Transitioning From Camp to Home

It’s hard for us to believe, but the summer is just about to come to a close! It seems as though the end of camp sneaks up on us every year. Color War, the last big event of the summer, is underway, and before you know it the girls will be packing up their duffels and boarding the buses home.

You probably aren’t surprised to hear that campers sometimes have a hard time settling in to the camp routine at the beginning of the summer. What you might not realize is that your daughter may find it challenging to adjust to life after camp! Bryn Mawr has become a second home over the course of the summer, and she’s gotten used to the routine of camp life. After seven weeks of sharing a cabin with a dozen other girls, eating meals in the loud, spirited dining hall and moving from activity to activity every hour, even girls who can’t wait to get home frequently need a few days to reacclimate to the peace and quite of home. (Even the senior staff and directors go through the same process of readjusting to the “real world” come August!)

In addition to the change of environment, your daughter may be emotional about leaving camp. It’s not at all unusual for campers to feel sad about leaving their “summer sisters” at the end of the season. Don’t worry — it doesn’t mean your daughter isn’t happy to see you! She might just need a little bit of time to get used to being away from camp… just like she needed time to get used to being away from home in June.

The post-camp blues generally fade within a day or two. In the meantime, you can help your daughter make a smooth transition back to home life by asking her to share her summer with you. Look at photos and video on the camp website together and listen to her stories about those moments. Break out the tennis racquets and get her to show you the new skills she picked up on the courts at camp. Admire her arts and crafts projects, listen to her Color War play-by-play, and let her teach you her favorite camp song or cheer. Sharing her memories and lessons from the summer is a great way for your daughter to ease back into life at home while continuing to cherish her camp experience!

War Spirit Chains & Color War

Today is the last day of a very close Color War.  To help give a better perspective of  Bryn Mawr and Spirit Chains, an all camp tradition, a few former campers put together this reflection.  This reflection was read at last night’s Color War event.


One an average day, it takes Bryn Mawr campers twenty minutes after reveille blows to pull on the day’s uniform, brush their teeth, and tie up their laces to be ready for breakfast. Even then, they still sluggishly walk to lineup, roused only by the smell of French toast sticks as they enter the Dining Hall. When the girls are awoken, however, by the urgency of Bunk One’s spirited cries, they are ready, alert, and energized within less than a minute. Surprisingly, the overwhelming rush of people and waves of noise approaching their cabins don’t alarm them. Rather, in less than an instant, the campers know exactly what is happening. A Spirit Chain is about to take place, and before you can say “Color War,” these girls are ready for action.

The campers wait anxiously on their porches, jumping up and down giddily as they anticipate latching onto the chain. Following Cabin One’s lead, the girls hold hands as they trot happily down cabin row, chanting the first spirit chain song. Once the circle is formed, it only takes one look around to see something remarkable unfold. The energy emanating from each individual camper is palpable, and it is shared with all fellow Angels and staff. Spirit chains have the ability to transcend the boundaries between camper and staff, regardless of age or experience. It is a cooperative effort – the first sign that Color War is less about competing with one another, and more about uniting through tradition.

It’s not necessary for the girls to know all the exact words to the songs. They somehow understand that it is more important to contribute their enthusiasm and energy to the Spirit Chain, even if that means simply clapping their hands and screaming for fifteen minutes straight.

It doesn’t take years of camp experience to appreciate why Spirit Chains are meaningful. Underneath the chants and screams, the stomps and claps, Spirit Chains uncover the heart of tradition that keeps Bryn Mawr alive – the true reminder of what camp is all about.