Latest ACA Blog Posts

September 26, 2011
Convergence: Vision, Learning, and Innovation

Hey Student Members! Did you know you can register for the ACA National Conference, "Convergence: Vision, Learning, and Innovation," for free?

This outstanding professional development and networking opportunity takes place February 21-24 in Atlanta, Georgia.

If you're looking for an experience that will help you prime your skills and knowledge in the camp and youth development field, or you want to meet and exchange ideas with peers and seasoned vets alike, this is the place to do it!

Register for free today by downloading the form at

*Make sure you read the fine print below first.

Join ACA!

So you're not a member yet? No worries! With ACA's...

September 22, 2011

I have a big magnet on my desk that says, “Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” It made me wonder if we fail to embrace boldness today. There are two definitions of boldness. One is more negative — related to brazen, brassy, or insolent. But the other is relates to being courageous, valiant, sturdy, and plucky.

Have we let the negative connotation of boldness usurp the positive possibilities? If so, what might we be losing? I so long to be plucky! Do we not want our children and youth to be able to muster up the courage and determination to face life’s inevitable difficulties? With all the fun at camp, do we not also teach kids to be plucky? I hope so. I so long to be plucky . . .

September 21, 2011

Since the 1930s, camps and public lands have shared a close relationship.

This Saturday, September 24, get outside and enjoy National Public Lands Day! Find a local site where you can volunteer to help beautify your public lands, or enjoy the day in a national park with free admission!

How will you celebrate National Public Lands Day?

September 19, 2011

We really don’t say those words out loud, but often our behaviors get our meaning across quite clearly. We have to deal with so many complex and difficult situations that we just grow tired of “self-regulation.” Don’t you just want to throw a good old fashioned temper tantrum sometimes? But learning how to pause, “count to ten,” and consider alternatives is critical if we are to maintain a civil society.

The camp experience is a wonderful vehicle to help kids use their brains to practice “self-regulation.” Every time we are exposed to a new situation, we experience a low-level stress response. As parents and educators, it is our job to expose kids to new situations in safe and responsive settings so they can learn to manage feelings of discomfort without getting angry, fearful, dismissive, or even by becoming a bully. Discomfort is not necessarily a bad thing; rather, it’s an opportunity to...

September 14, 2011

For 150 years, camp has been a place where children and youth can develop their talents, find their passions, and become inspired to take their camp successes into their everyday lives.

Many important figures in business and science, artists and performers, and political leaders can put a camp experience on their resume — people like Nancy Reagan, Ralph Lauren, Julia Roberts, and Neil Diamond, just to name a few.

These are some of the well-known success stories from camp — but there are millions more out there. How did camp inspire you to follow your passions and strive to do your best? Tell us YOUR success story!

More Camp Inspirations.View ACA's Because of Camp . . .® public service announcement.

September 14, 2011

Did you know?

Of the 15 million children growing up in low-income communities, only 1 in 10 will graduate from college.

You can help change that!

Apply for Teach For America by this Friday, September 16!

Learn more about the program.

September 13, 2011

Do I want to strive for compliance? To what end? Do I want to spend my time creating processes for predictability and accountability? Do I want to be recognized for complacency and towing the line?

Or do I want to help myself and others learn to cope, survive, and thrive with unpredictability and uncertainty? What will best nurture innovation and creativity?

Something to think about . . .

September 7, 2011
white water rafting

Camp has brought 150 years of new experiences for children, youth, and adults — canoeing, hiking, woodworking, horseback riding, fishing, rafting, bicycling, and more. This fall, stay active with your new-found favorite activity! What’s yours?

September 6, 2011

Ei yi yi! How many ways can it be said?

Okay, so we get it. You don’t want to use the word “camp experience.” But for heaven’s sake, you have to recognize that the research that supports out-of-school time, after-school time, expanded learning opportunities, and/or summer learning also supports CAMP! It is a credible, evidence informed vehicle for learning! Learn to say "camp experience!"

August 31, 2011

How do you make an evening's camp fire activities even more fun? Add s'mores!

The first official record of the recipe is in a 1927 Girl Scouts manual, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.

The ooey gooey treat is said to have gotten it's name from eager requests for "some more," later becoming simply, "s'more."

What's your favorite camp treat?

Hungry for more? Find other bites about the history of camp foods in "Bug Juice and Other Culinary Delights," by Viki Kappel Spain, M. Ed., in the July/August 2011 issue of Camping Magazine.

Information from Vin Zant's The History of S'mores: Chocolate, Marshmallows and Graham Crackers. Read...

August 31, 2011

The transition from your crazy-busy summer to the fall season can be tough! It's good to remember these 4 tips:

#1 Stay active — It’s easy to feel burnt out after a long summer, so give yourself time to relax. But don’t hibernate all the way to May! Get outdoors and enjoy the fall weather.

#2 Eat healthy — Remember those pots and pans in your cabinets? It’s time to bust them out! You’ve got to cook for yourself — or at least find your own food — after a summer of being fed in the dining hall. Try to make healthy choices.

#3 Embrace the new social scene — At camp, you bond with others at an amazing rate. Away from the camp fires, color wars, and camp nicknames, interactions are...

August 30, 2011

Good friends make you think. That is why I love words. Sometimes it is the sound and rhythm of a word. Sometimes it is the simplicity or complexity of the pronunciation. Often, it is the meaning that attracts or provokes me — like "disruptive thinking" . . . love it.

I was reading a blog about disruptive thinking: "Being innovative . . . requires disruptive thinking, which is an evolutionary process with many failures along the way. That 's tough to do especially since all of us are taught that failure is bad and we try to avoid it at all costs".

We, as professionals, must protect our disruptive space if we are to succeed. As those who teach and influence children and youth, we must provide space for disruptive thinking. And as an institution, whether a camp or ACA, we must embrace disruptive thinking if we hope to remain relevant.

August 24, 2011

In 2004, ACA launched, a family resource site that includes a Find A Camp search, camp planning advice, and expert advice about camp and child development. In an effort to reach more families, was published in both English and Spanish. Today, ACA’s parent resource continues to thrive and provide excellent information and assistance to families. Have you shared with your camp families? It's a great way for parents and families to stay connected with the camp experience . . . all year long!

August 23, 2011

This summer, you were accountable for conducting classes, special events, and cabin activities. You were not only a leader, but you instilled leadership, participation, and cooperation in campers and other staff. You encouraged campers and co-workers to express their opinions and participate in self-governing activities.

Questions to think about:
How did you help others problem solve, see patterns, and discern meaning?
In what ways did you learn to inspire and present a positive example to others?
How did you enhance a camper’s ability to work with others?
How did you create environments that encourage a camper’s participation and growth?

Think of yourself in these terms:

Conflict manager: Whenever someone is living with a group of children, conflicts are inevitable. Being able to manage campers in a way that maximizes the campers’ strengths and minimizes...

August 22, 2011

We are nearing the end of another season. Don't forget to pause and be thankful to those who helped you create small miracles. They are the everyday human angels, saints, and legends who silently stand with us and make us better than we ever imagined. They are not the ones who yell, demand, criticize, threaten, complain, bluster, or brag. They are the hearty and hardy. They are the ones who embrace you with kind eyes. They are the ones who have great crinkly smiling eyes. They are the ones on which you imprint and forever remain with you. When the season ends, they are the ones who make you smile even during the bittersweet moment of closure.

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