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.