Latest ACA Blog Posts

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

Speaking of camp, it's not too early to start planning for exciting summer adventures. Visit ACA's Ultimate Camp Planner for information on choosing a camp, questions to ask a camp director, keeping camp costs budget friendly, and gauging readiness for the camp experience.

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!

Resume and Interview Workshop
January 25, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. ET

Developing Your Leadership...

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

Peg recently wrote in her blog about “Quiet Space” and giving kids a chance to reflect on their own thoughts — especially at camp.

In a recent opinion article in The New York Times, author Pico Iyer reflected that:

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...

January 3, 2012

How do our camp experiences make such a profound difference in the lives of young people?

It isn't rocket science, although if you read the adolescent brain research you can understand why our communities are so incredibly successful. Or if you read what we know about hope and the human spirit — the camp experience makes sense. Consider the following:

  • Fundamentally, we still believe that having fun is an excellent way to learn. Fun, and specifically humor, is the highest form of abstract thinking. Fun keeps the brain alert and engaged.
  • We believe in the outdoors as a natural and incredibly dynamic learning environment. We are a part of nature and are soothed when we return to the intimacy of the natural world.
  • We understand that as humans we need real relationships and will seek them out and, in fact, suffer if deprived of human contact.
  • Finally, we value active participation at whatever...
December 21, 2011

Since its first publication in 1930, Camping Magazine has gone through several design revisions. And the content has evolved from news about the association to critical articles and resources on best practices, programming, and camp management.

In the last ten years, Camping Magazine has become the most sought after resource in the camp industry. With cutting edge articles on relevant (and sometimes controversial) topics, and intentional content around history, diversity, and the evolving world of camp, Camping Magazine consistently delivers high quality articles and resources for camps and camp professionals. 

Look for your next issue of Camping Magazine today!

See the Camping Magzine editors through the years.

December 20, 2011

I believe the camp experience should be a part of every child's developmental growth and education. As such, ACA supports those who create exceptional futures for children and youth through quality camp experiences. Even after 150 years, today, a quality camp experience makes the world better by creating 21st century leaders who understand character, community, collaboration, and citizenship.

Yet, maybe more importantly, in a world that is consumed by a tsunami of fear that causes us to consider keeping young people hostage in academic institutions 24/7, the camp community has the ability to encourage intellectual courage — a courage that recognizes challenge, imagination, and innovation. We encourage young people to seek solutions and alternatives. We appreciate and understand that mistakes teach important...

December 19, 2011

In this guest blog by Sarah Horner Fish, executive director at Tom Sawyer Camps in Pasadena, California, you'll learn how to make a lasting impression when applying and interviewing for summer jobs. Visit ACA's Job site for more information about working at camp or to find job postings!

The word is out. A job at a summer camp is one of the best ways to spend your summer! You will learn excellent real life skills and make a significant difference in the lives of others. It most likely will be one of the hardest jobs you have ever had, but at the same time, it will help you grow in so many ways. Many of our past camp counselors say their job at camp was hands down the best job they have ever had. And with the unemployment rate where it is,...

December 14, 2011
2012 National Conference

In honor of tomorrow’s Early Bird Deadline for conference registration, today’s Moment in Camp History is all about national conference!

  • 1925 — The first national conference was held in Cedar Hill, Massachusetts. ACA was still known as the “Camp Directors Association” back then, and the national conference was regarded as the “annual meeting.”
  • 1935 — The first national conference of the American Camping Association was held in Cleveland, Ohio. It was referred to as “convention.”
  • 1949–1977 — National conferences and regional conferences were held in alternate years.
  • 2005 — The first conference of ACA as it’s known today (American Camp Association) was held in Orlando, Florida at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
  • Number of times the conference has been held in...
December 12, 2011

Now is the time to look for that summer job!

Check out this link on ACA's Job site: Summer Job Search Tips.

Explore available summer job opportunities at ACA's Summer Jobs @ Camp site.

Do you have questions related to your job search? Send your job question to, and we'll work on posting something helpful from the experts right here on the Counselor Blog.

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