Music, she felt she would never forget the people at Walden. Everyone came together to commemorate the events of the day and the progress made as individuals and as a group. People come to Walden expecting a typical camp, but Walden helps people get comfortable being themselves in a community. For Sasha, Walden helped her learn to trust herself more and to be more assertive in school, with friends, and as a composer.

In 2016, Sasha wrote a festival piece at Walden that helped her discover, for the first time, her personal style.

It was a piece about dreams. The feedback and acceptance by her peers and mentors at Walden was life-changing. Hearing other people her age affirm her music inspired her to continue writing music. She now attempts to think about relationships and emotion with every piece she composes. She attributes this important aspect of her life to the community of Walden, and she thinks about it every day.