Staff Spotlight: How Did Working at Camp Defy Your Expectations?

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.”

“I expected great experiences, but honestly, Bryn Mawr never stopped giving me happy surprises throughout the summer. I didn’t expect to make those deep connections with campers and also gain new staff friendships that I know will last for a lifetime.”

“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.”

How will working at camp defy your expectations? There’s only one way to find out! Click here to learn more about our summer staff positions and apply today!

Staff Spotlight: Our Summer Soundtrack

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 pick the song ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ by Electric Light Orchestra. This song is upbeat and happy, which reminds me of the morning buzz at camp.”

“This is TOUGH, but I’m gonna go with ‘The Best Day’ by Taylor Swift (Taylor’s Version) or ‘It Would Be You’ by Ben Rector. They’re both telling stories of looking forward to another time where you’re back with someone or you’re remembering how beautiful it is when you’re with them.”

“An older classic like ‘I Want You Back’ by Jackson 5! Something fun and upbeat but also timeless.”

“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!!’”

Are you already humming along? Come sing, dance and cheer with us this year! Click here to check out our summer camp staff positions.

Staff Spotlight: Why Are You Coming Back to Camp

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.”

Summer camp jobs at Lake Bryn Mawr Camp
Working at camp is like no other experience in the world!

“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.”

“I knew I would commit to come back to camp when the buses pulled away my first summer. It was such a bittersweet moment, not only saying goodbye to my campers, but also to the amazing friendships that developed in just two months.”

“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.”

“We were all being silly and I saw my girls just sitting there enjoying it all. I had this thought of ‘I want to see them grow.’”

“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.”

How will working at camp surprise you? We can’t wait to see! Click here to learn more about summer camp jobs at Lake Bryn Mawr Camp and apply online.

Staff Spotlight: Our Summer Camp Family

Working at camp is more than just a summer job — it means joining a community with its own history, traditions, and culture. We often hear campers talk about their “summer sisters” and their “camp family,” and that got us thinking… if Bryn Mawr were a real member of the family, who would it be? We asked some of our returning staff to imagine LBMC as a relative. Here’s what they had to say:

“Bryn Mawr would be a grandma. One, because Bryn Mawr has been around a long time! Second, because Bryn Mawr cares about you and your development as a person.”

“Camp would be the fun aunt 😂 It’s your home away from home and you can do all sorts of things that no one outside of camp ever has to know about. You have so much fun without a care in the world, it puts a pause in the outside reality, and you still grow so much in ways you wouldn’t have normally.”

College student sitting by the pool with her campers while working at camp Bryn Mawr
Nothing says “fun aunt” like splashing up a storm with your campers during open swim!

“Bryn Mawr is an older sister. You learn so many lessons but also can be silly and goofy with them.”

“Grandpa. Because he’s far off and full of every possible range of emotions. When you finally see him, it’s a big deal and you cherish it. He can be stern and has a lot of expectations for you to be a respectable child but also knows you’re a child wants you to be happy and enjoy life. He’s one to make proud and to be proud of.”

“I feel like there’s definitely a nurturing element of Bryn Mawr, so it has to be someone older, but then it’s also really fun and a little bit out of everyone’s comfort zone, so more like a fun cool auntie.”

“Bryn Mawr would be like an uncle to me. I don’t see them very often, but when I do, it’s like no time has passed. They are wise and after seeing them, I feel as though I have grown immensely.”

Working at camp is like being the fun aunt!

“I think Bryn Mawr would be the aunt of the family. I really look up to my aunts for comfort, laughter, hugs, advice and I feel like we get all of that at camp. The aunt is important because we are close and they get to see us grow up, but it’s different than a relationship with our parents. We know they care and love us and want what’s best for us, but we also get to have a little independence with them and see ourselves grow.”

“I don’t think you can pick just one. Bryn Mawr encompasses every role of a family, which is why it is so special. Bryn Mawr provides the love and support of a mom and dad as they guide the staff to grow and learn through every experience. Bryn Mawr provides the siblings to laugh and cry with through the good and challenging times. And of course the extended family that brings the impromptu moments, silliness, and adventure into our lives!”

“Bryn Mawr is my mom. Bryn Mawr is my collection of aunts I admire. Bryn Mawr is my sisters. Bryn Mawr is my endless female cousins. Bryn Mawr to me is every fierce and powerful woman in my life, in my family. There is no place else where I feel so empowered and needed and like I am welcomed with open arms. Bryn Mawr envelops you in love and warmth and empathy and that inspires you to give that back tenfold. It inspires me.”

If you are ready for a summer job that’s more than just a paycheck, you might be ready to join our camp family! Click here to learn more about working at camp, discover summer job opportunities, and apply today.

Honoring Peter the Bryn Mawr Angel Way

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].

Learn about the Peter Lai Scholarship Fund at Project Morry.

Fall 2022 Camp Staff News

Dan & Jane are already counting down the days to 2022! Dan is busy working on camp projects/improvements and Jane is helping with camper and staff recruitment. They have enjoyed seeing many campers at the Fall Family Day, Pop-Ups and home visits. In their personal life, Jane and Dan have been busy moving to a new home in Short Hills, New Jersey, and enjoying time with their grandchildren. 

After a great round of Pop-Ups in the tri-state area, Eliza is full speed ahead in planning for 2022!  She is planning overnight trips and day trips, booking outside entertainment, and working on the camp calendar. Outside of the office, she is playing tennis, golf and pickleball! 

Jocelyn is busy already hiring camp staff for 2022 and says it will be the best year yet! In addition to staffing she is enjoying spending time with her daughters and baking! 

Kyle and Elena are hard at work assisting with maintenance, staffing and the conference center. Off camp, they are enjoying time with their daughter, Sasha! 

Pilar is busy working on… A little bit of everything! She is helping with operations, staffing and planning for next summer, and she is gearing up for coaching this basketball season in Honesdale.

Becky is busy working with Dan on projects and updates at camp. When not at camp, she uses her free time to enjoy her hometown of Honesdale, PA! 

This fall, Emily has been working at Bryn Mawr’s Conference Center full time, as well as recruiting and enrolling new Riding Campers for 2022. She is looking forward to helping Jocelyn with camp staffing this season as well. She has been spending her spare time with her husband Torrey and her two dogs, Delilah and Piper, who love going for walks at the farm!

Angel Spotlight

And Now, A Word From Najah

Is chilly winter weather getting you down? Najah to the rescue! Enjoy this burst of her trademark energy and enthusiasm anytime you need a little dose of camp sunshine. We bet you a dozen pizza bagels that this video will get you fired up for Summer 2021 at Bryn Mawr!

What other staff members would you like to see in Poplar Post videos? Send us an email and let us know!

Big News From Cabin Row

Why We Can’t Wait For Summer 2021

Our leadership staff is always happy to get back to camp — but this year, after such a long time apart, their excitement is through the roof! We asked them to share what they’re most looking forward to about returning to Bryn Mawr this summer. We bet you can relate to the anticipation that they are feeling!

Eliza:
“I just can’t wait to be back at camp – back at my favorite place! There is no other way to say it. I am looking forward to all of the camp traditions and being back with our camp family. I am always excited for camp, but this year, there are no words to describe that level of excitement!”

Tanya:
“I can’t wait to be back at camp hearing the cheering in the dining hall, the campers’ laughter down Cabin Row, and the serenity of the Alma Mater after evening activities. Summer 2021 will be something truly special and I’m excited to be back with my camp family enjoying the fresh mountain air!”

Joe:
“I’m looking forward to reuniting with so many friends and to hearing about all that has gone on in their lives in different parts of the country.”

Max:
“I am excited for camp this summer because I can’t wait to see how much our girls have GROWN UP since we saw them last.  And I can’t wait to hear all the exciting things they have been up to. I am excited for camp this summer because I love being with my LBMC family, and I have missed them so much.”

Emily:
“I’m excited because the farm is not the same without forty horses to greet me every morning.  I’m also excited to see the progress of all my Riding Camp and LBMC riders over the past year!”

Becky:
“I’m excited to have everyone see all the renovation projects around camp and get back to having fun in our favorite summer place!”

Meryl:
“Spirit and tradition. Seeing girls come together after being apart for so long.”

Bill:
“I am very excited to return to camp in the summer of 2021 so that I may finally witness Bunk One summer 2020 get the opportunity to graduate from camp at camp.”

Liz:
“I want all the fresh air and to get back to dancing at my second home! And of course, gimme all the s’mores.”

Peter:
“I am excited for camp more than ever this year because I miss all the campers so much and I cannot wait to see how much growth they had since 2019.”

Lacy:
“I am excited to be back at camp more than ever to celebrate my 16th summer with my summer family!”

Jocelyn:
“I miss being with our camp family. I can’t wait to be outside in the fresh air all day and hear girls cheering, bunk doors closing, announcements over the loudspeaker — my sounds of summer!”

What are you most looking forward to this summer? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!

What Makes Bryn Mawr so Special?

It is only normal for us to reflect on the summer all months, especially this month as our Winter Reunion will be in a few weeks. Below are excerpts from a letter that was send to us by a 4 year staff member. We hope you enjoy it.

—–

Working at Camp Bryn Mawr has been an experience that reached beyond all expectations. Here, I have been able to forge relationships that have lasted years and create new friendships every summer. It’s amazing to think that I can travel the United States or even the world and have people I love everywhere I go. That is something I owe to working at this remarkable summer camp. Bryn Mawr has turned into nothing short of my summer home, and the people there, my summer family.

At Bryn Mawr you are given the unique privilege to work in an all-girls setting. This is what makes this place so special. At camp you can see a literal transformation in the girls you work with. They step off the bus in June and immediately feel more like themselves. The atmosphere gives them a place to feel comfortable, a place where you don’t have to look in a mirror or constantly work to impress anybody but yourself.king at Camp Bryn Mawr has been an experience that reached beyond all expectations. Here, I have been able to forge relationships that have lasted years andcreate new friendships every summer. It’s amazing to think that I can travel the United States or even the world and have people I love everywhere I go. That is something I owe to working at this remarkable summer camp. Bryn Mawr has turned into nothing short of my summer home, and the people there, my summer family.

Working here has allowed me to help these young women become comfortable in their own skin, make new friends and excel at the things they love. They are given the chance to branch off from their school year expectations, and you are given the opportunity to help them find their path. To be a part of that gives me such a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

I have fallen in love with Bryn Mawr and everything that makes it so special. It has transformed me as much as it has transformed every girl who attends.

Couselor Orientation: Leadership and Staff Week

In past blog posts, we’ve talked about how we teach our campers to be role models. One important part of that process is providing campers with great staff role models who can show them what good leadership looks like. And we spend a lot of time working with our staff members to help them, in turn, understand how they can model great behaviors for our campers. We really meant it when we said the learning never stops, even for our directors and leadership staff!

We start off each summer with two weeklong sessions designed just for our staff members, to get them geared up for the season, ready to do their jobs and make camp the best experience possible for our Bryn Mawr Angels. During Leadership Week, our group leaders, program directors and other key staff members spend their days reacquainting themselves with camp, talking about Bryn Mawr philosophies and preparing to welcome a new crop of counselors.

At the end of Leadership Week, we welcome our entire staff — returning counselors as well as new staff members who made it through our rigorous recruiting process — for Staff Week, a special week of camp planned just for our general staff.

We plan Bryn Mawr Staff Week with five goals in mind:

1. Introduce staff to camp: facility, policies, procedures, etc.
2. Make everyone feel welcome and comfortable in their surroundings.
3. Help staff understand what their role is at camp.
4. Prepare for the arrival of campers.
5. Make sure all staff members understand the LBMC camp philosophy.

We believe our Staff Week is one of the most unique counselor orientation programs in summer camping. Lots of camps do a fantastic job of helping their staff members learn rules, traditions and emergency procedures, and while all those important topics are covered during Bryn Mawr’s Staff Week, we strive to make our staff training an experience that immerses counselors in camp life so they really understand what it means to be part of the Bryn Mawr family. We provide information in unconventional ways — for example, instead of just going over uniform rules, our group leaders put on a uniform do’s-and-don’ts fashion show, and instead of explaining what the surprise breakout for an all-camp special event like Color War or Olympics is, we organize a scaled-down special event so counselors can get a taste of camp at its most spirited. We’ve found over the years that these unusual (and entertaining) methods of teaching counselors about camp are extremely effective in helping staff really understand what Bryn Mawr is all about. Our counselors don’t just learn about camp from a handbook or an informational speech, they get to experience it for themselves before the campers ever arrive.

During Staff Week, we give counselors as realistic a camp experience as possible, introducing them to Bryn Mawr traditions and spirit, orienting them to the campus and the daily schedule, and getting them up to speed on rules and policies. Just as important as the nuts and bolts of daily camp life, though, are the sessions on leadership, role modeling and working with girls. Counselors reflect on who they were as children and what they wanted and needed from the adults around them. We talk about what it means to be a leader and a role model and how we can all model positive behaviors for our campers. We give counselors opportunities to practice positive leadership through role play scenarios. We bring in camp guru Bob Ditter to provide in-depth training. We even bring in camp parents to talk to the staff about their hopes and expectations for their daughters. Staff Week is all about understanding camp and understanding the important leadership role of a counselor.

Counselors finish the week excited about camp, ready to meet their campers — and prepared to assume the responsibilities of being great leaders and role models! But the training doesn’t stop once the campers arrive. We continue to provide ongoing leadership training throughout the summer in weekly staff meetings and through one-on-one and small group sessions. Bob Ditter returns to camp later in the summer as well, to check in with the staff and work with individual counselors. From the moment they set foot on campus to the morning they set off for home in August, counselors are learning just as much as campers what it means to be a role model — and passing those lessons on to Bryn Mawr campers.