Serendipity Offers Haverford Students the Chance to Work with Children
A rarity during the academic year, dozens of children dashing around Haverford's grassy quads and playing fields is not an unusual sight on the College's campus during the summer. In fact, Haverford hosts eight different summer programs for children over the course of the season, and the campus is practically filled with children. The oldest and one of the most popular summer programs is Serendipity Day Camp. Established more than 40 years ago, its senior counselors are primarily composed of current Haverford students and recent graduates, while the junior counselors are often former campers.
In July and August, the counselors are responsible for managing a minimum of 155 campers, so before the camp opens, the counselors undergo a week of orientation, which includes training in Red Cross techniques and methods for helping campers on medication or with behavioral problems, planning bunks and activities, and learning to work together.
In addition to traditional camp activities such as sports and swimming, the campers participate in a number of field trips over the course of the summer. This year, the campers are slotted to go to the Franklin Institute in nearby Philadelphia, the Norristown Zoo, an amusement park, a local roller-skating rink, and on a rafting trip. The camp also features an overnight event, followed by a“Pig Out Day,” when the campers are served plenty of soft ice cream sundaes.
Serendipity Day Camp was originally founded in the early 1960's under the auspices of the 8th Dimension Office, Haverford College's volunteer program. At that time, two area residents contacted the president of the College, and together, they conceived the idea of a day camp for children from the local community. The camp was discontinued for a period of time in the 1970's and early â€˜80s until 1984 when Marilou Allen, the director of the 8th Dimension since 1981, recognized the need to re-establish the popular day camp.