When the sun goes down at Bryn Mawr, the fun is just beginning. Every night after dinner there’s something new to do.
Planning for evening activities is one of the biggest jobs our staff does as we prepare to start the summer. Seven weeks of camp means 48 nights of evening activities, and when you take into consideration that some nights have as many as four or five different activities going on, that means we’re planning hundreds of hours of evening entertainment every year. Some of those nights will include favorite traditional activities like Talent Night, Spirit Night and Gold Rush, but we also want to give campers new, fresh events to look forward to each summer, and that means our program staff and group leaders are constantly working on creative ideas for late-in-the-day fun.
There are a few things we always consider when planning an evening activity. First of all, of course, is safety, followed closely by fun! We work on scheduling a mix of different kinds of activity levels; for example, we know Friday nights are always Talent Night, so we try to make sure either Thursday or Saturday has an evening activity that is more active or athletic.
Another way in which we have to provide balance? Age group-specific vs. all-camp evening activities. Part of the benefit of camp is having younger girls interacting with older girls, providing opportunities to learn leadership and positive role modeling. That’s why every week of camp includes a few evening activities that involve the whole camp — special events like Spirit Night, when each age group gets to show off what makes it special, as well as routine gatherings like our weekly talent shows, when Bunk One girls take the lead as hosts and girls of every age have the chance to share their skills.
At the same time, age-appropriate activities are important, too! That’s why some evening activities are planned for specific age groups. Junior campers get to have some silly fun while senior campers enjoy activities that are designed to appeal to older girls.
For example, in the past week we’ve had several evening activities — College Night, a DJ’ed dance party, Talent Night — that have been for the entire camp to enjoy. And we’ve also had some evenings when campers have had special evening activities planned just for them. Every Monday night for the past 15 summers, juniors have competed in Junior Leagues, a fun, recreational sports league that mingles the younger age groups, introduces new games and gives our oldest juniors a chance to be the leaders for the night. While juniors were playing Leagues and Lower Seniors were off on their overnight trip to the Berkshires, the Upper Seniors bonded at a campfire, Bunk Two had a special age group activity put on by their group leaders, and Bunk One enjoyed “Flick and Float” — a Senior Camp favorite — movie night at the pool! The following night, Junior Camp held the Rainbow Games, while Bunk Two enjoyed their own Flick and Float, Upper Seniors had a special activity planned by their group leaders, and Bunk One hosted another favorite senior activity — a social with our friends from Camp Wayne for Boys.
While there’s nothing quite like the energy of having everyone together for an all-camp evening activity, there’s also something very special about the days when just one, two or a few age groups spend the evening together. It’s a chance for campers to get to know one another better, share new experiences and model leadership and community in a different way every night.