Camp News & Blog

Your Favorite Camp Traditions!

The results are in! We asked you on Facebook and Instagram to vote for your favorite camp traditions. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Color War was the big winner, with almost a quarter of the vote! Other top picks included Talent Night, The Lake Ceremony and Closing CAmpfire, and the Angel Code.

What’s your favorite camp tradition and why? Send your answers to eliza@campbrynmawr.com or share them with us on Instagram or Facebook. We might even share your response in a future edition of the Poplar Post!

New Camper Spotlight!

Emily Toch is excited for camp traditions and to follow in her sisters’ footsteps at camp. Isabel Garrett loves to sing and can’t wait for the camp play. Lauren Gross can’t wait for gaga and arts and crafts next summer. Laila Cohen is loving soccer and can’t wait to play at camp.

Sonia and Anya Husain traveled after camp and are now playing tennis and lacrosse at school. Remi Feldman is playing travel basketball. Carissa Rosenthal is enjoying her first year of high school. Tallie Smith is playing travel lacrosse.

Big News From Cabin Row

Camp Traditions Through The Years!

Traditions aren’t born overnight, and they don’t always stay the same forever. Some of our camp traditions have been around for generations, while others are newer on the scene! Here’s a look at when some of your favorite camp traditions became a part of life at LBMC.

1920s
Loyalty, Beauty, Merit & Comradeship

1970s
Five-Year Jackets

1980s
Angel Necklaces
Chocolate Banana Night
Soccerama

1990s
Dramarama

2000s
Aquarama
Chaos
Rope Burn & Kettle Boil
Junior Camp Special Day
Staff Angel Necklaces
Project Morry Swim-a-thon
The Angel Code Poem

Preparing for Summer 2020

The new year is here, and the countdown to our 100th summer has officially begun!

Each month, we’ll be buzzing your inbox with a quick roundup of to-dos, reminders, and tips for new parents. Keep an eye out for Bryn Mawr Buzz and stay in the know as we prepare for Summer 2020! Here are the highlights from the January Buzz:

Everything Camper

Our official camp outfitter is Everything Camper. Whether you’re outfitting your camper for the first time or just replacing a few pieces from last summer, all official camp uniform must be purchased through Everything Camper. Roadshows, where your camper can try on uniform items in person, begin Jan. 31 — you can make a roadshow appointment or order uniform online at EverythingCamper.com.

Learn more about the benefits of a camp uniform in this post from our blog archives!

Get All Your LBMC Gear

Packing for Camp

Download Your 2020 Camp Packing List »

Please look it over and feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Storage space in the cabins is sufficient for the amount of clothing on this list, and we thank you in advance for not overpacking — more “stuff” is hard for campers to keep organized!

Please make sure everything you send to camp is labeled with your camper’s name, including sporting equipment and shoes. Everything Camper does not automatically label all uniform clothing. If you want your daughter’s clothing labeled before it’s shipped to you, please be sure to select that option when placing your uniform order.

Pen Pals

Nobody is better at explaining camp life than campers themselves. That’s why we pair each new camper with a returning Bryn Mawr Angel as a pre-camp pen pal! In the coming weeks, we’ll be reaching out to some of our returning campers to ask you to participate in the pen pal program. Thank you for living the Angel Code value of Comradeship by being good friends to our newest Angels before the summer even starts! New campers, you should expect to hear from your pen pal sometime next month. If you haven’t received a letter by the end of February, please contact the winter office.

Bunk One Weekend

This year’s March Meeting will be held March 7-8 at camp. Super Cabin One parents (girls entering 10th grade), be on the lookout for a separate mailing with details about this special weekend.

New Parent Tip

In addition to her uniform clothes, we recommend sending your daughter to camp with two to three non-uniform all-green and all-gold/yellow outfits that she can wear on spirit days and during Color War.

Camp Kindness Day @ LBMC

Today we had the opportunity to join camps across the country in Camp Kindness Day, a very special event highlighting the kind of intentional, thoughtful and powerful caring that is reflected in our camp values of Loyalty, Beauty, Merit, and Comradeship. Every division in camp participated in age-appropriate activities focused on nurturing, sharing, and spreading kindness both within our camp community and all year round.

In Junior Camp, our Manor House and Lodge campers talked about how to practice kindness by including others, standing up to bullying, and the way small acts of kindness can snowball into something wonderful. To practice recognizing and perpetuating those small acts of kindness, campers wrote notes to their counselors thanking them for the little things counselors do for them every day. They also drew pictures interpreting what kindness looks like.

Upper and Lower Junior campers spent the day talking about how to identify acts of kindness and how respect is tied to kindness. Recognizing that kindness is something that can sometimes be hard to tap into, our older juniors also spent time talking about and strategizing how to look past someone else’s negativity and set a loving example. Like the Manor House and Lodge, our Upper and Lower Juniors wrote anonymous notes to their counselors sharing their appreciation for their counselors’ hard work this summer.

 Our Senior Campers came together to celebrate Camp Kindness Day by focusing on self love and positive affirmations, built around the mantra “I Accept Who I Am” — a message inspired by our summer theme, “This Is Me.”

 We started by discussing the importance of kindness and where it all begins. Our seniors unanimously agreed that in order to be kind to others, we have to start by being kind to ourselves. Each of their Camp Kindness Day activities was designed to help build a foundation of kindness toward themselves so they are better able to share kindness with the world.

 We started off with an activity called “World’s Biggest Fans,” in which campers took turns proclaiming “I’m really cool because…” and then sharing something they love about themselves. Each girl followed her declaration by running down an aisle formed by lines of her peers, all cheering her on (like the world’s biggest fans!). The sense of joy and togetherness was palpable — and it’s interesting to note that many campers shared qualities about themselves that that they used to dislike but have learned to love.

 After this enthusiastic, energizing exercise, we moved into a guided meditation/mindfulness practice focusing on positive affirmation and releasing tension. The sense of calm and purpose provided a perfect starting point for the next exercise, in which each girl authored her own set of “I Am” statements, her own positive affirmations. We discussed the purpose of affirmations and how, while they can’t erase moments of sadness or doubt, they can promote a sense of balance and harmony that provides confidence and reassurance in tough times. Camper after camper read aloud powerful statements of self-affirmation: “I am strong,” “I am intelligent,” “I am courageous,” “I am creative,” “I am beautiful,” “I will find a solution to my problems,” and “I am me.”

 Finally, we closed with a reflection during which campers wrote letters to themselves. They included messages that they may one day need to hear to get them through difficult times, to support themselves and give themselves strength, or even to make themselves laugh.

 It’s hard to put into words the sense of strong, positive energy that permeated the room by the close of our Camp Kindness Day event! Campers and staff alike left feeling refreshed, revitalized, and grateful, thanking one another for what they had shared and experienced. It was wonderful to see our campers embrace and express the values of the Angel Code in such a special way.

Visiting Day 2017!

With the exception of Color War break, probably no single event of the camp season is as hotly anticipated as Visiting Day! From the Manor House to Bunk One, camp is buzzing with excitement as we prepare to welcome parents, grandparents and siblings this weekend.

Here at camp, we always put some extra effort into getting ready for Visiting Day. The kitchen staff cooks up a storm to get that big, tasty lunch ready. Program staff help campers put the finishing touches on projects, presentations and new skills to show off on Saturday. And everyone works together to get every bunk extra clean for the big day.

We know our camp parents back home are anticipating this weekend every bit as much as their daughters are, with preparations for the trip to Honesdale underway well before the weekend rolls around! If you have questions about the best way to get to camp or other tips for Visiting Day, feel free to call us anytime.

It’s hard to explain the feeling of Visiting Day to someone who hasn’t experienced it. There is a lot of excitement leading up to the moment that the gates are opened to let parents on campus, followed by greetings that can be a bit emotional — understandably so! Afterward, though, the rest of the day tends to be calm and relaxed, with campers and their families simply enjoying their reunion in the way they like best. Campers may want to show off their new skills in their program areas, challenge their parents to a friendly tennis match, or simply relax and catch up over lunch. Counselors, group leaders and program directors are on hand to chat about how the summer has been going. We serve a full lunch at the Dining Hall, and many parents choose to bring some special treats from home to enjoy during the afternoon.

It seems like every year there’s another news story out there about how some summer camp parents go over-the-top for Visiting Day. While we understand there’s some entertainment value in hearing about parents who go to extremes to celebrate this special time with their children, we hope first-time camp parents know that elaborate bunk gifts, catered lunches and fancy gift baskets aren’t the norm. Ask our seasoned camp families and they’ll tell you the same thing we do: The most important present you can give your daughter on Visiting Day is the gift of your time and attention.

Years from now, when your daughter remembers her Visiting Day experiences, she probably won’t be able to recall whose parents brought what treats or how many gifts she got. What she will remember is how it felt to see your face for the first time in three weeks, and how special it was to have those hours of uninterrupted time with her family, sharing everything she had learned and experienced so far during her summer at camp.

No matter how you and your daughter spend Visiting Day, the time you’ll have together at camp is precious — not because of the gifts you bring or the treats you share, but because you have this time together.

Professional Development in the Winter Office: Filling our Backpacks with new Perspectives

Every summer we arrive at Bryn Mawr with our own “backpack” made up of the experiences we have had over the past year. Some of those experiences have been happy and others may be sad, yet they have all shaped us in some way. As we told our leadership and general staff last summer, regardless of the number of years each one of us has been at Bryn Mawr, at the beginning of camp, everybody is new.

 While we all live in similar types of communities, we all have different perspectives based on our own family dynamics, school environments and groups of friends. These factors have a direct impact on how each one of us behaves and responds to others.

Try this activity: Think of a childhood memory in which you misbehaved in some way. What was the response from an adult? How did it make you feel? And what was the reason that you engaged in that behavior? Then reflect on how this incident may have influenced how you now manage behavior in your daily life.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend an all-day seminar at Columbia School of Social Work: Understanding and Managing Behaviors in Children and Adolescents. Throughout the day, we were led through discussions and exercises that focused on why kids act out, how we should respond and ways in which we can support them. Whether through our use of language, physical cues or positive reinforcement, we strive to continuously model appropriate behavior for our girls.

At Bryn Mawr, we spend two weeks before our campers arrive training our leadership and general staff. Of course, we can’t anticipate every scenario that we will experience during the summer (these girls can really keep us on our toes!) yet through workshops and conferences in the winter months, we can bring fresh ideas and new strategies to ease the transition to camp life and the challenges of a summer away from home. I am grateful to work with Jane and Dan who believe that professional development is critical to our success. Through my training, I have become less reactive, more mindful and acutely aware of how actions can have an impact.

 In light of Thanksgiving, here are some inspirational words from our lecturer, Dr. Rick Greenberg: the next time you talk with your daughter, actively listen. In fact, try to listen so closely that you are not even thinking about what you will say in response. You will be grateful that you gave her that time…those are the moments that she will remember!

Enjoy the Holidays!

Love,

Jocelyn Glantz

Assistant Director

LBMC College Essay…

441. A number that could represent almost anything in the world. For me, this number is the amount of days I’ve spent at Lake Bryn Mawr, my sleep away camp, or as I usually refer to it as, “my second home.” Bryn Mawr is the most unique place i’ve been in my life; I always feel as though I’m a part of something special when I’m at camp. Bryn Mawr is so completely different compared to other camps because of its core values that campers are taught: the Angel Code. The Angel Code is Bryn Mawr’s philosophy, which is built on four basic values: loyalty, beauty, merit, and comradeship. These four values may seem silly when looked at separately, but when put together they are so much more. The Angel Code to me is the definition of what Bryn Mawr is, and I have definitely seen every girl at camp embody these ideals at some point throughout their experiences.

Growing up as a girl in the 21st century has had its share of struggles, but I can definitely say that going to an all girls sleep away camp, specifically Bryn Mawr, has made such an impact. When I first began camp at eight years old, I was merely a child – I did not have control over my own decisions, nor did I understand why I was being sent to camp, rather than the most obvious reason being to have fun. I looked up to my counselors; they were the people who dressed, played, taught, and did everything with, or for me. As a child, I did not have a voice, and looking back, I was stepped on by girls who did; girls who used their voices for the wrong reasons. After the summer ended, my parents told me that they had signed me up for the following one. I couldn’t understand or realize it at the time, but my parents knew that I needed camp; I needed a place that would transform me into a young woman with a powerful voice, one who could make decisions for herself.

The summers following seemed like a blur. Camp went on as usual, the poplar trees swayed and the lake remained serene, but I wasn’t taking advantage of the summers. Then on the first night of one summer, I was laying down outside, admiring the stars, and a tear began to stream down my face. Someone came over to comfort me and asked what was wrong. I looked at her, confused, and said almost to myself, “Could it be possible, is this my last summer as a camper?” A million memories flashed through my mind, and so I just laid down and went back to my stargazing. I tried as hard as I could to block out reality, but it was at that point that I began to realize that although camp would always remain the same, I would not. I was not eight years old anymore, I was fifteen and in the blink of an eye, my time as a camper would be coming to an end. It hit me how lucky I was to be able to take advantage of this beautiful place I was lucky enough to consider my “home.”

My eyes instantly widened after that, and I started helping younger girls: girls who were homesick, girls who were self-conscious, any problem a girl had I could help with, knowing I had been in their shoes once. “You should be a counselor,” I turned around to see a staff member talking to me as I aided a crying girl. “Really?” I had responded in an astonished tone. Up until that point, I had always thought of camp as a road that came to an end. It was then that I realized that just because the path ended for me as a camper, didn’t mean I couldn’t continue to as a counselor. So that’s what I did, I created my own path; one with more dips in the road, a few more detours, decisions to be made, and things to be held responsible for. I was now the one who came home and enthusiastically applied to be a counselor, rather than my parents signing me up. I now used my voice to advocate for myself and vothers, and I was now the one dressing, and playing, and teaching my campers. I slowly began to realize that as much as I thought I needed Bryn Mawr in my life, I knew that they needed me equally, if not more. And now whenever I look at my campers it’s so incredibly hard, for I wish I could be in their shoes – but I can’t, and I wouldn’t ever go back, because I wouldn’t want any second of my experience at Bryn Mawr Camp to be different.

49. The number of days I have left at Bryn Mawr, for I know that after this tenth summer I have to leave my second home, my safe haven, and go into the real world to start a new journey.

An End of Camp Letter…

Dear Parents,

 The sun is setting earlier, the nights are getting cooler, and our summer at camp is coming to an end. Color War culminated in the traditional Sing and Final Fight earlier this week, and the last few days have been a blur of packing, cleaning up, finishing projects and preparing to close the books on the summer of 2016.

 The last days of camp can be emotional; after all, we have lived, played, learned, laughed and grown together for the last seven weeks. The bonds of friendship forged at camp are uniquely strong, and although campers are excited to go home and see loved ones, it’s sad to say goodbye, even when we know we’ll see each other again.

 The magical thing about camp, though, is that it’s more than a place where we spend the summer. It’s a community to which campers belong all year round. And just as camp friends stay in touch throughout the winter months, the lessons of camp follow each Bryn Mawr Angel home and become part of who she is.

That’s because camp isn’t just about making friends and learning new skills. It’s about learning and growing, letting your daughter spread her wings and find her own way, and making a place where she can feel safe exploring who she wants to be.

 When she played sports at camp, your daughter wasn’t only working on her athletic skills; she was learning be a good sport and a team player. She broadened her horizons with activities like archery and boating that she may not do anywhere but camp. On the ropes course, she learned to conquer her fears and step out of her comfort zone. In gymnastics, she developed discipline and focus, at fitness she learned the value of good health, and in yoga she gained mindfulness. In fine arts, she channeled her energy into creative expression, and in drama she built confidence. With her friends and counselors by her side, she celebrated her achievements and learned from her mistakes.

 Once the excitement of her homecoming has settled down, we hope you’ll have the chance to talk with your daughter about what she learned this summer — her successes and her challenges alike. Along with the values of Loyalty, Beauty, Merit and Comradeship, the lessons of the summer are ones she’ll bring home and employ at school, in activities and in her friendships throughout the year, whether she is “living ten months for two” and dreaming of next summer at camp or graduating from Bunk One and preparing to carry the LBMC spirit with her into the future!

 And as we do every year, we want to thank you — for the gift of camp you give your daughter, for the trust you place in us, and for being a part of the Bryn Mawr family. We treasure the opportunity to make a summer home for your daughter.

Love,

Jane and Dan

Color War’s tradition of spirit and surprise…

“G-R-E-E-N! We’re 11 on a scale of 10!”

“G-O-L-D! 14-carat victory!”

Is it the world’s wackiest spelling bee? No, it’s time for Color War!

An epic competition between two teams represented by different colors, Color War is a tradition at many summer camps, including Bryn Mawr. While the basic premise is generally consistent from camp to camp, each community puts its own spin on Color War with unique traditions and individual approaches to the competition.

At LBMC, there are a few things that make our annual Color War really special. One is the leadership role played by our Bunk One campers. After waiting anywhere from three to nine summers to take the mantle of camp leadership, our oldest campers can’t wait to captain their Color War teams. They’ve been officially preparing for Color War since their March meeting at camp, when they selected team themes and started working on songs, cheers, and plans for the backdrops, costumes and stage movements they’ll present at Sing on the last night of Color War… but we know that the dreaming and planning has been going on unofficially for years as they’ve imagined what their Bunk One Color War experience will be like. Color War is a legacy each Bunk One leaves behind for future generations of Bryn Mawr Angels who will sing their songs and cheers in the dining hall, gaze up at their backdrops on display, and reminisce about their leadership.

Another thing that makes our Color War special is something that happens before it even starts: the “break” that officially begins Color War and the clues, skits, fake breaks and spirit chains that lead up to the big night. Each year the run-up to LBMC Color War is built around a different theme, and all the events, props, costumes and skits are dreamed up and executed by our own staff. While other camps favor celebrity appearances or other flashy ways of kicking off their Color War competitions, our campers look forward each summer to a series of clues and surprise events concocted and constructed right here at camp.

Each summer our special events staff makes their own job harder by having to top the break from the year before, and they always rise to the occasion. This summer is no exception! Over the course of the last week, strange things have started to happen around camp — flickering lights, weird weather, and an odd green substance appearing on campus. After dinner on Friday, Jane announced to camp that she had decided to bring in some experts to get to the bottom of things. Who’s she gonna call? Ghostbusters! Each year’s Color War break is inspired by a theme from movies, books or pop culture, and this year our creative team took their inspiration from the rebooted team of tough female foes of the supernatural.

Summoned by Jane, the Ghostbusters, played by members of the LBMC staff, showed up and started “investigating” paranormal activity at camp, inspecting cabins and confronting “ghosts” at all-camp events who have possessed other staff members. Each new encounter has built excitement leading up to the much-anticipated final showdown that will require Bunk One to muster all their camp spirit to defeat the baddies bringing ghosts to camp and reveal the Green and Gold lights that signal the start of Color War!

If that sounds complex… well, it’s all part of the magic of Color War, and to some extent, you have to witness it to really appreciate the wonder and mystery of the break. In a world of complex questions, rapidly evolving technology and instant answers, we love that camp gives our Angels an opportunity to experience a little bit of magic and true surprise!

Once Color War has broken out, the rest of the summer is dedicated to the spirited games, traditional competitions and new challenges that face the teams of Gold and Green. From wacky games to serious athletics, Color War gives campers of every ability the chance to shine as they support their teams and the spirit of sportsmanship.