ACA, Indiana Blog

March 4, 2014

Do you LOVE camp!?   ***   Do you enjoy giving back to others?   ***   Would you enjoy the opportunity for idea-sharing and networking with other professionals dedicated to camp?   ***   Do you have time (even in small doses) and talent that you might be able to offer to the camp community?   ***   Could you use a meaningful resume-builder? (it’s ok to answer yes)   ***   Would you consider helping to advance the mission of camp in far-reaching and enduring ways?

ACA Indiana is now beginning to bring in our new cohort of Local Council of Leaders (LCOL) and Committee members.  We are in need of dedicated and creative people to help us in a variety roles, ranging from Standards Visitor to Conference Coordinator to Member Services Chair.  More information on opportunities available through ACA Indiana can be found via First Steps To Volunteering With ACA Indiana

If you answered yes to the questions above, we would love the opportunity to get to work with you and ask that you complete our 'Volunteer Match Form'.  This will help us to gather your interests and experience, as we work on next steps for ACA Indiana’s recruitment project.  

We hope that you will consider joining us, as we work to make the camp community in Indiana the very strongest it can possibly be.  We look forward to having you on-board with us!

March 4, 2014

Therese Plotz- Chairperson

About: Standards visitor for six years and former Director of Outdoor Education for Girl Scouts in Michigan and seasonal camp director in Illinois and Missouri.  Currently serving on the Policy Council for Family Development services in Indianapolis and staying home to care for newborn.  BA from Northeastern Illinois University.



Susie Davis, CCD - Review Hearing Coordinator

About: Recreation Director at Noblesville Parks and Recreation Dept. Involvement with ACA for many years- Standards Instructor/Trainer, former Standards Chair, National Standards Commission, past ACA Indiana Section President, and ACA Certified Camp Director (CCD). B.S., Recreation and Park Administration, IU Bloomington. National Park & Recreation Association,  CPRP (Certified Parks and Recreation Professional).

Contact or 317-770-5750 w


Jennifer Rumple- Guardian of the Standards Tool

About: Program Leader for the Wilderness Adventure Club @ Camptown- an afterschool program teaching 4th-6th graders about outdoor living skills. I have worked for Jameson Camp for the past four summers as a Cabin Counselor, Head Activity Instructor, Assistant Health Supervisor and Leadership Staff Specialist.  My final internship for school was at Jameson Camp, which was focused on the leadership aspects of camp. My degree is from IUPUI with a Master’s in Social Work. Published in the Camping Magazine, May/June Issue 2012- focused on how important camps are to enhancing the lives of campers as well as the counselors.  

Contact or 317-489-1172


Jill Frey - Co Chair & Training Coordinator

About: Camp Services Manager/ Camp Director/ Safety and Risk Management Specialist at Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana. Day Camp Director, McMillen Program Center, Girl Scouts of Limberlost Council. Director of Program Services, Girls Scouts of Little Cloud Council. ACA Standards Instructor, Visitor for many years, involved with ACA Great Rivers board, and member ACA St Louis section. Bachelors of Science, Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration, Western Illinois University.

Contact or 260-422-3417


Tammy Nordhoff - Visitor Assignment Guru

About: Assistant Director/Foodservice Director/Waterfront Director at Happy Hollow Children's Camp, Inc. for over 20 years.  Been an Indiana Section ACA member and visitor for over 15 years. Bachelors of Science, Elementary Education, Indiana University and have completed the Basic Camp Directors Course and the Standards Instructor Course.

Contact or 812-988-4900

April 23, 2013

National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership. The week draws the support and endorsement of the president and Congress, governors, mayors and municipal leaders, as well as corporate and community groups across the country.

Through programs such as the President's Volunteer Service Award, Daily Point of Light Award and the Extra Mile – Points of Light Volunteer Pathway, we recognize individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and government entities and the tremendous impact they are making on our country's most critical challenges year-round.

In Honor of National Volunteer Week, we have some opportunities available with ACA Indiana.... YOU tell us what interests you! More details available on our Volunteering webpage but here are some highlights:
* EPIC Indiana (Emerging Professionals In Camping)
* Scholarships & Awards
* Camp Fairs
* Public Relations
* Cluster Events (education)
* Student Camp Leadership Academy (SCLA)
* Mid States Camp Conference
* Fundraising
* Public Policy
and more.


Learn more about ACA Indiana, our Local Council of Leaders, Committee opportunities and specific projects/tasks.

April 23, 2013

I recently received a newsletter that had an article about Great Leaders Get Rid of Clutter. The author made reference to having lived in the same house for 10 years and then packing and moving in 8 days. Instead of meticulous organization, things got tossed in boxes regardless of usefulness or category. Unpacking at the new home was “interesting” to say the least. The author then goes on to consider the clutter as a reflection on themselves.

In reality, if I am honest, probably 50-60% of the clutter and stuff I choose not to part with is simply not necessary.  Going a step further, some of it actually inhibits my space and progress.  The same can be said for leaders who hoard multiple projects, goals, or long outdated strategies in hope that one day they will be successful.  For leaders to be effective, they must de-clutter their efforts and focus on what matters most.

In the very early 1900's, an Italian economist by the name of Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula describing the unequal distribution of wealth he observed and measured in his country: Pareto observed that roughly twenty percent of the people controlled or owned eighty percent of the wealth.  In the late 1940s, Dr. Joseph M. Juran, a Quality Management pioneer, attributed the 80/20 Rule to Pareto, calling it Pareto's Principle. The 80/20 Rule means that in any set of things (workers, customers, etc.) a few (20 percent) are vital and many (80 percent) are considered trivial.

I considered the impact of clutter in our personal lives, clutter in our work lives and then I thought a step further to how to we add or remove clutter from the lives of others, be them campers, staff, volunteers, retreat groups or others in general?

After sharing this little article with a dear friend, a deep conversation took the clutter conversation to an entirely different level…. Those with clutter in one area of their life are prone to clutter in many areas of their life.

Where do you have clutter? Does your home clutter affect your work clutter, or vice versa? Do you create clutter for others? Do you relieve clutter of others?  I encourage you to declutter- before summer becomes it’s on form of clutter.


Yours in Camping,

~ Brigitta

(Executive Director, ACA Indiana)

April 16, 2013

Summer is right around the corner and it's not too soon to start planning.  While your need for child care is year-round, summertime offers special opportunities as well as challenges. Even for very young children, child care schedules often follow a school year model with transitions in June or September. For some children, the end of the school year will mean a move to a new classroom.  For others, it may mean choosing a camp or recreational program followed by a new class or new school in the Fall. 

Some children will be uneasy about the changes ahead. Changes in children's behavior and anxiety levels can occur when these changes take place. Try to think about each transition as an opportunity to teach your child how to handle new situations. Adults know that change is a constant, inevitable part of life. Talk with your child about the changes. Knowing what to expect and getting support from you can help your child gain the confidence to manage the road ahead.

Anticipating The Changes

For some children summer will mean changes in their regular child care program. There may be more outdoor play and exploration, and extra water play from bubble making to swimming.  There will be new faces as familiar staff take vacations and substitutes join the program for the summer. Check with your child's program about the changes so you can help your child anticipate them.

For families using family child care arrangements, it is important to talk with your caregiver early about vacation plans. You may want to plan your vacations for the same time. Even very young children need explanations and reassurances about changing routines. A favorite blanket or stuffed animal may become even more important.

Arrangements For School Age Children

For many parents, the end of the school year can leave you scrambling for care. Think about your older child's growing skills and needs. If you want help finding resources, call your local child care referral agency.  Summer care can be a combination of arrangements. Sometimes these can be shared with friends or relatives. You may be willing to share a caregiver half the day so that children can attend an arts and crafts program the other half. Meet your children's needs for summer by blending interests and talents with a carefully planned schedule for care.  The key to success is to start early.  Programs and camps are booked quickly or have registration days with long lines and often require applications and deposits well in advance.  If you are expecting to hire a teenager for child care help, make that phone call as soon as possible. You may want to post a help wanted ad at your local high school, church or community center.

Considerations For Your Family

Combine a schedule of your family's needs with your child's interests. You can support growth in responsibility and independence, as well as providing rich experiences. Choosing the right summer arrangement for your child is a matter of knowing your child and asking the right questions.

           Scheduling And Cost

  • When and how often does the program meet?
  • What are the arrangements for transportation?
  • Does the program accommodate your family's work schedule?
  • Does the program's start date and end match your child's summer vacation or leave you a gap in child care?
  • What is the cost and is financial assistance available?

           Children's Needs, Safety And Quality

  • What are the camp's strengths and philosophy?
  • Is the camp accredited by the American Camping Association?
  • What are the experiences and skills of the director and counselors?
  • What is the ratio of counselors to campers?
  • What food is provided?
  • How does the program respond to children of all ages?
  • Do the program's activities address your child's interests and abilities?
  • What are the condition and safety of the facilities and equipment?
  • What medical care is available?
  • Are some of your child's friends enrolled?
  • How does the program help children develop new friendships?


Article reprinted from Child Care Aware Parent Central.

April 3, 2013

The spring season is upon us (for some winter is holding on!), and I am sure we are all gearing up for a successful summer.  While you are opening up your camp, hiring summer staff, attending job/camper fairs, working school groups and holding weekend retreats, we want to remind you that ACA Indiana is here to help anyway we can.

Our Local Council of Leaders (LCOL) will hold our spring meeting next week, and we will continue to work in the background to support our membership.  Please know that we are here to help and we want you to use us to answer questions or as an educational resource.  We can be available to talk issues, interpret standards, consult about programs or even visit your camp.  All you need to do is ask one of our LCOL members. 

One of our LCOL goals is to visit member camps to learn more about your organization.  We also wish to continue to learn more about your needs and issues that challenge your camp.  We stay on top of most situations that affect the camp industry, but some of you are closer to specific items that may impact your program at a local level.  These are situations we would like to know more about so we can help mobilize support for your organization or help you find alternate resources.

In summary – ACA Indiana will continue to offer a value that is unmatched in our industry.  Please reach out to any of our LCOL anytime you have questions or concerns.  And as always, if you are interested in getting more involved with ACA please let me know.  Thank you.


Yours in Camping,

Sonny Adkins

Chair, ACA Indiana LCOL

March 4, 2013

I had the chance to go to Disney over Halloween last October.  My 10 year old son, my wife and I had 6 days to explore this world famous destination.  Can you believe not one of us had been before?  It seems like a ‘must do’ for families.  Just wasn’t in our family plan – until last fall!

2 days were travel days and the other 4 we opted to go to a park per day.  Everyone I talked to said you will love Disney and it is such an ‘experience’.  What does that mean?  Experience?  I have an experience every day – so I was anxious and anticipated learning what they were talking about.  Well, I can say Disney delivered the ‘experience’, for sure.  Our ‘experience’ included noticeable planning and execution of literally everything Disney does and everything Disney is part of, which was everything!  Things like detailed transition of music from area to area, to never seeing a trash collector, to the hidden Mickey’s, to the parades and fireworks. They were all part of this magical vacation.  They had thought of everything.  What Disney does is very intentional and well executed.  Disney delivered my family the experience.

Those of you that have been to Disney maybe understand what I am talking about.  You can also possibly relate to the idea that offering an experience is something we try to do at our camps.  Think about it, from the time you make contact with a patron you are trying to give them the best experience you possibly can.  I thought about how our intent is very parallel to Disney’s, the significant difference is in our presentation.  Ok, and the money, resources, property, cartoon characters…I get it!

But what we want for our ‘customers’ is not so different.  I have also had the opportunity, through ACA conferences, to listen to Disney Executives talk about how they provide this experience to their patrons.  As you can imagine there are many layers to this process.  So what can we learn from the Magic Kingdom?   Maybe nothing – but my take away was that our responsibility to our campers, to the industry and to our organizations is to do everything in our power to provide our campers with a positive experience.  That might look different where I work then where you work, but the intention is the same. 

The other thing I already knew, but confirmed after being at Disney for a week is that they do what they do extremely well.  And so do we – be proud of the experiences and opportunities we offer to campers, and share the magic!  When campers talk about their camp experience well after it happened, we can be happy with a job well done.  My son still talks about Disney, quite often – but not as often as his camp experience.  That is pretty powerful.

Editorial note:  We won’t go back to Disney anytime soon.  We have friends that go every year – that is their vacation.  I guess we prefer magical experiences elsewhere.  To each their own!  It was fun, however, to be there during Halloween.

Yours in Camping,

Sonny Adkins

LCOL Chair, ACA Indiana

March 2, 2013

Whether you’re a parent, a camp administrator, educator, camper or other, the question, simple as it reads, has such an amazing array of answers and stories for each of us. And it brings me to the topic for this edition of chattering from the chair.

I started in this industry as a summer camp counselor in 1986, and the following year continued camping more full time working year-round (OE, weekends, etc.). Like many of us I was going to college and trying to figure out what I wanted to do – and at the time it wasn’t camp. But something happened that changed my perspective and my professional path forever. For many of us this life changing experience came in the form of working with an amazing camper, sharing the camp experience with our son/daughter, or working with a staff member that becomes our best friend or even life partner. You can make that significant connection to that person from wherever you are, and typically it becomes your camp ‘elevator’ message when talking about camp. Or maybe it was an experience when you were able to ‘make a difference’ in a child. Because that is what camping is all about, isn’t it?

For me it was much different.

Camp helped me find my way as an individual. Yes, I had the euphoric experiences with amazing campers, best friends and the like, but camp truly changed my way of viewing the world and possibly more importantly, viewing myself. I can honestly say camp has been a significant part of shaping who I am – and it continues to do so in amazing ways. In its most basic form, that is what camp means to me. It gave me so much, and hopefully I have been able to give back just as much.

So what’s my point? My point is that when you peel back all the layers of this camp onion, there are so many anecdotal messages that in my opinion always come back to the fact that camp is so important on so many levels. And for many of us, the meaning of camp is just that simple at fundamental level – its important and part of who we are. And also for many of us, the message takes on such a deeper philosophical meaning. It may be everything to us. Bottom line is whatever camp means to you, be sure to share that message with others. Because remember always…Camp Does a World of Good!

Yours in Camping,
Sonny Adkins
LCOL Chair, ACA Indiana