IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME:
The Haverford Train Station, for one thing. Thirty-two students from some of the toughest high schools in Philadelphia -- Gratz, Edison, Strawberry Mansion -- show up there every day to catch the 5 p.m. R5 back to town, having spent eight hours working with Brian Girard of Haverford and Katy McGuinn of Bryn Mawr, in the Youthworks College Bound Program, here.
Overseen by Raisa Williams, Dean for First Year Students at Haverford, the outstanding 11th graders -- after serious time in computer workshops and learning research and presentation skills, and in making day trips and pursuing group discussions on the theme: "The Power of the Presidency", are ready to blow off some steam: "Ra-chel ! Where you going, girl?" yells a lean six-footer in a basketball tee and Fila sneakers ("felony kicks" in the 'hood, after their immense popularity).
"What you want to know for, boy?" Rachel, a self-possessed young woman in jeans, replies.
A benchload of other teen-agers cracks up, giggling.
"Because I ain't got no girlfriend!"
Rachel raises her eyebrows in arch exaggeration:"Yeah? Well, look elsewhere, son! I'm spoken for . . ." She executes a sharp dance move.
Dean Williams, who formerly worked separately with Philadelphia Futures, an organization focused on finding the best college material in economically-challenged neighborhoods, feels this year's initial joint YCB/PF effort at Haverford is bound to succeed: "The energy level is so high," she says.
Lots of Haverford alumns and students are busy in the sports programs dotting the campus this summer. Baseball coach Dave Beccaria used Jack Schneider, '02; Jonas Clark, '04; Jim Thompson, '04; Rob Schiff, '04; Jeff Graupe, '06 and Tim McClean, '06, in his two-week baseball day camp, which concluded July 16th. In addition to baseball, Josh Mertz and Tom Veltman, both '07, were teaching the fine art of epee fencing, and track star Garvey Camilien, '05, worked as a counselor for the Youthworks/Philly Futures program mentioned above.
Then there was HC lacrosse coach Mike Murphy's week-long camp; coach Fran Rizzo's running camp, (June 16--August 2); two weeks of day soccer camp, with coach Joe Amorim (July 19--26th) ; and weekend tennis tournaments coordinated by coach Ann Koger. The great basketball coach Mike Mucci completed his very successful B-ball camps with some Philadelphia 76ers participating, from June 14th through the 25th.
Every year, undergrads and grads like Sarah Hartman, '07, who majors in anthropology and minors in the Growth and Structure of Cities , work on campus in various capacities. This year, Sarah is in Magill Library, monitoring, among other things, climate-control as it affects some of Haverford's oil painting collection, and the Charles Roberts Collection of American manuscripts, letters, deeds and other business correspondence: among the Collection's treasures are William Penn and Thomas Jefferson papers, and correspondence from Abraham Lincoln and James Michener: "Too much moisture and cold can ruin canvas, the surface of the paint and frames, obviously, so we make use of a climate-logger" [to make adjustments]. Likewise, aridity and overheating can affect even the fine rag content in 18th and 19th century parchment and paper, "so manuscripts must be closely watched, too."
Sarah, who is blonde and wears an eyebrow ring, sees herself in five years as a curator in a museum -- "maybe the Smithsonian."
Karl Blumenthal, '06, an Art History major at Bryn Mawr, is also spending July and August at Magill, where his job includes maintaining the digital archives for the Special Collections Division, and filling in for the executive assistant to the Librarian, Robert H. Kieft: "Mornings, I'm a gofer; afternoons, my job is more technical."
Blumenthal came to Haverford because he's a Quaker (he's a graduate of William Penn Charter School), and appreciates the Honor Code and less overtly competitive atmosphere of the learning environment: "I know I'm inside the Haverford Bubble here, but the process is about developing, so if the values of the place affect your character, you'll have them throughout your life . . . Yes, I realize that [more aggressively competitive schools] might prepare you more for [achieving] 'success' on the outside, but I wouldn't be happy that way. My time here [the library] has taught me that I'm happier in a library or museum environment. My art history courses prepare me for that . . . and I don't really see myself teaching."
Maya Severns, '04, a Comparative Lit and French major with a Latin minor, is in the Science Library this year (after helping the division move over from their old location in Stokes in an earlier incarnation, she just stayed with them,having grown familiar with their operation, and as a nice break from her concentration.)
Her day consists of helping to inventory the astronomy library collection (housed in the observatory), something left undone for a long time; and cataloguing senior science theses and housing them in the Science Library -- an improvement over the old system of leaving them in various professors' offices, "where they weren't as accessible to students."
In addition, Severns is doing research for Professor Deborah Roberts for a book chapter Roberts is writing on 20th century translations of classical texts: "Later, I'll organize articles for a class on children's literature [which Roberts will teach in the fall], and [later] will put on Blackboard, an online service for students and faculty to access articles and other materials for their classes." Maya thinks Blackboard is invaluable, in that many instructors ask students to post responses to the readings for courses, and then discuss their classmates' postings online -- like a digital town meeting.
She'll be spending the next year in Paris, teaching English to public school kids, and will also be pursuing her doctorate in Comp Lit at the Sorbonne, and, perhaps, at other French schools.
Tina Krinsky is a gorgeous blonde, director of marketing and public relations for her husband Jullian, who is now in the 25th year of coordinating the Krinsky Camps, summertime "pre-college experiences" for youngsters, largely in the 12 to 16-year age range; they offer classes in business, cooking, fashion design, music, as well as sports like golf, tennis, soccer and cricket, here at Haverford -- but also at Cabrini College; the University of Pennsylvania; the Shipley School; Bryn Mawr; and at sites on the West Coast.
"The experience for our youngsters is a kind of 'getting-ready-to-go-away-to-college' conditioning -- you get a key to your own room (here at empty dormitory housing sites like Leeds, Gummere and Drinker), you have to learn to cope with your own laundry, sometimes for the first time -- you're sort of stepping into life a little bit . . ." she says.
Krinsky sign-ups come from word-of-mouth and "generational repeat" at this point, and the kids tend to be well-off high-achievers and the progeny of famous parents -- "We have to respect people's privacy," Julian says, loyally, "but I can tell you we have the children of super well-known TV and movie performers, politicians and athletes here." "So well-known," adds Tina, "that they have bodyguards, who look like them -- young guys for young guys; young women for young women . . ."
And, this year, there are more youngsters from France, Spain and Italy, whose parents would like to see them removed for the summer from the pressures attendant on countries with large fundamentalist populations. (Many European parents join their children after they've attended Haverford's Krinsky Camp, to tour the U.S.)
At $2300 for two weeks or $3450 for a five-week session that includes tuition, room and board, the camps are well-attended -- 3,000 students will have the Krinsky experience at Haverford this year: "It's a bit more modern than the older idea of 'summer camp'," Julian says. "We're not exactly Survivor here; there are shops and facilities just around the corner, and we allow our kids to use their cell phones . . . In fact, one young man from Italy had misplaced his, and wanted to talk to his family, who were cruising the Mediterreanean on their yacht. I lent him mine. The bill for the call was $196.00!"
Another group of campers are ubiquitous at Haverford during the hot months, as they've been for many years, under the direction of Marilou Allen. These are the Serendipity Day Camp participants, and you can find them on Cope Field, Barclay Beach, at play on the volleyball courts to the immediate west of the Science Building, down near the Duck Pond, and sometimes using the gym (they arrived June 28 and will be here into August.)
Undergrads monitor and lead the Serendipity kids in their less formal (than the athletic department's) programs, and 180 of them per week also enjoy extended day and overnight activities and weekly field trips. This year there will be a carnival, too, and a great finale for the summer of '04 with a closing drama performance in Marshall Auditorium. That will happen the evening of Friday, August 13th (!)
The most high-profile summer activities often involve the Enrichment Program, which began this year June 19. Among the big draws, 76ers basketball camp, featuring pro stars and coaches from the team, who can show you slick moves to dazzle your friends in B-ball pick-up games; and a 76ers Dance Camp, wherein the lovely 76ers cheerleader squad members reveal their utmost dance steps.There is also a Main Line Youth Lacrosse Camp.
Most of the kids who arrived first were locals; on Saturday July 3rd, a second group of Enrichment Program kids got here, and they were largely from places around the U.S., and from France, Belgium, Italy, England, Spain, Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands -- here to study SAT testing prep courses, photography, radio broadcasting, videography and dance. The second group were on campus through July 23rd, and on the next day, a third session began which will last through August 13. There are approximately 100 participants for each of the three Enrichment Camp sessions.
Finally, there is the Ballet "Camp", a slight misnomer, since ballet training actually takes place in Philadelphia, at the Rock School. One hundred eighty-five aspiring dancers between nine and 21 arrived at Haverford from all over the country, as well as from Cyprus, Greece and Paris, France, on June 25, and plunked down largely in Barclay and Roberts Halls. From there they sally forth each morning to be transported to Philly by school bus, and spend long days perfecting their plies and grand jetes (all have been selected through national auditions). They do this six days a week!
On Sundays they may rest, or go on planned, chaperoned trips to places like New York City, Ocean City, New Jersey (!), or Dorney Park. So the best time to catch sight of them is early morning, when they 're climbing aboard their buses like soldiers at reveille (albeit very pretty soldiers), or in the late afternoon, when they float back to campus, released from the discipline of the danse, and can become (mostly) teen-agers again.
Or you can go to the free performance they'll give on the evening of Friday July 31st at Marshall Auditorium. Kathy McLean is in charge.