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.