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Latest ACA Blog Posts
February 16, 2012
Hanging out with kids all day as a camp counselor can be pretty amazing. But doing your job well means you need to be prepared!
In ACA's Entry-Level Program Staff Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) course, you will learn the foundation of being a great counselor. Topics covered include:
- What is youth development?
- How do you develop a program plan?
- Why is evaluation important?
- How do you prevent bullying?
- How can you best handle emergencies?
- What can you do to form strong bonds with coworkers and participants?
- And more
If you have more experience in a camp setting, check out the Experienced Program Staff or...
February 14, 2012
Recently I picked up the book True North, written by Bill George with Doug Baker. Released in September 2011, the book centers around leadership development. I found these words inspiring for camp counselors: “The missing link in leadership development is having a safe place where people can share their experiences, challenges, and frustrations, and receive honest feedback.”
A young adult wanting to develop real-world experiences, receive immediate and relevant reflection and feedback designed to ensure success (not punitive), and learn to work in groups sharing interactions and problem solving should seriously consider becoming a camp counselor. A camp counselor receives personal value while offering social and educational value to others. Such a deal!
February 10, 2012
Lots of us have a great time working at camp as a summer job, and then we go on to become teachers, journalists, nurses . . . you name it!
But what if you realized that you wanted to have camp as a career?
Cass Morgan, an ACA research assistant and current PhD candidate at the University of Utah, explains the path she has taken to get a career in camp. Cass’ early experience was probably a lot like yours — she started out as a camper and then became a counselor.
Watch this video to learn what inspired Cass to pursue a career in camp, what you should expect if you’re interested in being a camp professional, and the opportunities you can take advantage of to help you get there.
Top 5 Tips from Cass
- Stay current on necessary certifications, and take...
February 7, 2012
Guest post contributed by Karen Parson
It may be the middle of winter, but it’s not too early to begin thinking about which summer camp is best for you. There are a lot of camps out there and each has different goals and activities. Choosing which summer camp is right for you is more than a matter of selecting the summer camp closest to you.
Here are ten steps to follow to make sure that you find the right summer camp:
- Decide what your expectations are. You likely have some expectations for what you expect the camp experience to be like. Does the camp focus on outdoor skills? Making friends? Having fun? Consider if you’d like to work at a camp with a certain philosophy or world view. If you are a past summer camper yourself, think about the aspects of camp that you enjoyed and what you didn’t like.
- Talk with your family and friends about what they want. While...
February 6, 2012
I was rereading “That’s the Way We (Used to) Do things Around Here,” by Jeffrey Schwartz, Pablo Gaito, and Doug Lennick, a strategy-business.com article published in February 2011. Because ACA’s Director of Research, Deb Bialeschki, and I often talk about mindfulness, self-regulation, and reflection, a couple of sentences in the article caught my eye:
“The kind of mindfulness that accomplishes this [change] combines metacognition (thinking about what you are thinking) and meta-awareness (moment-by-moment awareness of where your attention is focused). Adam Smith, the 18th-century philosopher, understood this. He described self-directed reflections as an ‘impartial spectator’ . . . .”
We train counselors each year to do what neuroscience has described as “attention...
February 3, 2012
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should attend the *free* webinar, “Developing Your Personal Brand,” next Wednesday, 2/8 at 7:30 p.m. EST:
5. You will learn the secrets behind what makes companies like Google and Apple so strong.
4. You will learn how to inspire potential employers by crafting a compelling story of your past experiences and interests.
3. You will create a unique brand identity that sets you apart from other job candidates.
2. You will understand how to be your authentic self while tailoring your personal “pitch” and brand to specific career opportunities.
1. You could be the next Oprah or Bill Gates!
January 31, 2012
A couple of weekends ago, I had the honor of spending some time with members of the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors during their Research Symposium. They gave me a one-day remedial pass. But I digress . . . .
In one of the discussions, we started talking about generative outcomes. It really excited me because I believe that is where we (the outdoor and camp community) really add value to the overall, comprehensive education and development of children and youth. It legitimizes our contribution to the overall formula that we should appreciate and respect as human development.
Think about it — Positive human development is the precursor to academic excellence, is it not? We need to be able to understand the camp experience as a generative process in and of itself. Add intentionality to that environment, and you have put magic on steroids!
We help young people make mental...
January 26, 2012
January 23, 2012
As we each initiate or continue to sustain our life’s work, I feel that today our personal brand is nearly as important as our resume. How are we unique and distinct? Is it the collective list of skills, education, and job experiences that will make you stand-out? Maybe — but only for a nano-second, because whether we are cognizant of it or not, today people are searching for deeper meaning, purpose, and translation of your collective resume fodder.
My suggestion is we give equal consideration and articulation to our own personal operating principles. What drives our decisions about how we use our time, and what causes us to act, or not? Can you describe your ability to be adaptive, deal with ambiguity, or remain alert?
With the plethora of distractions and chaos, how do you remain present and ready to make meaning? Maybe it isn’t as much about the three "R's" as it...
January 23, 2012
Resumes, cover letters, and interviews . . . oh my!
Just like Dorothy and Toto, you too can find out more about the “man behind the curtain” — your hiring manager, the Wizard of Jobs!
On Wednesday, January 25th, from 7:30-9:00 p.m. ET, join us for an insider’s look into the mind of a hiring manager.
Lauren Moxey, a director on Teach For America’s admissions team, will share from her extensive firsthand experience reviewing and interviewing thousands of applicants to Teach For America over the past few years (in fact, Teach For America had more than 48,000 applicants to their program last year alone!). Specifically, she will discuss best practices for excellent resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
Join us on Wednesday and, like the...
January 19, 2012
Take the time this month to thank your mentors from school, sports, and camp!
While the spirit of mentoring is being celebrated all month long, January 26 has been officially designated "Thank Your Mentor Day."
Find out how to honor your mentors in creative ways.
Finally, ACA would like to offer a BIG THANK YOU to you, for the difference you make in the lives of your campers! Because of Camp…® stories, favorite summer memories, and a liftetime of skills learned at camp would not be possible without CAMP COUNSELORS!
January 17, 2012
Sometimes in life one is blessed with an “out of the blue” moment. It is when something or someone comes to you that is unexpected and initially appears to be unrelated to everything else that may be going on but provides a tremendous profit in spirit or support. If one pays attention, one realizes its import and critical value to not only that moment in time but, if treasured, many moments yet to occur.
Out of the blue moments are often gifts of the greatest nature. Today, unexpectedly, I received a package. I have been blessed a number of times in my life with notes or phone calls offering out of the blue inspiration and support. The package received recently from Norman Friedman was another such moment — out of the blue. I admire Norman for all that he has done in his life to protect children and youth, and I feel...
January 12, 2012
What makes a good resume?
How can you be a more effective leader?
What is your "brand," and how can you market yourself to others?
The job world can be tough these days, but luckily, you've got experience from a camp job on your side!
Learn how to get the job you want from the skills you learned at camp in a new webinar series presented by ACA and Teach for America. Designed specifically for frontline staff and young adults, this series will show you your potential as a 21st century worker — and how to maximize it!
January 10, 2012
In today's global community, the world is made smaller by technology, and we are allowed to connect across countries and continents. The idea of "community" is taking on a new meaning each day. Because of this, camp is important now, and even moreso in the future — Forming community is one of the "basics" at camp. We recognize and support the human instinct for community, agreement, and belonging.
And even beyond that, we use exchange, contribution, and meaning to honor individual need within the context of the larger community. We know how to share space. We know how to bring people together regardless of differences. We understand our sameness. At camp, we strike the balance of individualism within a shared community.
January 4, 2012
The average American teenager sends or receives 75 text messages a day, though one girl in Sacramento managed to handle an average of 10,000 every 24 hours for a month. Since luxury, as any economist will tell you, is a function of scarcity, the children of tomorrow [. . .] will crave nothing more than freedom, if only for a short while, from all the blinking...