Seven-Week All Girls Camping

A while back, we posted about “summer sisters” and the friendships that are formed at camp. Friendship is the number one reason campers love Bryn Mawr and come back summer after summer, but it’s only part of the picture. Seven-week camping — particularly in a girls-only atmosphere — offers a huge range of opportunities, advantages, and experiences campers just couldn’t have in any other setting.

We always like to say that “a day at camp is like a week in the real world.” That’s because we pack more into a single day than could ever fit into one 24-hour period back home. In one single day, a camper can literally go from the pool to the climbing wall to the riding ring to a tennis lesson to a soccer game to a play rehearsal, all before dinner, and then fit in a game of tennis at campus time before performing in an all-camp talent show. Multiply that by seven days a week, and then by seven weeks, and you can start to see just how much instruction and activity we pack into every summer at camp.

A seven-week session gives campers the opportunity to make incredible strides in skill development. Camp alone can’t make your child a great dancer, soccer player, rider, actor, artist or gymnast, but we do provide high-level instruction on a daily basis to help her learn, grow and build lifelong skills in all the activities she enjoys. Younger campers experience a taste of everything camp has to offer, and as girls get older they can choose to spend more time focusing on and improving in the activities they enjoy the most.

Seven-week sessions also let campers see long-term projects through from beginning to end. In our glass fusing program, for example, campers start out at the beginning of the summer with a blank piece of paper and a pencil; over the course of seven weeks, those projects go all the way from an idea and a sketch to a fully-realized, completed work of art. And at the same time, they’re also improving their jump shots, perfecting their serves, and taking first steps toward learning completely new activities, like weight training, field hockey or stagecraft.

We think there’s something particularly special about single-sex camps that helps amplify all the benefits of full-season camping. One of the best things about Bryn Mawr is that, in the all-girls environment, campers feel completely comfortable and free to try new things. The camp uniform policy means campers aren’t wrapped up in appearances, and with no boys around, the focus is really on camp activities. When girls aren’t worried about impressing anyone else, they’re much less reluctant to try something new, and consequently they’re far more willing to take on new experiences. That willingness to try new things translates quickly to building new skills, learning new activities — and taking advantage of all the opportunities they’re offered, all summer long.

Most of all (and we just can’t say this enough), a seven-week, all-girls environment is an incubator for lifelong friendships. Campers are encouraged to compete in healthy ways — not over clothes or boys, but on the playing field, with good sportsmanship (or should we say sportswomanship?) — and, after the game is over, they walk back to their cabins with their arms around each other, confident in themselves and in friendships that have formed over many games, many meals, many shared achievements, and many, many days at camp. Our campers talk about “living ten months for two” — spending the year waiting to get back to their summer home at Bryn Mawr, where they can grow and try new things, surrounded by staff and fellow campers they know want them to succeed and feel good about themselves.

Staffing & The Hiring Process

When we meet people and tell them we’re camp directors, the number one question we hear is: “But what do you do all winter?” If they only knew! It really does take a whole year to plan for camp, and work is already beginning on the next summer as soon as the buses roll off Main Campus in August.

One of the biggest projects we have to handle is hiring staff members. During the summer, we employ more than 200 staff members. Even with a 40% staff return rate (over 90% for leadership staff), we still need to hire, a handful of leadership staff, counselors and support staff.  An average of three to four staff members are hired each week to make sure all our positions are filled by the time we’re ready to open summer camp. Continue reading “Staffing & The Hiring Process”

Summer Sisters: Friendships, Experience and Returning to Summer Camp for Girls

Summer Sisters

Have you ever heard the phrase “summer sisters”? If you didn’t go to sleepaway camp as a child, you might not know what we’re talking about. For girls who grow up going to camp, “summer sisters” are the friends they make at the lunch table, in the bunk, on the tennis courts, or around the campfire — the friends with whom they share a special bond for life. Summer sisters grow up to be college roommates, bridesmaids, godmothers, and friends for life — the kind of friend you can call up when you’re feeling down and know she’ll be able to say just the thing to make you forget all your troubles. Continue reading “Summer Sisters: Friendships, Experience and Returning to Summer Camp for Girls”

Welcome to the Bryn Mawr Girls Summer Camp Blog

Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Welcome to the first-ever Lake Bryn Mawr Camp blog post! Although it’s January and summer couldn’t seem more distant, here in the winter office we’re deep into planning for the 2011 camp season, and we’re already looking forward to that day in June when the buses will roll onto Main Campus and our campers will be with us once again!

One of our New Year’s resolutions was to come up with ways to stay more connected with our parents — seasoned veterans, first-timers and even those who are still in the process of picking a camp. Many of you have joined our Facebook pages (“Lake Bryn Mawr Camp” for current campers and families, and “Lake Bryn Mawr Camp Alumni” for alums), and some of you are even following us on Twitter — @LBMCAngels. But we wanted to do more. Continue reading “Welcome to the Bryn Mawr Girls Summer Camp Blog”