Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content.  What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

175x175

169.97 exact miles away is my home away from home. Lake Bryn Mawr Camp requires no stress, sadness or problems. Camp will always be the best friend I never had that is there for me and supports every decision I make. Being a camper signifies more than just playing sports and making new friends. It only took me seven summers to fully understand what it genuinely means to be content. For many summers I was trying to fit in and experience new opportunities but little did I know I was maturing and becoming the person I am today.

It came sudden. It came fast. I was laying down at Wembley, the soccer fields. After I went on a long run, I watched the clouds roll by as I caught myself smiling for no reason. That’s when I knew… this is the place I belong. There was beauty surrounding me with my best friends, environment and even the taste of the mac and cheese on Thursday nights. Camp had all the necessities to reach nirvana and after realizing this, I promised myself that camp would hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life.

Spending time away from my parents is extremely difficult but after many summers coping with this, I developed a bond with my summer parents who watch over me and teach me lessons even my own birth parents cannot. They are the two people in the world that treat me like their own child and having a second set of “parents” shows how blessed I truly am. The owners of the camp Dan and Jane check up on me daily and even schedule meetings to just chat. These are the people in my life that bring comfort and joy to make me feel special.

Most teenagers have friends that stab their back and are friends with them for wrong reasons but I am blessed with remarkable camp friends. They show me how to see the positive things in hard situations and to love someone for who they are inside. I met my best friends that I will have eternally and this is only because of bryn mawr. My friends do not care about social class or wealth and still teach me to be patient and empathetic.

Bryn Mawr is located on 25 acres of beautiful green forest, which shows the earths true beauty. At home, we cut trees down for shops and factories but here is where I can smell the earth and feel like I am apart of something. All of the colors come together to form the beauty in life that others do not see. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Bryn Mawr is beautiful in every way possible.

The saying, “money can’t buy you happiness,” may be true but if it were not for camp I would not experience the happiness I have today. Lake Bryn Mawr camp has brought complete happiness to my life and will always share an important place in my heart. Lake Bryn Mawr Camp is where I belong and the reason I am smiling today.

Allie Gross

 

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

Sports: Good for the body, good for the mind…

We all know sports are good exercise for children’s bodies. But there are so many other benefits. At camp, in addition to teaching new skills, we talk a lot about teamwork, confidence and being a good sport. Sometimes the most valuable lessons, though, are a little less expected — and they help young athletes develop strengths that will serve them well not just on the playing field but in all aspects of life.

In this great post, blogger Jade Sharp lists “6 reasons to put yourself and your kids in gymnastics.” Among the reasons you might expect — life skills, patience — Sharp lists a surprising benefit: failure. We’ll let her explain in her own words:

“In gymnastics, you fail more than you succeed. In fact, we don’t even see failure as traditional failure. It’s just a necessary part of learning, growth and development. What I mean by that is, you rarely get things right. There is always a component of your training that needs work. You try a new skill, you will most likely not get that skill -1st time or even the 100th time but under the guidance of a supportive gymnastics coach, you persist. You eventually get it. You fail more than you succeed but the failures are the very important and necessary steps to success.”

As parents, we naturally want to protect our children from failure. How much thought and effort do we put into helping prepare our children for success? We want them to succeed in school, in relationships, in life — and it’s tempting to try to insulate them from failure as much as possible. But in protecting them from getting things wrong, we may be doing them a disservice. Part of the process of learning is making mistakes.

In one of our favorite books, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, author Wendy Mogel talks about the importance of encouraging children to stretch themselves even when we know that means they will sometimes fall short:

“If they don’t have the chance to be bad, they can’t choose to be good. If they don’t have the chance to fail, they can’t learn. And if they aren’t allowed to face scary situations, they’ll grow up to be frightened of life’s simplest challenges.”

But when they are allowed to try, and fail, and try again, the result is confidence. As Jade Sharp puts it: “Children feel a sense of achievement as they overcome the challenge of learning new physical skills and movements that they once feared and thought of as impossible.” And one of the great things about summer camp is that it’s a safe place to try and fail — not only physically safe, but emotionally safe as well, as campers are surrounded by supportive coaches, bunkmates and counselors who encourage them to get back up and learn from each and every attempt.

Another surprising benefit of exercise? Brain development! According to the New York Times, studies have found a correlation between “children’s aerobic fitness and their brain structure, with areas of the brain devoted to thinking and learning being generally larger among youngsters who are more fit.” Even children who are overweight or out-of-shape have performed better when they go for a walk before an academic test. And in a recent Illinois study, children who participated in an after-school sports program showed “substantial improvements” in cognitive tests — evidence that there are long-term intellectual benefits to physical activity.

What are some of the unexpected benefits your daughter has enjoyed by participating in her favorite sports?

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

“This experience helped me learn how to be responsible for people other than myself…”

I have been going to the same camp for the past 7 years of my life. Before I was a camper, however, I was an Explorer. This past summer, now that I was in the oldest age group, I decided to help out with the Explorer Program. First we had to greet the shy campers coming off of the bus, and explain to them everything that camp had to offer. From there, we were meant to be their part-time counselors. This included taking them to and from each activity, making sure they knew the Talent Show dance we choreographed for them, helping them get to bed on time, and even helping them get dressed in the morning. Although difficult at times, this was quite the interesting experience.

It was strange to think that I was once one of those little girls who refused to put on a bathing suit when it was time to go to the pool, or asked a million questions about being in Bunk One (the oldest age group). This experience helped me learn how to be responsible for people other than myself. I also realized I should’ve been more appreciative of my past counselors. I only spent three days with these girls which I thought was difficult. My counselors had to spend 7 weeks with us.

Going into it, I was thinking pretty negatively. I don’t have a lot of patience, especially not with small children. But what I wanted more than anything was for them to see all that I do in my camp. It is my favorite place in the world, and I wanted all of those girls to have the same fantastic experience I did at Bryn Mawr. It was pretty tiring to spend all day with them, but in the end I believe it was worth it. All in all, it was a fun experience.

– Rachel Sznajderman

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

A Post-Camp Reflection…

If someone had asked me a year ago if I was interested in working at a sleep-away camp in Pennsylvania, I would have asked them what a sleep-away camp was. Once they had explained it to me, I probably would have laughed. A lot changes in a year. I went to college, moved out of my parents’ house, made new friends and lost a few old ones. Of course, not just the conditions of my life changed: I did too. Fast-forward a year and I’m writing a reflection blog in the conference room at Bryn Mawr Camp about the last two months of my life. Right now, I’m realizing that I’ve changed a lot more in these last two months than I have in the last two years.

I cry now. I did not used to cry. If I look back from when I was ten to when I turned nineteen, I cried about seven times, but something happens when you start taking care of children. I’m blaming it on hormones. I’m also blaming my campers because they also have changed so much throughout the summer, and watching that change has made me so overwhelmingly happy. They have taught me so much and I only hope that I have instilled something of myself into them. If I have, I doubt I would even know it because I don’t even think they know what they taught me.

One of my campers began the summer constantly repeating the phrase “It’s not fair.” While I knew fairness was not turning out all of the cabin lights during rest hour so that she could sleep, I had a hard time helping her to understand that the rest of the cabin has needs too. They don’t need to play cards in the dark. Somewhere along the line, she had been taught that fairness was her getting what she desired, not everyone getting what they deserved. She deserved to take a nap, but not for everyone to sit in darkness while she did it. Unintentionally, she created an opportunity for the both of us to learn about equality. Somewhere in the last few weeks, she stopped saying “It’s not fair.”

Coming into this summer, I expected to learn a lot of things. One of the things I knew I would learn about was homesickness and all of the reasons a person can feel it. There is not much they could teach us during staff week about homesick campers; only to steer the conversation towards things they enjoy about camp. Every camper is different, and all tears have a different root. I learned to listen, and to hug, and to make them laugh. I had two consistently homesick campers; one just needed be distracted because she loves camp and misses her family (we usually just chatted. Sometimes our conversations ended with planning our weddings), but the other one did not love camp and she missed her parents so much. She cried every night for the first week and several days after visiting day. The best I could do was listening to her and enjoying her stories.

I also learned to play. On visiting day, when the parents had departed, most of my girls were in tears. I remember walking over to another bunk to borrow a screwdriver. The ceramics director was standing in the doorway. I don’t know why, but I decided to scare her. She jumped a mile high and turned around with a super-soaker in her hands. I was chased through the entirety of the lower senior bunks for the next two minutes. After she thoroughly soaked me, my girls came out bearing shaving cream. Soon, our water fight turned into a massive battle between all of the lower seniors and a few upper senior cabins. It was beautiful.

Most of what I learned became instrumental in working at camp and could not have been learned in the pages of the staff handbook. I don’t think I could have understood the role my group leader would play in my summer or how my co-counselors and I would truly function as a team. This team became essential during my everyday life at camp and built a support system that allowed each one of us to grow. The relationship that I built with my co-counselors was one that was fortified with the shared devotion to our campers. We shared laughter, frustration, concern, and an infallible love for our girls. If there is a person that keeps you sane, it’s the other adults living in a bunk with nine pre-teen girls.

Everything at camp created wonderful opportunities to learn and learning often took its shape in leadership. Anyone can tell you desirable qualities of a leader, but you can never understand their value until you put them into practice. Even though I knew before that leadership had a great deal to do with listening, I do not think I could have given you one instance where I had actually done it; and that is not because I was a bad leader, but because I had never been in a role where I had needed the skill. When I was given a group of nine-year-olds and told to help them create their own scene for their play, listening to and incorporating their ideas became essential.

There is so much that I have learned in classrooms. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire, and mitosis are both important parts of our educations, but we need more. Camp gave me more. Camp gave me skills that I will be able to use for my entire life. I hope that wherever I go in the next few years that I will listen, play, cry, lead, and be fair. There is so much that we can learn at a desk, but that is only measured in quantity. To keep learning with quality, we need to be on our feet.

Laura “Bronte” Murrell

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

Alumni Day: We welcome you BACK to Lake Bryn Mawr!

Campers are used to seeing visitors on camp on Saturdays; most weekends during the summer, we welcome prospective camp families with camper-guided tours and songs in the dining hall. This Saturday, though, was a little different: We welcomed alumni back to camp!

For the last decade, we have set aside one Saturday each summer as a special Alumni Day when we open up camp – during Color War, of course – to former campers who want to come back and visit. It’s a special chance for them to see what has changed at camp (and what hasn’t), and for today’s campers to hear from alumni who have carried the spirit of the Angel Code with them well past their Bunk One summers.

Alumni who visited Saturday got to enjoy lunch in the dining hall, organized activities around camp, songs in the dining hall and tours of campus. A favorite highlight of alumni tours is always the Fieldhouse, where tour guides know to budget for extra time as our grown-up Angels flash back to their Bunk One summers, looking for their backdrops on the ceiling!

Alumni Day isn’t just an opportunity to show former campers what Bryn Mawr is like today – it’s an important reminder to everyone on camp that the memories we’re making today with our campers will be with them all their lives. From veteran senior staff members to first-time cabin counselors, everyone who works at camp finishes Alumni Day with a renewed appreciation for the impact we have on our campers. It only takes a few minutes of talking with alumni in their 20s, 30s and 40s who still vividly remember lessons they learned from their LBMC counselors to realize that we have a lasting impact on our campers. That reminder is the valuable gift our visiting alumni give to our staff.

Our alumni give an important gift to our campers, too: the gift of tradition! It’s incredible to see realization dawn on our younger campers’ faces when the women on campus for Alumni Day launch into the same cheers and songs we still sing in the dining hall every day – and they still know every word, either because they grew up singing them, too, or even because they wrote some themselves! Every Color War has its own story, and we love seeing alumni talk with current campers as they share the tales of summers gone by.

For campers, Alumni Day is a sign that no matter where they go or how they change, Bryn Mawr will always be with them. And for alumni, the day is a reminder that no matter how far they travel, Bryn Mawr will always be home.

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

Color War 101!

What do blow dryers, soccer balls and chess pieces have in common? In the real world, maybe not much. But every girl in camp has spent the last week trying to figure out the connection between these clues to the 2014 Color War break!

This week, the moment everyone has been waiting for all summer finally arrived: Color War broke, and the Green and Gold teams are now fully engaged in the annual celebration of athleticism, creativity, tradition and spirit.

If you’ve had a phone call or a letter from your camper this week, you might have thought she was speaking a foreign language at times as she described to you the excitement buzzing through the air at camp. If you’re feeling lost, don’t worry – we’ve put together this quick and handy guide to LBMC Color War terms so you can follow along with all the action.

Break: This is the official event that lets campers know Color War has begun. The exact date and time of the break are unknown to almost everyone on camp — although there’s plenty of speculation about when it will come! The break is usually built around a theme (not to be confused with the Color War themes, below); this year, that theme was Harry Potter.  And color war broke out tonight!

Chain: Spirit chains are a traditional camp activity done on Visiting Day and in the lead-up to Color War. Starting at their own cabin, Bunk One campers work their way up Cabin Row hand-in-hand, leading cheers and collecting campers in one long human chain as they go. The chain eventually ends up in a giant circle on Main Campus, where campers do more cheers and songs – until, eventually, they are rewarded with a clue!

Clue: Clues offer campers hints about the theme and time of the break. Sometimes they are delivered at the end of a spirit chain, but other clues appear at surprising times – like one clue this year that was delivered by “owl mail” from the dining hall skylights. (Helium balloons stood in for live owls.) This year, clues gradually revealed that Voldemort, Harry Potter’s enemy, was collecting meaningful objects from around camp (including a heart, a blow dryer, a soccer ball and an angel to represent the four values of the Angel Code) to create “horcruxes” and return to power. One of the clues usually comes with an amulet for the Bunk One campers to wear; this year, they received chess pieces that they were told they would need to “defeat” Voldemort.

Fake: Adding to the anticipation, the real break is generally preceded by a series of “fake breaks” that leave campers guessing. The real break involves the whole camp, with senior staff members playing the characters engaged in the action; this year, encouraged by Harry Potter (Played by Ben), campers had to work together to defeat Voldemort by reciting the Angel Code, doing cheers, singing, and using Bunk One’s chess pieces to win a game of life-sized “wizards’ chess” to save Jane, who had been captured by Voldemort (played by Scott). Campers knew the real break had arrived when they saw green and gold lights appear in the shape of two letter Gs, followed by celebratory fireworks.

Green and Gold: Our official camp colors are also the official names of our Color War teams. Green battles Gold to determine not only who can win at contests of skill, speed, agility and creativity, but who can be the most spirited and most sportsmanlike throughout the course of Color War.

Themes: Not to be confused with the theme of the Color War break, the “Color War themes” are a pair of themes selected by Bunk One before the summer even begins. Each team has a theme that provides a foundation for its cheers, songs, mascots and its presentations at Sing. The themes are closely-guarded secrets, known only to the Bunk One campers, until they are revealed the morning after Color War breaks. This year, the themes are Take Me Out to the Ballgame (green) and The Lorax (gold).

Sing: The culminating event of Color War, Sing is a very traditional event that involves every single counselor and camper. Each girl in camp wears a costume that fits in with her team’s theme. The teams present their songs and cheers, along with musical interludes, and a stage movement and elaborate stage scenery presented by Bunk One. Sing is also when each team presents its backdrop, a special banner painted by Bunk One that will hang on camp as a monument to that year’s Color War.

Final Fight: On the last night of Color War, after Sing, all of camp gathers for one last event – a “final fight” that reveals the winning team. Presented by members of the senior staff, the final fight has taken many forms over the years – a dodgeball tournament, a tug o’war, a jousting match – between staff members representing the Green and Gold teams. When the dust clears, the color that has won the fight represents the team that earned the most points and won Color War.

Whew! We hope you enjoyed this crash course in Bryn Mawr Color War. Of course, there are many more details and many more stories to be shared, and we’re sure your campers will be bursting with them when they step off the bus next weekend! Color War is one of our favorite camp traditions because while there are certain things about it that stay the same from year to year, each Color War is truly unique because it’s the campers who make it special. They bring the spirit, the creativity and the sense of pride in their team, and we are always impressed at how Green and Gold alike come together to make this traditional event their own.

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

What’s the best age group to be in at camp? We’re pretty sure it depends completely on which age group you ask!

The middle of the summer is always busy with tournaments, trips, socials, outings and playdates in addition to the regular schedule of camp activities. While we all enjoy the traditional all-camp events like Carnival and Spirit Week, this time of the camp season provides opportunities for the various age groups to enjoy special activities designed just for them. These age group-specific programs let campers get to know other girls in their age groups, develop peer leadership and communication skills, and explore new group dynamics outside the usual settings of cabin, dining hall and program area.

Here’s a look at some of the age group adventures campers have been enjoying over the past few days:

• Lower and Upper Juniors creative writing workshop: A chance for some of our oldest juniors to get in touch with their thoughtful sides and explore creative self-expression.

• Senior Camp age group overnight trips: With Lower Seniors off to Baltimore, Upper Seniors sailing around Mystic, Bunk Two exploring Boston and Bunk One venturing to Vermont and Montreal, this has been a big week for overnight trips!

• Upper Seniors Woodstock Museum trip: Three days of peace, love and music make one perfect day trip for the Upper Seniors! The girls got a firsthand look at the famous fields of Yasgur’s Farm, where one of the most famous events of the 1960s took place.

• LITs volunteer with Habitat for Humanity: Leadership doesn’t just mean taking charge — it also means giving back. That lesson was at the forefront of the LITs’ trip to Newburgh, New York, to work on a series of houses being built by the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

• Manor House/Lodge play: Our youngest campers took to the Apple O stage in “Say What You Want to Say,” an exclusive new show with an original script! Everyone in camp was impressed by their stage presence, their message and their energy.

• Bunk One/Two bowling with Camp Greylock: Our seniors love seeing their friends from other camps, including the young men of Camp Greylock, who are always kind enough to stop by Honesdale on their overnight trips. These visits are especially memorable when we get to do something off camp, like hit the lanes and show the boys a thing or two about bowling!

• Junior Camp special day: Each summer, there’s one special day on camp when all of the seniors are away — and on that day, the juniors play! For more than a decade, we’ve dedicated one day each summer to a special all-Junior-Camp theme day, when Upper Juniors get the chance to step into a leadership role and encourage their teammates to get into the fun and spirit of a unique competition.

From long bus rides and exploring new places to wacky competitions and onstage performances, age group activities give campers new ways to explore camp — and to celebrate all the age-appropriate and wonderful things about being exactly who they are today!

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

The Angel Code at Camp: How We Live Our Values Every Day.

Life at Bryn Mawr is guided by a set of values called the Angel Code, and every camper down to the littlest Manor House girl can tell you what those values are: Loyalty, Beauty, Merit and Comradeship. The Angel Code is more than just a set of words, though. It’s a toolbox that campers can take back into their everyday lives to help them become thoughtful, compassionate young women. That’s why it’s so important to us that the Angel Code isn’t just a set of words we recite; it’s a value set that’s integrated into everyday life at camp. Our programs don’t just teach athletic and artistic skills. They reinforce the values that we hold dear.

As we walk around camp on an average day, we are constantly encountering examples of the Angel Code being promoted in our program areas. We often start in the kitchen, where campers taking a cooking lesson are learning comradeship as they work together to measure and assemble a recipe. This week, cooking classes staged a “Cupcake Wars” competition, and participants got a firsthand lesson in how comradeship and merit go hand-in-hand as teams worked together to come up with the best cupcake creation!

When we leave cooking and head toward Main Campus, we usually stop off at the SHAC for arts and crafts, which is always busy and always humming with activities that promote the Angel Code. If comradeship had a smell, we’re pretty sure it would be tempera paint! Campers often come in to do group projects as a bunk, or to work side-by-side on individual projects, giving and receiving friendly feedback. One of the most popular everyday activities in arts and crafts is card making. Campers (and counselors!) are constantly coming in to make thank you, birthday or welcome back cards – each a little example of loyalty and inner beauty. Arts and crafts director Michele Beus promotes merit, encouraging campers to let go of any perfectionist tendencies and just enjoy the opportunity to try something new. She’ll often remind campers that even professional artists try new things, make mistakes and learn from them – all while enjoying the experience of creating something new.

From arts and crafts, we might walk down the road to the lakeshore, where examples of merit abound: Campers on the climbing wall, trying for personal bests (even if that means climbing just one foot higher than they did last time). Campers on the ropes course, navigating tough obstacles. Campers on the waterski dock, working on a new skill level, whether it’s moving from the boom to the rope or building more advanced ski skills. Hard work and personal challenges are met with real rewards here as campers experience the exhilaration of accomplishment from the top of the zipline or the middle of the lake.

It’s just a short stroll from here to the nature museum, where we are surrounded – literally – by examples of beauty. The nature museum is a place where girls see that beauty doesn’t necessarily have to be on the outside. The animals that call the nature museum home aren’t always the most cuddly or adorable creatures, but as campers get to know them, they see that underneath a strange-looking exterior, there’s often a fascinating story and a friendly personality. Our animal residents (in the nature museum as well as the stables) are also a good lesson in loyalty, as campers can see how they depend on humans for the things they need to survive and how important it is for us to ensure they are properly cared for.

Our camp circuit next heads through the athletic fields, starting with volleyball and continuing to basketball, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, fitness, dance and gymnastics. At each stop, we see campers learning the value of hard work – merit – as their skills increase, as well as comradeship. Teamwork is as important off the field as on, and you can’t visit a scrimmage or gymnastics team practice without hearing the girls on the sidelines or waiting for an apparatus cheering on their teammates who are giving it their all.

The Angel Code is an important part of our camp tradition, but it’s so much more than just a poem or an idea. All it takes is a quick walk around camp to see that it’s deeply ingrained into the way we live at Bryn Mawr!

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

Our first “Peanut Night” of the summer…

Tradition is important at Bryn Mawr all summer long, but especially so during the opening and closing days of camp. In the first days of the summer, returning campers are overflowing with spirit, and new campers are eager to learn more about their new summer home. From the first cheer in the dining hall to the first singing of the Alma Mater, every day brings moments that celebrate the arrival of summer.

But it really feels like camp after Tuesday night — when we celebrated our first Peanut Night of the summer.

Every year, senior campers through Bunk Two are paired with junior campers. Each senior Peanut Mother is there to help her Peanut Daughter navigate life at camp by providing support and care, being a good role model, and helping pass down camp traditions. In return, the relationship with her Peanut Daughter helps each Peanut Mother develop leadership skills like empathy and communication.

If you could be on camp for the first Peanut Night of the summer, you’d be able to sense the excitement in the air as campers eagerly awaited their pairings. Junior campers stayed at their bunks on Tuesday, while Jane and Dan gathered Senior Camp to talk about what it means to be a good Peanut Mother. Then seniors received their Peanut Daughters’ names and bunk numbers and took off down Cabin Row to find their pairs!

Junior campers waited anxiously on their porches, as their Peanut Mothers came to find them.  Everyone had some time to get to know each other on Main Campus.  The night ended with Ice Cream Night and the Olympics Break.

Throughout the summer, there will be all-camp Peanut Nights when Peanut Mothers and Peanut Daughters have opportunities to participate in special activities together. But it’s heartwarming to see how many peanuts seek one another out at other times — during Campus Time, in the dining hall, during all-camp activities — to say hello, share a smile, or give a hug.

Why peanuts?

Traditionally, Peanut Mothers would learn the identities of their Peanut Daughters by cracking open a peanut shell to find a name inside (placed there by the magic of camp!). As camp has changed to accommodate food allergies, the peanut shell has been retired. The name, however, has stuck — and although Peanut Daughters no longer come from peanuts, we’ve found the excitement of Peanut Night is just as great as ever.

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment

Summer 2014 has Officially Begun!

The day has finally arrived — the duffels are unpacked, the buses are deployed, and Summer 2014 has officially begun!

Our counselors have spent the past week getting to know camp and, in a way, getting to know your daughters as they prepare bunks and program areas, learning names and important information about each camper. As excited as the counselors have been for camp to get started, we know campers are even more excited to disembark those buses, find their friends (old and new) and get the summer started.

The first few days of camp are always a settling-in period for everyone, from the newest Manor House camper to the oldest Bunk One girl. Camp has its own unique schedules, policies and routines, and it takes a day or two for everyone to click back into the rhythms of life on Bryn Mawr Mountain. Dan, Jane, the division heads and the group leaders are all actively involved in helping campers and staff settle in to the summer, especially when it comes to facilitating positive communication.

We spend so much time looking at devices these days — computers, mobile phones, tablets — that we get used to communicating with one another through screens. Not that long ago, we would have laughed at the idea of calling our children to the dinner table by phone, but now — how many of us have texted a child from another room in the house? We send emails or texts instead of calling our loved ones on the phone or meeting a friend for coffee and conversation. It’s fast and convenient, but we can’t help wondering how it affects our children, who are growing up in a world in which written electronic communication is the norm and face-to-face conversation seems to be more and more rare.

There’s one place, though, where face-to-face is the only way to communicate: Camp. All day, every day, we are helping campers become confident communicators and constructive problem solvers as they talk to one another in person — no sub-Tweets, re-Grams or Likes!

More than a decade ago, when the question of cell phones and other personal electronics at camp first started coming up, we talked it over and made a conscious decision that we wanted camp to remain a place where kids could truly unplug, engage their imaginations and just be kids. And we are glad to see so many parents who share our belief that the summer is an important respite for young people — a break from the schedules, pressures and commitments of the rest of the year. We even find that our staff members enjoy the time away from their phones and the realization that the world does not stop turning just because they aren’t checking Twitter and Instagram! We love summer because campers get a chance to replace SnapChats with fireside chats and have real conversations instead of watching real-time video. (And who needs Vines when you’ve got a ropes course to swing from?)

Of course, we know our camp parents, who don’t have the luxury of taking the summer off from cell phones and computers, are counting on us to keep you up-to-date on camp news. Look for weekly blog posts as well as photos, videos and more at the secure “My Angel” area of our website. And as always, please feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions about your camper.

Thank you for trusting us with your daughters. We are thrilled to welcome them to camp, and we can’t wait to see what the summer will bring.

Posted in Summer Camp News | Leave a comment