The countdown to camp is ON, and we can’t wait to welcome our newest Angels to Summer 2022 at Bryn Mawr! In this special edition of the Poplar Post, you and your parents can read all about what to expect on the first day of camp.
Birthstone: Emerald Flower: Lily of the valley (represents sweetness, humility, and good luck), hawthorn (represents hope) Famous May birthdays: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (May 2), Adele (May 5), Billy Joel (May 9), Debby Ryan (May 13), Miranda Cosgrove (May 14), Lily-Rose Depp (May 27)
Happy May birthday to Ann (Manor House), Anna (Lodge), Ariana (Bunk One), Grace (Bunk Two), Eden (Upper Juniors), Ella (Lower Seniors), Charlotte (Upper Juniors), Joley (Upper Seniors), Alana (Upper Seniors), Sasha (Lodge), Joia (Upper Juniors), Lily (Bunk One), Ashley (Lodge), Olivia (Bunk Two), Belle (Lodge), Chloe (Upper Seniors), Leah (Bunk Two), Taylor (Lodge), Vera (Lower Seniors), Grace (Lower Juniors), Carly (Bunk Two), and Mikayla (Upper Seniors)!
Every year, we welcome staff from around the country and around the world. Some of them have been working at camp for many years, but even the most experienced camp staff member was once brand new to LBMC! We asked some of our returning staff members how working at Camp Bryn Mawr is is different from what they expected when they first came to camp.
“I truly had no idea what was in store for me before I arrived for my first summer. It turned out to be the hardest, most wonderful and one of a kind experience I could have asked for. I left a piece of my heart at Bryn Mawr, and I had no idea that camp would hold that much power!”
“I went to camp growing up for after-school, track-out, and summer camp. But the culture at Bryn Mawr goes beyond its function as childcare. It cares for the mental, emotional, and social wellbeing of every kid in addition to the physical, and I would argue that it cares for its staff to the same degree. Bryn Mawr is a family at heart.”
“I expected to make the biggest impacts on campers in my program area. It turned out the biggest impacts often happen outside of a program area.”
“The idea of working a full summer was daunting, but once I was there, I was having so much fun and time really flew by.”
“I think I felt a stronger sense of community and belonging than I expected to, being an international staff member. I also feel like I was valued more than I expected to be, and was given more responsibility, which felt really nice.”
“It was way more fun than I expected. I liked that, especially at the beginning, there was an introspection part to it.”
“There are moments and conversations I had with people that I never expected, and it was so good to fully feel alive! Like I was experiencing all the emotions, and for once it was okay, and other people related to me too.”
“It’s completely incomparable to any job I’ve ever had or probably will ever have again. I really feel I gave LBMC my everything. It was a lot — but also a lot of fun and felt good.”
“Bryn Mawr was supposed to be a one-time summer experience while I was still in undergrad. As I go into my 16th summer I can easily say that Bryn Mawr is a special place to work! They call it the Bryn Mawr family for a reason. Working at camp is definitely not the easiest job, but I would say it is the most rewarding job! You are able to make friends with other staff from all over the world, you are in an environment which empowers staff to lead and try new things, you learn to be vulnerable and how to ask for help. This place has shaped me into the person I am today.”
Music is a part of every day at camp! From the first sounds of Reveille to the final notes of Taps, we are always singing, dancing and getting energized by our favorite songs. Whether it’s a Dining Hall cheer, the Alma Mater, or the hit song of the summer, there are certain tunes that just feel like camp. We asked some of our summer camp staff about the songs that say “Bryn Mawr” to them:
You’re in charge of picking music for the new staff recruiting video. The first scene is a sweeping shot over Cabin Row as camp is coming to life first thing in the morning. What song do you pick to accompany this scene, and why?
“I would choose the song ‘Love Myself’ by Hailee Steinfeld. In my time at Bryn Mawr, I found that I got to know myself better, learned to love myself, and relocated my inner child.”
“‘Beautiful Day’ by U2. I’m sure there are songs that campers may be more familiar with, but this is the first song that came to mind and was truly what I thought every single morning on the way to our early leadership meetings: ‘It’s a beautiful day!!’”
Birthstone: Diamond Flower: Daisy (represents innocence) and sweet pea (represents greetings and goodbyes) Famous April birthdays: Robert Downey Jr. (April 4), Paul Rudd (April 6), Elle Fanning (April 9), Brooklyn Decker (April 12), John Cena (April 23) and Lizzo (April 27)
Happy April birthday to Jordy (Bunk 2), Becca (Bunk 2), Emma (Bunk 1), Greta (Bunk 1), Julia (Manor House), Hailey (Lodge), Lucy (Lower Juniors), Sophia (Lodge), Julia (Upper Juniors), Mia (Manor House), Ruth (Upper Juniors), Zoey (Lower Seniors), Hannah (Upper Seniors), Lily (Upper Seniors), Saanvi (Lower Juniors), Jaden (Bunk 2), Reese (Upper Seniors), Yazzy (Lower Juniors), Sadie (Upper Juniors), Deia (Bunk 2) and Jenna (Lower Seniors)!
Some say the highlight every year during the month of March is March Madness Basketball. While I do love a good bracket, the highlight for me is my own personal form of March Madness: March Meeting!
March Meeting marks the moment when our rising Super Seniors officially become Bunk One and start preparing to take on all of the leadership roles that come with that title. The girls come up to camp for a night to participate in team building, design their special uniform, decide the Color War themes and more. The day is jam-packed with meetings, activities and fun. Of course, camp favorites like Asian Fusion are involved 🙂
For me as an alumna, March Meeting is so special because I can remember the feeling of becoming Bunk One back in 2010, and I get to watch girls have the same experience that I did: the pure joy and uncontainable excitement that it is finally their turn.
Somehow it seems that every year I say “I can’t believe these girls are Bunk One,” and this year, that could not be more true. The campers of BOS ’22 are the girls who were in the Manor House eight years ago when I came back to work at camp after spending a few summers away from LBMC. For that reason, this March Meeting was extra special to me — because in camp staff years, it’s like I made it to my own Bunk One summer all over again!
What else goes on at March Meeting? Well… Surprises are an important part of the magic of camp, and just like Chocolate Banana Night and Color War break, there are some things about March Meeting that we can’t tell you about until it is your turn! All I will say now is that I am SUPER excited about BOS ’22… and the Color War themes are AMAZING. Get ready for an unbelievable summer led by this awesome group!
Working at camp is an experience unlike any other! Summer camp jobs are great for developing skills like communication, adaptability, and creativity — experiences that will serve camp staff alumni well in any career field. But camp jobs provide more than just valuable work experience. As a member of our summer camp staff, you become part of an incredible community, living, working and playing alongside co-workers and campers who start to feel like a big extended family. Many of our staff members find that one summer simply isn’t enough — they want to come back year after year to continue growing, teaching, and immersing themselves in the Bryn Mawr spirit!
We asked some of our returning staff members to think back to the moment when they first knew that they would be coming back to LBMC for another summer at camp. Here are some of their memories:
“There wasn’t one single moment that made me want to return to camp; it was once I was home and couldn’t stop talking about camp and going on and on about how utterly wonderful it was and how much I missed it.”
“At some point, a Division Head asked me to envision one of my hardest days at home and then think about how that compares to my hardest day at camp… they didn’t compare!!! The hard day at camp felt about a million times better than a hard day in the real world. This made me put the camp experience into perspective … I turned my attitude and started practicing gratitude, then decided that coming back to camp was a necessity and started ‘living 10 for 2.’”
“Group Leaders were on Cabin Row supervising. Someone was playing music over a speaker, and a bunch of us were passing a ball. The circle kept growing as more girls came over to join; it didn’t matter how old you were or if you knew anyone else. The sunset was gorgeous and everyone was laughing. I felt goofy and alive in a way I haven’t since I was a kid. There was no judgment about your throwing skills, only support and love.”
“The last week of camp I couldn’t believe two months were already gone, and I couldn’t believe all the great experiences I had in my job, with campers and meeting new staff. In that moment, I knew I was going to miss camp so much, so I told myself: ‘You know what? This doesn’t have to be the last time being here at camp. I’m coming back next summer for more experiences!’”
“It was the first couple of weeks at camp when I knew I would be back. The staff and campers were so welcoming and made this ‘job’ way too much fun not to come back. There was an indescribable feeling and something that clicked with me the first week when campers arrived. I knew I would be with LBMC for the long haul.”
“I was so surprised by Sing, in the best way. At first it sounded kind of weird and really stressful for this one thing, but once I experienced it, I understood what it all meant… How girls grow up going to camp, and doing this and being on stage and having Jane say one last thing, it was really special. I thought about how lucky the girls were to have that, and how special it is to be a part of their experience and to get to see all their hard work come to life. I would love to keep being a part of this and seeing everyone grow.”
“When the girls asked me to come back! They begged! Of course I had made heartfelt connections, and I want to see them again, want to watch them turn into amazing young women and hopefully maybe even help in the process.”
One of the best things about summer camp jobs is that there is truly a place for everyone! From cabin specialists who get to spend the day alongside their own group of campers to group leaders who keep things running smoothly for an entire age group, from program staff who teach activities like gymnastics, swimming, soccer, outdoor adventure and drama to support staff who ensure everyone at camp is comfortably fed, housed and kept in clean laundry, there are many different jobs at camp… and each and every one plays a vital role in creating our summer magic.
We asked some of our staff members a tough question: What is the best summer camp job at LBMC? And what makes it the best? Here’s what they had to say.
What Is The Best Job At Camp?
“I think any job at camp could be the best job. Every job is what you make of it! It depends on the personality of the person doing that job!”
“I’ve only ever worked in one program area, but I’ve seen two sides of it. I’ve worked as a general counselor, and that is awesome. It is exhausting both physically and emotionally, but the connections and relationships with your campers are the best. I remember every camper I had and could tell you where they all slept and a favorite movement with each. Leadership is amazing because you get to contribute to everyone’s experience, both campers and general staff, but the relationship between a cabin counselor and a camper is unlike any other.”
“Working at camp is just being surrounded by amazing strong women! My direct superior: woman. Her direct superior: woman. Owner of camp: woman (well, and Dan 😁). I think that is amazing … Empowered women empower women. I truly believe that being surrounded by amazing women will make any job at this camp AMAZING.”
“Any job where you get to work with the girls! They’re silly, goofy, smart, intelligent, and at camp to grow/have fun/make friends… it sounds pretty similar to the reasons staff come to camp.”
“I may be biased, but being a Group Leader is hands down the best job at camp. I not only was able to form meaningful connections with the sweetest girls in the Manor House, but I was able to form even deeper connections with the MH staff. Being able to be the go-to person for everyone in that house meant the world to me. I got to be a part of the outstanding leadership team that provided me with limitless resources and comfort and overall a group of people who stood by me and lifted me up and helped me every single day.”
“I love being a counselor and getting to get to know the girls and work with them.”
“Aquatics, because you get to spend a lot of time at the pool with the beautiful view. And (most of the time) the girls really enjoy being there, so that’s really fun to see.”
“Being a cabin specialist, you get to do the activities with the girls almost as if you were a camper too!”
“I really enjoyed serving food and getting to see everyone’s faces. It was fun to be able to see everyone, especially if you may not have them in program or are with them a lot. It was good to get to remember names and have quick little conversations as the campers go through the line.”
“Probably Bryn’s job! Because who doesn’t want to be a dog.”
What do you think will be your favorite part of working at camp? Check out our list of summer camp jobs and apply today!
This fall, we lost our dear friend Peter Lai. Known as the “Everything Guy,” Peter saw his job at camp as doing whatever needed to be done, whenever it needed to be done! Peter was a shining example of the Angel Code values, and we saw him model Loyalty, Beauty, Merit and Comradeship every day, in everything he did. If you ever had a problem, if you ever wore a frown or looked like you needed help, it was practically a guarantee that Peter would stop whatever he was doing and listen to your problem, help you find a solution, or cheer you up.
Camp won’t feel quite the same without Peter’s warm smile. But there’s one thing we know for sure: If Peter saw us feeling sad, he would want to find a way to make us feel better. The best way we can honor his memory is to keep spreading the joy that he brought to everyone who crossed his path at camp, finding little ways to live the Angel Code — just like Peter did every single day.
Here are some of our ideas for ways to honor Peter’s memory. What else would you add to the list?
Reach out to someone who is lonely or feeling down.
Peter had a way of spotting anyone who was in need of a little extra TLC and doing whatever he could to put a smile on their face. This week, if you see a friend, neighbor or classmate who looks like they might be having a hard day, take a moment to ask them if there’s something you can do to help.
Volunteer to do a chore (especially one no one else wants to do!).
Whether it was bringing trunks down from the attic, running water to Wembley, or tracking down a missing item, Peter was always ready to do whatever needed doing. The next time there’s a task that needs doing, like emptying the dishwasher, helping a neighbor or cleaning up after a class activity, take the opportunity to honor Peter by saying the same words he always said at camp: “I’ll do it!”
Be a friend to someone who needs it.
Think back to your first week of camp… We bet you have at least one memory of something Peter did to make you feel welcome! Now think about the other kids at your school and activities. Is there someone who’s new, or who seems alone or left out? When you see them, do what Peter would do: Go over to them, smile, and invite them to join your table, activity or conversation. You can share that same warm, welcoming feeling that Peter created for you when you were brand new at camp!
Share your stories with Peter’s family.If you have favorite memories or stories about Peter, or photos you would like to share, the Lai family would love to hear from you! You can send your remembrances to [email protected].