Sleepaway camps are like small nations! There are tons of moving parts, an army of people at the ready, and things have to be firing on all cylinders to ensure smooth sailing and hundreds of happy campers. This Mother’s Day the Summer 365 team would like to appreciate and express much gratitude to the female directors, who have a huge hand in helping make all of this possible. These are the women in front of and behind the scenes who “adopt” hundreds of surrogate children each summer. Little do your campers know that camp directors seize every opportunity to teach their camp kids life lessons that will stick with them for life. From daily activities to roasting s’mores around the campfire, each second at camp is a teachable moment. We interviewed all star camp directors who shared their thoughts and feelings about the motherhood they experience during their summers. Meet Jane Kagan!
What’s the best part of having hundreds of surrogate children?
Being able to stay young! I love to take campers out on the lake, jump in the pool with them, and read stories in different bunks at night time! Also love being able to go down the zip line and on a water tube in the lake!
What’s your proudest moment as a camp director?
My proudest and favorite moment is when I hand each bunk one girl her Angel. This is a long time camp tradition- each Bunk one girl (oldest campers) receive a silver angel that symbolizes their journey at camp and their connections to the friendships formed at camp.
Share a time when camp has changed one of your “kids”?
Brooke is one of many campers that camp has made a difference for. For her first week of camp, she cried on my lap for hours at a time, walked around in a dirty dark sweat shirt with her hair in front of her face and her nose running! By giving brooke lots of love, attention, and distraction, she was able to overcome her homesickness and was an 8 year camper with us. We took many walks with my puppies! Camp gave Brooke and many others the confidence to be able to miss home and at the same time have fun at camp.
Any special lessons or stories you share with your “kids” during the summer?
I tell campers all the time how camp is the greatest gift that their parents give them! I share that I did not get to go to sleep away camp when I was younger because my parents owned a day camp! I tell them how I didn’t learn to play jacks or trade stationary until I came to Lake Bryn Mawr Camp as the Director! And I also talk about how I did not know what it was like to be away from my parents until I was 18 years old and how that was hard!