Camp News & Blog

Opening Day 2016: Letting Go and Loving Camp

Dear LBMC parents,

Another first day of camp is almost here, and we couldn’t be more excited to get this summer started! From our first dinner in the dining hall to the last campfire of the season, we’ve got a calendar jam-packed with favorite traditions, new activities, and special surprises for every age group.

No matter whether you’re a brand-new camp parent putting your daughter on the bus for the very first time or a seasoned parent of multiple Bunk One alumnae, sending your child to camp can come with mixed emotions. You want her to learn and grow and make friends, develop new skills and build confidence. You trust that we’ll take good care of her and that she’ll be safe and healthy. And at the same time, it’s hard to let her go. When you love someone as much as we love our children, there’s a part of you that always wants to be by their side, protecting them, guiding them, and showing them how much you care about them. We understand completely! We’ve been in your shoes.

You’re going to miss your daughter this summer. You might even worry about her from time to time. And that’s OK! Those are normal feelings for any camp parent. And that’s why it’s important to remember that you are giving her an incredible gift: the gift of independence, time, and opportunity to learn more about who she wants to be.

Since we’re all parents of daughters here, let’s put it in terms we can all appreciate: Frozen.

In the Disney movie, when little Princess Elsa develops magical powers, her parents, afraid of what could happen to her, do everything they can to protect her and keep her shielded from the world. As a result, she grows up afraid of her gifts and unable to use them. But when Elsa is finally able to “let it go” and learn how to use her powers properly, she sees how they can be beautiful.

OK, so maybe your daughter doesn’t have secret magical powers. (If she does, we hope you noted that on her camper information form!) But by sending your daughter to camp, you’re doing the brave thing that Elsa’s parents couldn’t bring themselves to do. You’re letting go and allowing her to explore the talents, abilities and interests that she may not even know she has until she’s given the chance to discover them.

As a parent, letting go is hard, and it can even be scary. The great news is that when you send your daughter to camp, you’re giving her that freedom to explore her interests and talents in a setting where she’s supported, supervised, cared for and kept safe. Where you can check in to see photos and videos of her adventures, where she’s surrounded by friends and mentors, and where you know there are caring adults just a phone call away who will let you know if there’s anything she needs.

For those of us who spend the summer at camp, it’s an incredible privilege to watch these hidden talents bloom and grow — on stage, on the playing field, at the waterfront, in the art studio or the riding ring. (We haven’t had a camper develop magical ice powers yet, but anything is possible. Bryn Mawr Angels are full of surprises!) And we hope that while your daughter is at camp, you as parents will also open yourself up to the opportunities of the summer. Take some time to explore your own interests, travel, spend quality time with friends, or learn a new skill of your own. At the end of the summer, you and your Angel can compare notes and see who had the most fun!

As always, thank you for trusting us with your daughter. We know there’s no greater responsibility, and we treasure the opportunity to be part of her life. We’re ready to begin another summer of fun and self-discovery, and we can’t wait to see what this camp season will bring!


Jane and Dan

Meet the Experts, Part 2: Prepare for camp with these tips from the pros!

Last month on the LBMC blog, we introduced you to a group of experienced Lake Bryn Mawr Camp moms who shared their perspective on everything from packing tips to surviving the first “empty nest” week. In fact, our moms had so many good reflections to share that we had to save a few more for this month!

As we enter the home stretch of preparing for camp, it’s important to realize that packing duffels and labeling clothes are only one part of getting your daughter ready for her first time at camp. There is also some emotional preparation, both for her and for you. Everything about her day-to-day life will be new, and it’s important that your daughter know what she should expect from camp, what will be expected of her, and who she can go to when she’s uncertain or homesick. Below, our seasoned moms will share some more of their reflections as they look back at how they felt getting ready for their own daughters’ first summers at camp — and at how camp impacted their daughters’ lives.

But first, we’d like to share some advice from one of our most trusted advisors. Bob Ditter is an expert in helping kids get the most out of camp, and for more than a decade he’s worked with our staff, campers and parents to provide training and guidance. We asked Bob to share his advice for first-time Bryn Mawr parents. In this short video he shares his strategies for helping set your daughter’s expectations about her relationship with her counselors, camp routines, and more. We encourage you to take a few minutes to hear his thoughts — and remember, we are always available to answer your pre-camp questions!

Bob Ditter Video

Tips From Our Moms

Robin: “LBMC did an amazing job for preparing us for our first year at camp. We followed the process from start to finish. If you are a first time camp parent, my best advice is trust the system. It works. Jane and Dan and their staff know the ins and outs and if there is any doubt, they want you to reach out to them – they are totally transparent, totally capable and work together to ensure your daughter will thrive!”

Laurie: “I’d advise your daughters to take full advantage of what Bryn Mawr has to offer. My daughters have said that being at Bryn Mawr was like being at a specialty camp for each activity! They actually became quite good athletes! I would encourage my child to try everything.”

Kimberly: “The one question I wish I’d asked was: How does it all go by so fast?? Definitely savor this special time in your daughter’s life. Before you can blink, she’s an LIT!!”

Laurie: “Parents and daughters should know that it is OK to be homesick or miss their parents or siblings. It doesn’t mean they don’t like camp or love camp; it simply means they miss you, and it is normal to feel that way.”


Laurie: “From my experience, I think Bryn Mawr tries to take care of children physically and emotionally. Would you believe I had such confidence in Jane and Dan and the way camp was run that I asked them for advice on a camp for my son? From our experience with Bryn Mawr, I see that my daughters have lifelong friends, that they learned how to live with others, how to deal with other personalities, how to get along with other girls. They learned great social skills, teamwork, leadership, helping and taking care of others, etc. They learned to participate, and share and try their best. I can honestly say that all the girls I know seem to be leading thriving successful lives.”

Thank you so much to our camper and alumnae moms who agreed to share their insight: Jody Googel, Robin Kranich, Laurie Bendell, Kimberly Glinert, Julie Solomon, and Rachel Strum.

Meet the Experts, Part 1: LBMC moms share their advice for the first summer at camp

Spring is here, and that means the first day of camp is just around the corner! Every Mother’s Day weekend, we open up camp for one of our favorite events of the year: our Open House for new campers and their families. As we get ready to welcome our first-time campers and parents next month, we reached out to some of our camp moms, past and present, to share some advice for parents preparing for their own first day of camp! We asked them about their first weeks as camp parents, the questions they wish they’d asked, the suggestions they have for getting the most out of camp, their observations as their daughters have grown, and they flooded us with so much helpful information, it’s going to take two blog posts to share it all!

The moms we talked to have a wide range of experiences and perspectives on camp. Some, like Jody and Rachel, have more than one daughter in camp. Kimberly’s daughter has gone all the way through Bunk One and is returning as an LIT. And Laurie, whose daughters are grown and in their 20s, has been able to see them carry the lessons learned at camp into adulthood.

The First Week

The first week of camp is an exciting time for campers and counselors — and for first-time parents, it can be a little nerve-wracking! Even when you trust that your daughter is being well taken care of, it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions. Here’s what our seasoned camp moms had to say about their own daughters’ first weeks at Bryn Mawr:

Jody: “My advice is to occupy yourself a A LOT during that first week so you don’t have much time to think about it as you get used to the absence. At camp the girls keep so busy their first week, and it’s filled with exciting new things. Try and do the same for yourself! Maybe plan a vacation!”

Robin: “I remember the first week eagerly diving into all of the photos to get a glimpse of our daughter. Nothing was more thrilling than seeing her in the midst of happy rituals.”

Laurie: “I remember feeling nervous and wondering where their bed was, who they slept near, were they near the one person they each knew, whether they were in the bunk with that family friend from New Jersey… I wondered if they were homesick or happy, and I missed them. I couldn’t wait to receive that call from camp that each one was OK. What I remember most is that I felt that I sent them to a very fine camp and that they would be well taken care of.

Kimberly: “That first week, I remember being a bit in shock! But as soon as I heard from Jane that all was well, I definitely relaxed. And once I received my first letter, I knew my daughter was fine.”

Julie: “I remember how proud we were when she got on the bus — she was going to camp knowing the friends she had met the previous summer at Explorers but getting on the bus not knowing anyone specifically. We were thinking how brave and lucky she was at the same time.

Rachel: “I have two daughters at LBMC and I remember missing them so much and worrying a lot (OK, I cried) during the first week. More than that, though, I remember seeing the pictures start showing up online with their beaming faces with new friends, doing awesome activities, enjoying July 4th and being surrounded with love by Jane, Dan, the older girls and their friends. We felt so thrilled that we were able to give them the experience of a lifetime.

Communicating With Your Daughter

Between emails, phone calls, letters, Visiting Day, and photos and videos on the camp website, you’ll have a lot of points of contact with your daughter throughout the summer. Sometimes the emotions around those communications can be intense — and sometimes your daughter will be having so much fun at camp that she won’t write home as often as you’d like! We asked our experienced moms for their best advice about how to make the most of staying in touch during the summer.

Robin: “Take advantage of the email system to send quick notes to your daughter. They print them and put them on their beds. My daughter asked me to double space hers as I guess I wrote a lot and the text was dense, so I will do that this year! She also requested that I send her with all of her letters preaddressed and stamped. She said this prevented her from writing more (though I am not sure I believe it!).”

Jody: “You will hear this a lot, but do not read too much into the pictures you will see or not see of your child. I became, as a lot do, obsessed with the pictures. Many times my girls were not in group shots or did not have a huge smile on their face in the photo. This is OK. When I eventually asked them about this, they’d tell me they had an option for a group swim but opted to go to do arts and crafts or maybe they didn’t have time to smile or didn’t see the photographer that day to get into that picture. Maybe it was the day they forgot their water bottle in the bunk and had to run back. There are a lot of girls and you just have one or two you want to see!”

Laurie: “One of my biggest pieces of advice is for parents to know that if their daughter complains or is sad or angry, it is probably momentary. Those feelings are gone or have changed before the parents even receive the letter that their daughter wrote about it. Also, feelings may come out when they speak to Mommy and Daddy, but then the feelings are gone and their daughter is really OK.”

Julie: “One question I wish I had asked before sending my daughter to camp for the first time: What’s the setting/atmosphere of the phone calls?We were looking forward to the first phone call but underestimated how emotional it could be for camper and family. Take Jane’s advice and have a list of questions ready.”

Rachel: “I wish I had asked her to send me a letter the first day or two to reassure me she was doing well. I also wish I would have known about the letters that I could write that had fill in the blank return post cards attached that make it so much easier for kids. Every time we write them with a cute game or quiz and an envelope to mail it back in that is already addressed and stamped, they always send it back right away.”

Kimberly: “The best piece of advice I have for first time camp parents (handed over by Jane that first summer!) is to keep in mind that ‘snapshot in time’ philosophy. If you receive a not-so-great letter, whatever it was is most likely right in that moment. You are getting the letter a few days later, and that ‘moment’ has definitely passed. If you ask your daughter about it, she likely won’t even know what you’re talking about!”

Practical Tips and Tricks

As you start to prepare for camp, you’re probably thinking about clothing labels, packing lists and pre-camp physicals. We try to give parents as much information as we can about getting ready for camp, but our experienced moms had some suggestions of their own to add:

  • “I was very literal with the packing list … I could have sent her with a few extra pieces of her own clothing and a little more Green and Gold.”
  • “I don’t think I realized how her bed would become her home away from home, so being a little more thoughtful about making it cozy with blankets and pillows and pictures for the walls is a good suggestion.
  • “Read all emails from camp in a timely manner.”
  • “It’s a good idea to get started labeling, buying spirit items and clothes for special days, packing and filling out forms early! Camp comes so fast and it is so much better to get the work part out of the way in advance so you can spend quality time with your girls and deal with end-of-school-year activities.”
  • “Many other girls had ‘calling cards’ made with their home contact information so they can easily keep in touch during the school year.”
  • “The one question I wish I asked was maybe a few more specifics about packing the trunk. Having never packed a trunk (and not having gone to camp myself), it definitely was a very daunting task!”
  • “Relax, and remember — if something was wrong or there was an issue, camp would notify you.”

Thank you so much to our camper and alumnae moms who agreed to share their insight: Jody Googel, Robin Kranich, Laurie Bendell, Kimberly Glinert, Julie Solomon, and Rachel Strum. Watch out for Part 2, coming in May, when our camp moms and Bob Ditter will share their tips for preparing for camp!

Meet Meryl: A camp mom in every sense of the word!

Joining the Lake Bryn Mawr Camp staff this summer is Meryl Heller, who will be an assistant division head in Junior Camp. Meryl’s perspective on life at camp is impacted not only by her own love of camp but by her dual role — you see, she’s not just a member of the leadership staff. She’s also a camp parent! We sat down with Meryl to talk about camp life from her three points of experience: as a camper, a parent, and a staff member.


LBMC: Tell us about yourself!

Meryl: I grew up in Millburn, New Jersey, and then went to the University of Maryland, where I studied speech and audiology before earning a master’s in special education from Montclair State University. I’m married with two daughters, and now my family lives in Randolph, New Jersey. I teach at Deerfield School in Short Hills. I love to stay active with volleyball and tennis, and I also love Mah Jongg.

LBMC: How long has camp been part of your life?

Meryl: Since I was a little girl! I went to sleepaway camp for the first time at age 7. I switched camps a few times to try different things (one of my camps didn’t have a swimming pool — that was a deal breaker for me!), and then I did a summer college program and teen tours when I got older. I didn’t find my summer home until I came back to camp as an adult.

LBMC: This is your first summer at Bryn Mawr, but it isn’t your first time working at camp, is it?

Meryl: Not at all! I started working at Jeff Lakes Day Camp as a waterfront counselor in 1991. With the exception of a couple of summers off, I was there every summer through 2015 — a total of seven years at the waterfront and 13 summers as a division head. I will miss my Jeff Lake family, but I’m looking forward to this new adventure.

LBMC: You’ll be working with Jocelyn and Eliza in Junior Camp, where many of your campers will be making the transition from day camp to sleepaway camp.

Meryl: That is something I will have in common with some of our campers! I think that gives me some perspective that will help make that transition a positive one for them and for me. My role is not just to be a parent but to help coach campers through the camp experience. Sleepaway camp is different from day camp because you’re away from home and family, and that can seem scary, but it also gives us the gift of time to get to know one another and learn how to solve problems together.

LBMC: How is sleepaway camp a unique environment for problem-solving?

Meryl: At day camp, you go home every day, and if a camper had a hard day or a challenge with a friendship, she might not have had the chance to resolve that before the end of the day. As a parent, it’s hard to know how to help your child approach solving these problems. But at sleepaway camp, where we’re all together all day and all night, there’s time to talk together, understand each other’s perspectives and feelings, and find solutions together. Healthy friendships require work and communication, and I’m happy to be one of the adult role models who can help coach campers as they learn how to be good friends, good communicators and good problem-solvers.

LBMC: You’re not just a camp staff member; you’re a parent of two Bryn Mawr Angels. How does that affect how you approach the job?

Meryl: I’m really excited to have found a summer home that I can share with my children, although there’s a challenge that comes with being a camp parent as well. It’s important to me that they have the same opportunities for independence as every other camper. I want them to have the fullest camp experience possible. Although I’ll be at camp with both my girls this summer, my older daughter started camp last year, so I can appreciate some of the nervousness and uncertainty that first-time parents in particular may experience. I know what it’s like to put your daughter on that bus on the first day and say goodbye! And I also know how exciting it is to get her letters and phone calls and see from photos on the website how much fun she’s having as she adapts to camp life.

1, 2, 3, 4…We Want Color War!


…Or should we say: We’re IN Color War!

Color War 2015 broke on Wednesday night, and already camp is overflowing with spirit, friendly competition, and intense Green and Gold pride. For our Bunk One campers, Color War is the culmination of all the leadership skills they’ve been learning during their years at camp; and for every camper and staff member, it’s a chance to celebrate the summer through fun, games, and lots and lots of cheering!

Each year, our Color War “break” — the event that signals the beginning of Color War — is more creative and spectacular than the last. Our top-secret Color War planning team seems to have a bottomless bag of break ideas, and we never know what they’re going to dream up next. Even Dan and Jane are surprised every year by the way Color War arrives!

This year’s Color War break had a “Night at the Museum” theme based on a mystical Lake Bryn Mawr Camp legend. In the Fieldhouse and the Dining Hall, where the backdrops from Color Wars past are displayed throughout the summer, something magical happens every night after Taps: Powered by the spirit of the Color War hatchets buried on camp, the characters pictured in the backdrops come to life. Should the hatchets be removed from their proper place, the backdrops would lose their ability to come to life, and the spirit of Bryn Mawr would be trapped for the rest of time.

Over the last week, the characters from past Color War themes began to reveal themselves, telling campers that they needed more spirit, more songs and more cheers to survive because it seemed like some of the characters were losing their power — and some had even disappeared completely! Led by Captain Hook (from the Notorious Villains backdrop), a series of characters such as Pippi Longstocking (Unaccompanied Minors), Winnie the Pooh (Bedtime Buddies), Rainbow Brite and Doc from “Back to the Future” made appearances as the problem became clear: Someone was trying to steal the hatchets.

More clues were revealed that a group of undercover operatives were trying to steal the hatchets for someone known only as “Command.” The villains schemed to unbury the hatchets and get them off camp. In a series of fake breaks, they made various attempts to escape camp with the hatchets, but the campers rallied together in spirit and trapped the bad guys inside a backdrop!

Last night, the operatives escaped from their captors and headed to the lake, where they attempted to get away on Captain Hook’s stolen pirate ship. Everyone in camp followed them down to the lake, where the Bunk One campers had to quickly assemble a catapult. Using the catapult, Captain Hook managed to catch the ship on fire, and the bad guys swam to shore, where they were vanquished by the group of Color War backdrop characters.

With the hatchets restored, who should appear but the mysterious “Command”… Jane?! Jane revealed to camp that stealing the hatchets was her plan to see how far campers would go to protect the values and spirit we hold so dear. With that, the giant letters G&G to represent Green and Gold were illuminated, and a surprise fireworks display lit up the sky — Color War 2015 had broken out!

In the days to come, there will be sports and games, treasured traditions like Apache Relay and Bucket Brigade, and intense preparations for Sing, the culminating event of Color War at which a new pair of backdrops, Green and Gold, will be revealed. We love this exciting time of summer — and we especially love the sense of magic and surprise that is woven throughout the buildup to Color War. Camp is a place where even the most sophisticated teenager can believe in magic, that paintings can come to life and a pirate ship can sail across the lake and songs and cheers have the power to protect the place you love.

Three cheers for Color War!

Campfire Stories the Bryn Mawr Way…

Who doesn’t love a great story? We know our campers do! For years, campers have enjoyed traditional summertime readings of two of our favorite books, The Velveteen Rabbit and The Giving Tree, and we’ve blogged before about why we love those two books.

Each summer, when we sit down to read our Friday night stories, we try to bring back some old favorites as well as introduce some new selections, each with a message that underscores the values that are at the heart of the Bryn Mawr experience. Here are some of the books we’ve enjoyed at our all-camp storytimes this summer!

Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day
By Jamie Lee Curtis

“Today I feel silly; Mom says it’s the heat. I put rouge on the cat and gloves on my feet.” We love this fun picture book about a little girl and all the various emotions she experiences from day to day. Moods (good and bad!) are something that happen to us all, and it’s so important for children to feel like they can express their feelings in an honest, open and constructive way. Everyone will be angry, sad, excited, scared, happy or silly at various times, and we love that this book makes it feel OK to have all these different feelings, and to know that they are universal.

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
By James Dean and Eric Litwin

Singing, chants and cheers are such a big part of life at camp, so this sing-along book is a big hit with campers of all ages. We also love the message — that “stuff” doesn’t matter. Pete loses his buttons, but he doesn’t let that get him down. He keeps on singing! This is such a fun book to read aloud and to encourage kids to join in on the rhymes.

Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don’t)
By Barbara Bottner and Michael Emberley

Miss Brooks is a quirky librarian who loves to bring stories to life. And Missy is a little girl who refuses to like any of Miss Brooks’ book suggestions. Miss Brooks goes overboard to prove to her student that there’s a book out there for her! To tell you the truth, this one is for our counselors as much as it is for our campers — they have all experienced trying to get a camper excited about something she doesn’t think she’ll like! For campers, Miss Brooks’ message is a wonderful one that really highlights one of the great things about camp: We might not all like the same things, but when it comes down to it, there is something for everyone!

We hope you and your daughters enjoy some of these stories at home — and if you have book suggestions, send them our way. We’re always on the lookout for a great read with a great message!

We’ve got spirit, yes we do!

There’s excitement in the air around camp, and we bet you know why…

Thursday night was Spirit Night!

OK, OK — we know, and you know, that this Saturday is Visiting Day. It’s a highlight of the summer for campers and parents alike. For parents, it’s your chance to see what your daughters have been up to all summer — meet their counselors, see their new skills, check out their art projects. And for campers, it’s a day to show off their summer home, plus revel in a little special family time!

Just like you spend extra time getting your house ready to welcome special guests, we invest extra effort in getting camp ready to welcome our most special visitors: our parents and families. During the week before Visiting Day, excitement runs high around camp as campers rush to finish art projects, perfect new skills and clean up their bunks in preparation for the big day. There’s a thin line between excitement and nervousness, and as much fun as it is to think about the joy that comes with Visiting Day, campers also sometimes have a hard time focusing on day-to-day life at camp as they think about the family reunion to come.

More than a decade ago, we landed on a way to channel that pre-Visiting Day energy into something fun and productive that celebrates camp and all the things we love about it. In the days running up to Visiting Day, amid the preparations for Saturday, we spend extra time preparing for Spirit Night, an evening when campers quite literally sing the praises of their age groups.

Spirit Night is about bringing campers together to reflect on what makes their age group special — their interests, their inside jokes, their love for camp and what it means to be a camper in their age group. Girls from each bunk work together to write original song lyrics that tell the story of who they are and what makes their age group special — the things they all have in common. On Thursday this week, we gathered all the age groups together in our annual Spirit Night to hear each song performed and embrace the spirit of togetherness that unites girls across cabins, across friendships and through each summer, year after year.

On Saturday, you and your families will be ready and waiting to run across Main Campus and greet your campers, and they’ll gather in a spirit chain to chant “let them in!” The excitement of Visiting Day is the excitement of sharing camp with the outside world and the people we love there. We know there’s no better way to prepare than to spend a special evening celebrating what it means to share camp with one another — the campers and counselors who truly understand what it means to be a Bryn Mawr Angel!

Here at camp, we love the nightlife — evening activity, that is!

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.

Summer 2015 is Officially Here!

Every year, it seems like the first day of camp will never come — and every year, it feels like a dream to see the buses roll onto Main Campus and hear the sound of hundreds of girls coming “home” for the summer. But today the dream was reality, and we are so excited to welcome all our campers, new and returning, for the best summer yet!

Here at camp, we start right into a regular routine in order to help the girls get settled, so first thing tomorrow morning we’ll jump into activities and instruction. Camp is about fun and friendship, and it’s also about learning new things, from sports to leadership to life skills. One of our favorite camp experts, Bob Ditter, talks about the three basic psychological needs all people have:

  1. Relationships – a connection to someone else
  2. Mastery/competence – feeling good about what we do
  3. Sense of autonomy – being who we really are

What we love about camp is that it’s a place where girls can fulfill all three of those needs and learn new things at the same time… all while they just think they’re having fun! In fact, sometimes the summer goes by so quickly that girls don’t really have time to reflect on what they’ve learned and how much they’ve grown.

One way you might help your daughter get the most out of camp is to help her set some goals for the summer. By this time tomorrow, she’ll be well into her first full day of activities, and she will already be thinking about all the different things she’ll get to try this summer. Now that she’s at camp and the summer feels real, what will she want to try and do? What will she learn along the way? And when she looks back on the summer, will she be able to appreciate everything she’s accomplished? By going through the process of setting goals, working toward them, and evaluating progress, your daughter will be able to look back at the end of the summer and not only remember all the good times she had but appreciate all the ways in which she grew and learned.

When you write to your daughter this week, consider encouraging her to think about her goals for the summer. These goals might be skills-focused (learn an overhand serve; move up a level in riding; land a back tuck), meeting her need for a sense of mastery. They might be relationship-focused (make friends with someone in every age group; go to three intercamps and introduce new friends at each one; room with someone new on an overnight trip and learn three new things you like about her), helping her forge connections to others. Or they might be self-focused (count to 10 before losing your temper; try five new foods; pick a characteristic you like, such as friendliness or patience, and try to do something every day that embodies that word), helping her develop a sense of autonomy.

Check in with your camper about her goals throughout the summer to see how she’s progressing. You could also suggest she share them with her counselor or group leader and ask for their support — our staff members love to help campers set and achieve goals, whether athletic, creative or personal! Through praise, encouragement, instruction and problem-solving, counselors are always there to help their campers strive for success.

Tonight, your camper spends the first night of the summer sleeping under a starry Pennsylvania sky. Tomorrow, she’ll jump headfirst into a summer of fun, friendship and learning. We can’t wait to see what the summer brings… and to help your daughter achieve her goals, whatever they may be!

Project Morry: What happens at camp matters in the “real world”…


Project Morry was established in 1995 to provide a summer camp opportunity to inner-city youth who otherwise likely wouldn’t be able to experience the gift of camp. Named for Morry Stein, a legendary camp director who died in 1994, Project Morry honors Morry’s belief that summer camp provides lifelong benefits and his dream of making summer camp a reality for children from all backgrounds. Founded as Morry’s Camp, the organization adopted the name Project Morry as it expanded to become a year-round, long-term program that fosters education, enrichment and lifelong success.

At Bryn Mawr, we have felt a very personal connection to Project Morry since its beginning. Morry Stein came into Dan’s life 50 years ago when he came to the Kagan family home to enroll Dan’s brother in summer camp. Morry gradually became a very important influence in Dan’s life, first as his camp director and later as a mentor, helping Dan hone the skills that make a great camp director — compassion, honesty, fairness, listening and leadership.

Since Project Morry was established, we have been proud to support its programs and help share Morry’s vision. What has been truly wonderful, though, has been seeing LBMC campers and staff, most of whom never had the opportunity to know Morry himself, embrace Project Morry and its mission.

For 15 years, support for Project Morry has been a part of the Bryn Mawr summer experience. Our campers have swum countless laps and raised thousands of dollars through our annual swim-a-thon fundraiser, and our oldest girls have been able to visit and volunteer at Morry’s Camp, where they have experienced Morry’s vision firsthand. And campers and counselors of all ages have made supporting Project Morry a part of their lives long after camp ends through donations, service projects, and participation in Project Morry fundraisers.

One of our campers, Dani Z., was so inspired by her summer experience at Morry’s Camp that she recently nominated Project Morry to receive a grant from her JCC’s Teen Philanthropy Institute.

“During the final meetings, I shared stories of my experience with Project Morry, which significantly impacted our decision,” Dani wrote. “My peers were inspired by my own experiences and realized how great of a cause Project Morry really is.” Dani’s youth group voted to make a donation of $2,200 to Project Morry. In a note to camp, Dani expressed her appreciation for Project Morry and the opportunity she had at camp to support its work.

“I wanted to thank you for allowing me to have that experience, and for making Project Morry such a huge part of camp,” she wrote. “It really does have an impact on me, and I am sure, on all of the campers.”

All of which just goes to show that Morry was right: What children do at camp translates into life after camp. Whether it’s demonstrating team spirit, learning good sportsmanship, developing problem-solving skills or gaining an appreciation for helping others, the lessons of camp become lifelong lessons that help shape campers as they grow into adulthood. We’re looking forward to the life lessons that await our campers when camp starts in a few weeks — and to watching as they put those lessons to use in the years to come!

Learn more about Project Morry at