ACA, Texoma Blog

December 20, 2011

I am so happy that I am writing this today as the new Executive Field Office Staff for the Texoma Section. The Texoma Section has always held a special place in my camping career and to be able to continue my journey in this new position is truly amazing.

As we enter a new chapter in our sections rich history it is important that we do not forget where we have come from. Our section hosts some of the best camps in America, lead by some of the best camp staff in the industry.  Across the board the camps in our section work hard every day to ensure that the children in our region experience what the summer camp dream is all about. This is something that every one of us should be very proud of; we should celebrate the victories big and small of each of the camps in our section. We should share the good news back and forth, and we should always remember that by working together and sharing the knowledge with one another our section can and will be stronger.

This fall dedicated volunteer members of our section worked very hard to ensure that a disruption of services to our members was kept to a minimum. Volunteers served the Texoma Section on the local council of leaders, the Southwest Camp Conference team, standards instructors, and the local hiring team. Without the work and support of these groups as well as the hard work on the ACA National Office our section would have had a more noticeable disruption of services. They worked hard at filling the big shoes left by Dani Shaw whom after twelve years of wonderful and dedicated service to the camps in our region moved on to new challenges in youth development.

Thank you to all who helped and served our section in this time of transition.

As we prepare for the coming year I encourage you to get involved in our section. Serve on a committee, attend an education event such as the Southwest Camp Conference, organize a R.O.C.K. group (Regionally Organized Camping Kindred) in your area, and share with the section the triumphs and successes of your camp.

Over the next few months I look forward to getting to know you and your needs better. I hope to be in contact with each of you so that together we can continue the rich camping tradition that Texas and Oklahoma have worked so hard on in the past.
If you should ever need anything please do not hesitate to contact me.

In Camp,

Tim Huchton
Executive Field Staff Texoma Section

October 13, 2011

As camping professionals we know the value of camp. We attend educational events, hear from parents and campers every day, and run quality programs year after year. I do not need to preach to the choir on the benefits of camp, we know them. What we don’t always know is how to present that message to parents and potential campers. When we lack a clear voice, our message can get lost in translation.

During the fall of 2008, when the economy began a major decline, I spoke with the parents of one camper who were concerned about how to spend wisely their hard-earned dollars. I was amazed that they, like many other campers’ parents, were more able to state the value of camp than I was. They understood its worth and were making plans months in advance to ensure that their child would continue the development that had been started at camp. This was a defining moment in my so-far brief camping career.

This concept was developed into a letter to all of our camp families with a simple suggestion: Talk with your children about their camp experience. Based on what that dialogue, parents could decide whether the expense was worthwhile. If they felt that camp failed to achieve its stated goals—all campers got was a really cool recreation week—they could save their money or use it elsewhere. But if campers told stories about making new friends, learning responsibilities and about nature, appreciating independence, and overcoming challenges, camping’s worth would be revealed. Within weeks we began receiving the highest level of registrations ever for our fall season.

Based upon this experience, I applied the same reflection to each of my personal and work-related organizations, including ACA. Why did I continue to pay annual dues to be a member of each one? I began to figure out what was really important. I realized that involvement in ACA had helped me develop a career, had provided a network of like-minded peers who were passionate about what they do, and had also given me numerous learning opportunities.

Through 13 years in the ACA Texoma section I have attended numerous education events, served on conference committees, served on the board, and now chair the leadership council. Some of the faces around us have changed, but the passion for our work remains strong. ACA Texoma gives members chances to be heard by peers, make long-lasting network connections, and to attend valuable educational opportunities. But is that enough?

ACA Texoma is entering an exciting new stage, a time when we can give to our membership even more of what they want and need. ACA Texoma should be more than an association that sends you a plaque stating that you are an accredited camp, more than the sponsor of an annual conference. Your Leadership Council needs your feedback. We need to know what it is that drives each of you, and what ACA can do to help fan the fire of your passion for this vocation.

Recently, your Local Council of Leaders met in our annual retreat. We spent much of our time brainstorming and thinking of ways in which we could all help make ACA Texoma stronger and more meaningful. Based partly on your feedback from the Relationship Survey and from our 20/20 Vision we identified areas that ACA Texoma can begin to foster partnerships with families, communities, and of course our members.
As exciting as the possibilities for our section are, it will not be as successful without your support and help. The time to get involved is here. If you are interested in shaping the future of ACA Texoma please fill out the Volunteer survey.

We tell campers that participating in the camp experience is essential if they want to have a meaningful time. Participation in ACA works the same. By being active in ACA, we strengthen our voice and provide a better understanding of what camp can accomplish in the life of a child.

But, of course, I am preaching to the choir.

In the spirit of camp,

Tim Huchton, Chair, Texoma Leadership Council

September 14, 2011

Texoma (Full-Time)

American Camp Association seeks a dynamic professional to manage a local office encompassing Texas and Oklahoma. Candidate should demonstrate competencies in relationship management, customer service, office administration, education planning, membership recruitment, and sales.


  • A youth development background is preferred.
  • Travel and access to a full-service airport is required. 

Candidate should be comfortable working from a home office.

To apply, please e-mail your resume to Interested job applicants should submit a resume by Sept. 28.

No phone inquiries will be accepted. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Full Job Details 

September 8, 2011

In bittersweet news, after more than twelve years at ACA, Texoma Field Office Executive Director Dani Shaw will be leaving to pursue a new challenge as the director of operations for the Dallas AfterSchool Network. Over the years, Shaw has accomplished much in the areas of accreditation, education, advocacy, and public policy. With a particular interest in educating members of the camp profession, one of Shaw’s proudest professional moments was orchestrating a collaboration with the YMCA and other camp organizations to put on the Southwest Camp Conference, an annual conference (now in its eleventh year) for camp professionals to learn, network, and share ideas and valuable resources.

Shaw has seen ACA make many changes in the interest of relevancy since her start in 1999 — the evolution of professionalism, the availability of resources to all ACA local offices, and the current operational changes. When asked about her hopes for the future of ACA, Texoma, Shaw responded: “I hope it grows in influence. I hope the number of camps available to kids grows, and the number of kids who have the opportunity to go to camp grows. I want more kids to go to camp, and I want more people running quality camp experiences. ACA, Texoma is uniquely positioned to help kids pay for camp and help people who are starting camps.” And Shaw has helped lay the groundwork for these hopes in her tenure.

What will Shaw miss most about ACA? “Working with camp professionals on a daily basis has been a privilege. I’ve been lucky. Helping professionals learn and grow is a rewarding experience.” As an employee who served on countless committees and played roles in communications, event planning, and professional development, Shaw will be greatly missed at ACA. Please join us in congratulating her on her new opportunity and her continued work for youth development.

September 6, 2011


ACA, Texoma is looking for volunteers, looking for people who want to make a contribution to the camp industry by serving on committees, task force groups, as visitors in the accreditation program and on the ACA, Texoma Leadership Council.

What are the benefits of service to the camp community?

Most individuals who already serve know perfectly well what they are doing and why they want to continue doing it. However, there are others who are too shy to join a board or who need someone else to tell them why it makes sense. Here are some reasons why people join ... from

  • They know their skills are needed.
  • A nonprofit is going to improve and will benefit from their contributions.
  • There is a possibility to effect change in an organization.
  • They will feel good by doing good.
  • They enjoy collaborating with interesting people who have the same interests and values.
  • They want to learn new skills.
  • They enjoy being recognized for their efforts.
  • They want to give back to the community.
  • They have found a new reason to live productively.
  • They want to have an impact.
  • It can be fun. 

If this speaks to you, speak to us about opportunities to serve: 

September 1, 2011

Camp Professionals throughout the Texoma section,

Let us all take a deep breath and bask in the glory of another terrific summer in which we got to have the greatest job in the world. While the summer is still fresh in our minds I wanted to make sure everyone knew about a fantastic opportunity for those of our counselors who really stood out this summer. Those counselors who not only do we want back next summer, but possibly would like to elevate to positions on our leadership team in the near future.

The Student Camp Leadership Academy (SCLA) is a weekend workshop designed for two groups of people. The first are those college students who are interested in a career in the camping industry, and want to know more about getting into the business. The second are students who want to gain more leadership skills that can be applied not only to camping, but whatever their future jobs may be.

This October 14-16 the SCLA will be held at Collin County Adventure camp, and is a chance for your rising staff members to learn from camp directors and owners from all over Texas. Two years ago I helped out with an SCLA event in Illinois and Camp Champions sent two of our own leadership staff members to participate in the event. Both attendees came back more skilled, and with a better understanding of the camping profession.

The application process for the SCLA can be found at The cost of the program is $130.00 plus transportation, room and board will be provided. Tuition can be paid by the participant, the participant’s camp, the participant’s university, or the participant can apply for a scholarship offered by the ACA section.

The SCLA is a phenomenal way to invest in your staff members who are excelling, and to set them up to be leaders in your camp, whether it is as a member of your leadership staff or amongst your counselors. Please take advantage of this opportunity and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me, 830-598-2571 or

August 5, 2011

Camp owners and directors,

I hope that your summers have been successful and that you all found a way to beat the heat and fight through the drought. Some of you, like me, still have some camp left; stay strong, we will make it!!

I wanted to let all of you know about the Student Camp Leadership Academy (SCLA) that will be held at Collin County Adventure Camp, October 14-16. This is a fantastic opportunity for staff members who are interested in a career in camping to learn more about this profession. This is also a chance for rising staff members to gain and strengthen leadership skills before returning to your camp next summer. Participants will attend sessions lead by owners and directors of camps throughout Texas, and get a feel for what it is like to have a top position with a camp. There will also be a session lead by a college advisor to talk about what programs would be beneficial for students who are leaning towards a career in camping.

The application process for the SCLA can be found at The cost of the program is $135.00. This includes room and board. Transportation is not included. Tuition can be paid by the participant, the participant’s camp, the participant’s university, or the participant can apply for a scholarship offered by a local ACA Office. 

Please forward this information to your staff, or pick three or four of your top staff members and let them know about this opportunity. Not only will they benefit from the SCLA, but your camp will have a stronger leader next summer. The class size will be capped at 15, so participants will get to network with other people in similar situations as themselves.

If you have any questions please contact Jonathan Shirley, or at 830-598-2571. Take care. 

Jonathan Shirley 

Camp Champions

July 16, 2011

There appears to be a person impersonating the DSHS calling some camps saying DSHS is coming for an inspection at a certain time and date, and to call a number and plug in a “code”. 

Please be aware that DSHS does not notify camps of an upcoming inspection in most cases.  

If you have received a call like this, please notify the department immediately by calling Paula Anderson at 512-834-6788.

May 11, 2011