Latest ACA Blog Posts

November 7, 2011

Has working with kids at camp inspired you to pursue a career in school counseling?

Here's a resource for you!

"30 Informative Q&A Sites on Counseling Young Children" provides great resources on general counseling, grief counseling, and guidance counseling for young children.

Don't forget about ACA's Professional Development Center, where you can earn continuing education credits by taking online courses on topics like bullying, creating a sense of community in camp, and...

November 2, 2011

In 1997, there was a resurgence of emphasis on youth development outcomes of the camp experience.

In the mid 1990s, the Search Institute began providing results of research in schools on child and adolescent development, risk prevention, and resiliency based on a framework of four developed assets, which are positive experiences, relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible adults.

ACA provides meaningful and applicable research about the camp experience, and even offers outcomes measurement tools to help camps improve the quality of the camp experience.  

November 1, 2011

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education defines dispositions as: “professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors . . . .” How does one’s disposition impact their ability to work with others, impart knowledge, and manage life? 

When we are hiring or training, do we give equal time to assessing "dispositions"? I believe dispositions have a powerful role when working and sharing space with others. I am sure it impacts the quality of the experience. 

What is your disposition? What impact do your counselor’s dispositions have on camper experiences?

October 26, 2011

In 1906, Winning Farm for Mothers and Children in Lexington, Maine, served as one of the industry's first mutli-generational camps. Today, camp programs for families are a big part of the camp experience — benefiting all campers, from the very young to the young at heart.

What is your favorite family camp moment?

October 24, 2011

Most of you know that I have been fascinated by the teen brain research. Lance Ozier (who has made contributions to Camping Magazine on the topic of the camp and learning connection) shared a fascinating article with me that he found in National Geographic Magazine, authored by David Dobbs. I highly recommend it!

I loved Dobbs’ article because it gave me a new perspective on teen brain development. We need not think of a teenage brain as simply “not fully developed.” Instead consider what Dobbs writes: “The brain undergoes extensive remodeling, resembling a network and wiring upgrade.” He talks about many attributes of teen brain development that explain why the camp experience is SO PERFECT for...

October 24, 2011

As camp staff, you know the importance of enjoying and caring for your natural surroundings. This time of year, the leaves are changing and the air is crisp — fall is a great time to get outdoors!

Here are our top ten favorite fall activities:

  1. Hiking (You can get into National Parks for free in honor of Veterans' Day Weekend, Nov. 10-12)
  2. Going to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard
  3. Camping (S'mores anyone?!)
  4. Biking
  5. Helping elderly neighbors winterize their yards (Raking, weeding, getting the garden ready for spring!)
  6. Kayaking/canoeing
  7. Collecting fall leaves
  8. Outdoor pick-up games with friends (Football, basketball, soccer, etc.)
  9. Taking a hayride
  10. Birdwatching (Never been? Check out this beginner's guide!)
  11. ...
October 19, 2011

Read the 2011 Fall CampLine now to find out what serious issues camps dealt with this summer and how staff worked to solve them, including: health and medical issues, camper behavior, parent behavior, and more! It's a great way to prepare yourself for next season!

Also in the Fall CampLine, brush up on ACA's initiatives in Washington, and learn about the issues surrounding use of medical marijuana in camps.

CampLine is a free risk management newsletter published three times a year. Previous issues are also available online at

October 19, 2011

Whether it's creating longlasting friendships, trying something new, or accomplishing personal goals, many aspects of the camp experience help build confidence in campers. Think about these statistics*:

  • 96% of campers say camp helped them make new friends
  • 92% of campers say camp helped them feel good about themselves
  • 74% of campers say they tried things at camp that they were afraid to do at first
  • 70% of parents say their camper gained self-confidence at camp

What did camp teach you about yourself?

*Find more about the outcomes of the camp experience in ACA's research report Directions.

October 12, 2011

The Student Camp Leadership Academy (SCLA) is a weekend retreat that brings together students, camp professionals, and ACA leadership to explore, learn, and understand what the camp professional of the future must be.

You can apply now for SCLA — Midwest, taking place in Ingleside, Illinois, November 11-13. Applications are due next week.

Stay tuned for information on SCLA — West, which will be held February 2012 in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Discover leadership opportunities available at both the local and national levels of ACA, and start impacting the development of youth and others!

Visit the SCLA homepage for more info.

October 12, 2011

Every year, traditions at camp serve as a point of connection and unity. They are often a time to remember the past, consider how much we've grown, and even set goals for the future. Traditions can be fun, crazy, or solemn . . . but whatever they may be, they are always unique!

What are the traditions at your camp?

Read more in "Camp Traditions: Memories in the Making" from the 2010 May/June issue of Camping Magazine.

October 10, 2011

Our Jewish friends in the camp community celebrated Yom Kippur this past weekend, the holiest of Jewish holidays. The holiday culminates ten days of reflection and is an opportunity to start anew — a fresh beginning for the new year. What a perfect time to celebrate the children and look forward to the future with joy in our hearts! Even in the differences that any of us may have, we share so much. When we are able to do so, we give so much to our children and the future.

I sit here in the Midwest watching the leaves turn colors realizing in another part of the country they have received an early snow. Regardless, whether weather or belief, seasons change . . . affording us the opportunity to reflect on what we have done well, where we need to improve, and how to capture the opportunities of tomorrow.

October 5, 2011

Did you take some awesome photos at camp this year? Enter them into Camping Magazine's 2012 Golden Lens Contest!

You could win a $150 cash prize and your photo could be on the cover of the next May/June Camping Magazine!

Just send your favorite photos that depict the camp experience (and represent the best practices in the field) to

Before you submit your photos, make sure to fill out the online photo release!

Include your name, camp name, contact address, and phone number in the e-mail.

(Photos must be .tif or .jpeg files and at least 300 dpi.)

The deadline to submit photos is November 30, 2011.

Check out previous Golden...

October 5, 2011

Today, October 5, is "Do Something Nice Day." Throughout history, camps have understood the value of service whatever the date may be.

For example, did you know that after serving as crowd control at President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in 1913, the Boy Scouts have maintained a tradition of serving in some way at presidential inaugurations to this day?

Did you know that throughout the years, Girls Scouts have undertaken initiatives to better the world, such as breaking down racial prejudices, helping Vietnamese refugee children adapt to their new circumstances, and creating a "Global Understanding" project focused on health care, hunger, literacy, natural resources, and cultural heritage?

What does your camp do in the spirit of service? Let us know how you and your camp make "Do Something Nice Day" a common occurance!

October 3, 2011

We are all asking ourselves how the new market forces are causing us to think differently . . . That said, I hope we don't lose the "HUM."


Without the essence of HUM, market forces or not, moving forward won't be easy.

September 28, 2011

In 1929, Hedley S. Dimmock and Charles Hendry identified the critical connection between the camp experience and the development of character in their book Camping and Character. Character development remains one of the most critical outcomes of the camp experience to this day.

How does your program work to build character in campers?

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