The countdown to camp is ON, and we can’t wait to welcome our newest Angels to Summer 2022 at Bryn Mawr! In this special edition of the Poplar Post, you and your parents can read all about what to expect on the first day of camp.
Birthstone: Emerald Flower: Lily of the valley (represents sweetness, humility, and good luck), hawthorn (represents hope) Famous May birthdays: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (May 2), Adele (May 5), Billy Joel (May 9), Debby Ryan (May 13), Miranda Cosgrove (May 14), Lily-Rose Depp (May 27)
Happy May birthday to Ann (Manor House), Anna (Lodge), Ariana (Bunk One), Grace (Bunk Two), Eden (Upper Juniors), Ella (Lower Seniors), Charlotte (Upper Juniors), Joley (Upper Seniors), Alana (Upper Seniors), Sasha (Lodge), Joia (Upper Juniors), Lily (Bunk One), Ashley (Lodge), Olivia (Bunk Two), Belle (Lodge), Chloe (Upper Seniors), Leah (Bunk Two), Taylor (Lodge), Vera (Lower Seniors), Grace (Lower Juniors), Carly (Bunk Two), and Mikayla (Upper Seniors)!
Every year, we welcome staff from around the country and around the world. Some of them have been working at camp for many years, but even the most experienced camp staff member was once brand new to LBMC! We asked some of our returning staff members how working at Camp Bryn Mawr is is different from what they expected when they first came to camp.
“I truly had no idea what was in store for me before I arrived for my first summer. It turned out to be the hardest, most wonderful and one of a kind experience I could have asked for. I left a piece of my heart at Bryn Mawr, and I had no idea that camp would hold that much power!”
“I went to camp growing up for after-school, track-out, and summer camp. But the culture at Bryn Mawr goes beyond its function as childcare. It cares for the mental, emotional, and social wellbeing of every kid in addition to the physical, and I would argue that it cares for its staff to the same degree. Bryn Mawr is a family at heart.”
“I expected to make the biggest impacts on campers in my program area. It turned out the biggest impacts often happen outside of a program area.”
“The idea of working a full summer was daunting, but once I was there, I was having so much fun and time really flew by.”
“I think I felt a stronger sense of community and belonging than I expected to, being an international staff member. I also feel like I was valued more than I expected to be, and was given more responsibility, which felt really nice.”
“It was way more fun than I expected. I liked that, especially at the beginning, there was an introspection part to it.”
“There are moments and conversations I had with people that I never expected, and it was so good to fully feel alive! Like I was experiencing all the emotions, and for once it was okay, and other people related to me too.”
“It’s completely incomparable to any job I’ve ever had or probably will ever have again. I really feel I gave LBMC my everything. It was a lot — but also a lot of fun and felt good.”
“Bryn Mawr was supposed to be a one-time summer experience while I was still in undergrad. As I go into my 16th summer I can easily say that Bryn Mawr is a special place to work! They call it the Bryn Mawr family for a reason. Working at camp is definitely not the easiest job, but I would say it is the most rewarding job! You are able to make friends with other staff from all over the world, you are in an environment which empowers staff to lead and try new things, you learn to be vulnerable and how to ask for help. This place has shaped me into the person I am today.”
It’s no secret that horses and riding are an important part of camp life at LBMC! For our Angels who love equestrian sports, as well as the girls who attend Bryn Mawr Riding Camp, the stables, arenas and trails are where amazing summer memories are made. To make this magic happen, we rely on staff members who love horses and riding just as much as our campers — but our campers aren’t the only ones who benefit! A summer equestrian job at camp comes with opportunities that our riding staff wouldn’t find anywhere else.
An equestrian summer job with a difference
Ask Emily Tyler, our riding camp director, why she has stayed at Bryn Mawr for more than a decade, and she’ll tell you: Working at camp is an experience like no other.
“The connections and bonds that you make with campers and staff are indescribable,” she said. “You also get to immerse yourself in an environment where you’re learning about all aspects of horse care, stable management, and teaching.”
Camp is a place where equestrians can share their love of horses and riding with the next generation.
“The campers who are here for the equestrian experience, they share that same passion,” Emily said.
Gain teaching experience without turning pro
For competitive amateur riders, there’s a significant benefit to working as a camp counselor: USEF rules have an exemption that specifically allows amateurs to work at camp.
Many equestrian summer jobs have a significant drawback for competitive riders. In order to teach riding lessons for pay, they must give up their amateur status with U.S. Equestrian. It can be a tough choice if you want to gain teaching experience but aren’t ready to compete as a professional.
Because our riding counselors also live in cabins and supervise campers away from the stables, they are able to take advantage of the camp exemption and maintain their amateur status! A summer camp equestrian job is the perfect way to develop your skills as a riding instructor while you continue to show at your preferred level.
Hone your stable management skills (and more)
Between our on-campus riding stable and our 50-acre Bryn Mawr Farms complex, our riding staff cares for about 40 horses each summer. Our horses come from the equestrian teams at the University of Findlay and Centenary University, and Emily and her staff take pride in caring for these animals, who need to remain in tip-top shape for intercollegiate competition. It’s a great opportunity to learn and improve stable management skills.
“We monitor for specific horses’ nutrition, hoof care, wound care, and basic health management,” Emily explained. “Our staff really get to learn a lot about caring for horses and running a stable.”
But one of the things that makes camp special, she added, is that there is so much to experience outside the barn.
“The benefit of being at camp is you get to try new things,” Emily said. “Campfires, paddle boarding, tubing, adventure programs — you get to do all the ‘camp’ things.” That includes favorite fun traditions in the arena as well, like horse shows, fun rides and games, horse beauty contests, and in-house competitions for staff and campers.
Make friendships that last
Above all else, Emily added, the best thing about an equestrian job at camp is the same thing that makes any camp job special: friendship.
“You make friends from all over,” she said. “You meet people from all different walks of life — not just staff but campers, too. You form close bonds with people from all over the world.”
When you combine that with the teaching experience, professional development, and fun, she said, it’s hard to compare working at camp to anything else.
“Camp is a one-of-a-kind experience,” Emily said. “There’s no other equestrian job quite like it.”
Music is a part of every day at camp! From the first sounds of Reveille to the final notes of Taps, we are always singing, dancing and getting energized by our favorite songs. Whether it’s a Dining Hall cheer, the Alma Mater, or the hit song of the summer, there are certain tunes that just feel like camp. We asked some of our summer camp staff about the songs that say “Bryn Mawr” to them:
You’re in charge of picking music for the new staff recruiting video. The first scene is a sweeping shot over Cabin Row as camp is coming to life first thing in the morning. What song do you pick to accompany this scene, and why?
“I would choose the song ‘Love Myself’ by Hailee Steinfeld. In my time at Bryn Mawr, I found that I got to know myself better, learned to love myself, and relocated my inner child.”
“‘Beautiful Day’ by U2. I’m sure there are songs that campers may be more familiar with, but this is the first song that came to mind and was truly what I thought every single morning on the way to our early leadership meetings: ‘It’s a beautiful day!!’”
Birthstone: Diamond Flower: Daisy (represents innocence) and sweet pea (represents greetings and goodbyes) Famous April birthdays: Robert Downey Jr. (April 4), Paul Rudd (April 6), Elle Fanning (April 9), Brooklyn Decker (April 12), John Cena (April 23) and Lizzo (April 27)
Happy April birthday to Jordy (Bunk 2), Becca (Bunk 2), Emma (Bunk 1), Greta (Bunk 1), Julia (Manor House), Hailey (Lodge), Lucy (Lower Juniors), Sophia (Lodge), Julia (Upper Juniors), Mia (Manor House), Ruth (Upper Juniors), Zoey (Lower Seniors), Hannah (Upper Seniors), Lily (Upper Seniors), Saanvi (Lower Juniors), Jaden (Bunk 2), Reese (Upper Seniors), Yazzy (Lower Juniors), Sadie (Upper Juniors), Deia (Bunk 2) and Jenna (Lower Seniors)!
Some say the highlight every year during the month of March is March Madness Basketball. While I do love a good bracket, the highlight for me is my own personal form of March Madness: March Meeting!
March Meeting marks the moment when our rising Super Seniors officially become Bunk One and start preparing to take on all of the leadership roles that come with that title. The girls come up to camp for a night to participate in team building, design their special uniform, decide the Color War themes and more. The day is jam-packed with meetings, activities and fun. Of course, camp favorites like Asian Fusion are involved 🙂
For me as an alumna, March Meeting is so special because I can remember the feeling of becoming Bunk One back in 2010, and I get to watch girls have the same experience that I did: the pure joy and uncontainable excitement that it is finally their turn.
Somehow it seems that every year I say “I can’t believe these girls are Bunk One,” and this year, that could not be more true. The campers of BOS ’22 are the girls who were in the Manor House eight years ago when I came back to work at camp after spending a few summers away from LBMC. For that reason, this March Meeting was extra special to me — because in camp staff years, it’s like I made it to my own Bunk One summer all over again!
What else goes on at March Meeting? Well… Surprises are an important part of the magic of camp, and just like Chocolate Banana Night and Color War break, there are some things about March Meeting that we can’t tell you about until it is your turn! All I will say now is that I am SUPER excited about BOS ’22… and the Color War themes are AMAZING. Get ready for an unbelievable summer led by this awesome group!
Working at camp is an experience unlike any other! Summer camp jobs are great for developing skills like communication, adaptability, and creativity — experiences that will serve camp staff alumni well in any career field. But camp jobs provide more than just valuable work experience. As a member of our summer camp staff, you become part of an incredible community, living, working and playing alongside co-workers and campers who start to feel like a big extended family. Many of our staff members find that one summer simply isn’t enough — they want to come back year after year to continue growing, teaching, and immersing themselves in the Bryn Mawr spirit!
We asked some of our returning staff members to think back to the moment when they first knew that they would be coming back to LBMC for another summer at camp. Here are some of their memories:
“There wasn’t one single moment that made me want to return to camp; it was once I was home and couldn’t stop talking about camp and going on and on about how utterly wonderful it was and how much I missed it.”
“At some point, a Division Head asked me to envision one of my hardest days at home and then think about how that compares to my hardest day at camp… they didn’t compare!!! The hard day at camp felt about a million times better than a hard day in the real world. This made me put the camp experience into perspective … I turned my attitude and started practicing gratitude, then decided that coming back to camp was a necessity and started ‘living 10 for 2.’”
“Group Leaders were on Cabin Row supervising. Someone was playing music over a speaker, and a bunch of us were passing a ball. The circle kept growing as more girls came over to join; it didn’t matter how old you were or if you knew anyone else. The sunset was gorgeous and everyone was laughing. I felt goofy and alive in a way I haven’t since I was a kid. There was no judgment about your throwing skills, only support and love.”
“The last week of camp I couldn’t believe two months were already gone, and I couldn’t believe all the great experiences I had in my job, with campers and meeting new staff. In that moment, I knew I was going to miss camp so much, so I told myself: ‘You know what? This doesn’t have to be the last time being here at camp. I’m coming back next summer for more experiences!’”
“It was the first couple of weeks at camp when I knew I would be back. The staff and campers were so welcoming and made this ‘job’ way too much fun not to come back. There was an indescribable feeling and something that clicked with me the first week when campers arrived. I knew I would be with LBMC for the long haul.”
“I was so surprised by Sing, in the best way. At first it sounded kind of weird and really stressful for this one thing, but once I experienced it, I understood what it all meant… How girls grow up going to camp, and doing this and being on stage and having Jane say one last thing, it was really special. I thought about how lucky the girls were to have that, and how special it is to be a part of their experience and to get to see all their hard work come to life. I would love to keep being a part of this and seeing everyone grow.”
“When the girls asked me to come back! They begged! Of course I had made heartfelt connections, and I want to see them again, want to watch them turn into amazing young women and hopefully maybe even help in the process.”
Working at camp is more than just a summer job — it means joining a community with its own history, traditions, and culture. We often hear campers talk about their “summer sisters” and their “camp family,” and that got us thinking… if Bryn Mawr were a real member of the family, who would it be? We asked some of our returning staff to imagine LBMC as a relative. Here’s what they had to say:
“Bryn Mawr would be a grandma. One, because Bryn Mawr has been around a long time! Second, because Bryn Mawr cares about you and your development as a person.”
“Camp would be the fun aunt 😂 It’s your home away from home and you can do all sorts of things that no one outside of camp ever has to know about. You have so much fun without a care in the world, it puts a pause in the outside reality, and you still grow so much in ways you wouldn’t have normally.”
“Bryn Mawr is an older sister. You learn so many lessons but also can be silly and goofy with them.”
“Grandpa. Because he’s far off and full of every possible range of emotions. When you finally see him, it’s a big deal and you cherish it. He can be stern and has a lot of expectations for you to be a respectable child but also knows you’re a child wants you to be happy and enjoy life. He’s one to make proud and to be proud of.”
“I feel like there’s definitely a nurturing element of Bryn Mawr, so it has to be someone older, but then it’s also really fun and a little bit out of everyone’s comfort zone, so more like a fun cool auntie.”
“Bryn Mawr would be like an uncle to me. I don’t see them very often, but when I do, it’s like no time has passed. They are wise and after seeing them, I feel as though I have grown immensely.”
Working at camp is like being the fun aunt!
“I think Bryn Mawr would be the aunt of the family. I really look up to my aunts for comfort, laughter, hugs, advice and I feel like we get all of that at camp. The aunt is important because we are close and they get to see us grow up, but it’s different than a relationship with our parents. We know they care and love us and want what’s best for us, but we also get to have a little independence with them and see ourselves grow.”
“I don’t think you can pick just one. Bryn Mawr encompasses every role of a family, which is why it is so special. Bryn Mawr provides the love and support of a mom and dad as they guide the staff to grow and learn through every experience. Bryn Mawr provides the siblings to laugh and cry with through the good and challenging times. And of course the extended family that brings the impromptu moments, silliness, and adventure into our lives!”
“Bryn Mawr is my mom. Bryn Mawr is my collection of aunts I admire. Bryn Mawr is my sisters. Bryn Mawr is my endless female cousins. Bryn Mawr to me is every fierce and powerful woman in my life, in my family. There is no place else where I feel so empowered and needed and like I am welcomed with open arms. Bryn Mawr envelops you in love and warmth and empathy and that inspires you to give that back tenfold. It inspires me.”