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July 27, 2011
"Goldie" . . . "Turtle" . . . "Chippy" . . . "Daisy" . . . "Lando." One of the oldest — and most fun! — camp traditions is doling out and receiving camp nicknames. Why do we love camp nicknames so much?
According to Leslie Paris, author of Children’s Nature: The Rise of the American Summer Camp, special camp names throughout history have “testified to new identities and experiences, asserting children’s disjunction from ordinary life while illustrating their active participation in making camps into special spaces of personal transformation. Nicknames also ritualized new ways of thinking about family and kinship outside traditional bounds” (p. 105).
July 27, 2011
If we think our efforts to teach campers how to resolve conflicts, solve problems, and collaborate with others for the good of the camp community are not important — just look at Congress. These are critical competencies that our campers will need in the future as we attempt to solve the world's problems against a backdrop of competing priorities and agendas. Your work is so important!
To that end, I asked the camp community to be ever diligent about safety. We shared resources to help you talk to campers about violence and terrorism. But I was reminded that maybe our most important job is doing what we do best — providing opportunities where we can learn, share, and grow together. Fostering peaceful humanity; learning about one's self and others. The camp experience is about self, the environment, and learning . . . engagement at its best...
July 27, 2011
Camp is an action-packed adventure — so it’s no wonder that campers can become a little tired, moody, or grumpy at the thought of the camp season ending and having to say goodbye to their friends.
Use these 4 tips to help campers beat the “end of camp blues”:
- Remind campers that they’ll miss camp because they had fun — and that feeling is normal.
- Encourage campers to reconnect with friends at home and let them know the importance of sharing camp experiences and stories with those friends.
- Tell them to watch for or plan local reunions and get-togethers where they can connect with friends from camp.
- Explain that they can stay in touch with camp friends. Have them exchange addresses, e-mails, or phone numbers.
Before using these tips, make sure you know the rules about connecting with your campers after camp.
- If your camp’s...
July 26, 2011
What we do and say, as those who influence the lives of children and youth, is of the utmost importance. Whether a parent, a caregiver, a counselor, a teacher, a person driving the bus, a cook, or a journalist, we cannot fail to take time to think before speaking or to research before writing. We must not fail to consider the consequences of our words. Words said or written, in anger or carelessness, can impact the lives of children and youth for a lifetime. Words define truth whether true or not. Words have such power they can alter reality — for good or ill. Don't risk being shallow.
Remember, we are bakers . . .
July 25, 2011
I’m on flight 3088 reading Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki. And I read the following: Bake a Bigger Pie. “There are two kinds of people and organizations in the world: eaters and bakers. Eaters want a bigger slice of an existing pie; bakers want to make a bigger pie. Eaters think if they can win, you lose, and if you win, they lose; bakers think that everyone can win with a bigger pie."
The 20/20 Vision is about baking a bigger pie. We want more children, youth, and adults to have the access and opportunity to have a camp experience. We want an increasing number of professionals and paraprofessionals who work with children, youth, and adults to have the access and opportunity to improve their knowledge and competence so quality services are provided to others. We want to be a...
July 21, 2011
Check out this video from the counselors at Tim Horton Camp Kentahten. Tell us why YOU work at camp by posting a comment below. Better yet, make your own video and share it with us!
July 20, 2011
Again this week, we look at “apps” you don’t need a cell phone to access at camp! Kim Aycock, MST, shows you how to be flexible this summer with a “Gumby App” — for those times when bad weather, technical difficulties, or longer-than-expected activities threaten “regularly scheduled programming.”
“It may be impossible to teach someone to be flexible, but rather, it may be helpful if you are aware of times when you will be called on to 'be Gumby' as a counselor and adapt to any changes that come your way. Veteran staff can verify that you may need to use 'plan B' because the weather is bad; a technical difficulty with equipment arises; a planned activity takes ten minutes to complete and you thought it would last for an hour . . .”
Try this game with campers to...
July 20, 2011
In 1912, a group that would later become the National Association of Directors of Girls' Private Camps met to discuss the future of girls' camp. "The interest in girls' camp grew after higher education for women was no longer a rarity and the graduate degree became the goal of more college graduates. Women had a wider choice of careers, and women's suffrage was on the way."
Information from Eleanor Eells' History of Organized Camping: The First 100 Years, pp. 88–89.
July 19, 2011
Everyone talks about creativity and innovation. Are they the same thing or not? Does it matter? Well, it does if you consider creativity as inventive and imaginative ideas. If you are like me, you have people coming to you all the time with new ideas. Suggestions and ideas, however, can languish and, worse yet, frustrate people. But, if we define innovation as action, then maybe creativity and innovation are not exactly the same, but one without the other is incomplete. More importantly for me, those willing to innovate need to understand — and have those around them who understand — that nowhere in this equation of creativity and innovation will you find perfection. Ah, therein lies the risk. But truth be known, it’s worth it for those who can “stomach” the idea of imperfection — because “you will be as successful as your stomach allows.”
July 18, 2011
It has been said that training is a form of transmission. Sounds like a sneeze! Maybe it is a good analogy. Although, its distribution can go far and wide, and one never knows who will catch it. Transmission imparts or hands down information from one to the other. In most formats, training is a one-way transmission that (hopefully) reaches others.
Learning, on the other hand, has been called transformational. It involves inquiry and often results in a personal quest or exploration much like a search mission. More often than not, the journey involves many — including those who provide orienteering support. The transformation includes exploring the unknown with concentration, discipline, fitness, and the wise use of available support systems.
What is even more remarkable is the fact that the camp community is a learning place of transformation. Each counselor has the opportunity to be a...
July 14, 2011
Okay, yes, once again I am in a plane . . . reading.
Tom Peters states in The Little BIG Things that "organizations should be no less than cathedrals in which the full and awesome power of the imagination and spirit and native entrepreneurial flair of diverse individuals is unleashed in passionate pursuit of [. . .] excellence."
I agree. I just wish agreement alone got you there! It takes everyone sitting in the cathedral to adopt that vision to make it work. But if we start by inspiring one staff person at a time in our association — it could be done.
I also felt I might take license to reword his statement for the camp community, as well:
“The CAMP EXPERIENCE should be no less than a SANCTUARY OF NATURE in which the full and awesome...
July 13, 2011
In 1885, some of the first campers "slept on top of rubber ponchos to protect themselves against the damp and somewhat stony soil" and "slept side by side in tents of twelve by fourteen feet." Over the decades, sleeping quarters evolved — from sleeping on wooden boards to later sleeping on canvas double decker beds, beginning in 1911.
Information from Leslie Paris' Children's Nature: The Rise of the American Summer Camp, pp.165–166.
July 12, 2011
Ever lost your cell phone? Then you know the uneasy feeling of losing all those numbers, reminders, apps, and connections.
At camp, you are probably told to put the phone away when you’re with campers — or maybe you don’t even get reception! While on the job, does being without your phone — and all its many resources — make you feel uneasy?
Never fear! In “Configure the Ideal Smartphone: ‘Apps’ for Camp Staff to Download and Install,” Kim Aycock, MST, shows you that you don’t need a cell phone to have a successful summer.
This week, we’ll look at what Kim has to say about the “camp version” of Facebook, and how you can help campers get friended early in the camp experience.
“The camp version of [Facebook] is to facilitate the formation of friendships within your...
July 12, 2011
I am reading Daniel Pink’s Drive. Reading can be so provocative! I want to share some thoughts that jumped out at me and made me wonder . . .
He wrote the book in 2009, and he suggests the work environment in the future will be more complex, more interesting, and more self-directed (which does sound like the work environment in 2011). It made me wonder how we as the camp community are preparing our youth to thrive in such environments.
Certainly, giving young people opportunities to navigate outside of their homes and schools is a great opportunity to build independence and resilience. We give young people leadership and problem-solving experiences.
Daniel Pink also states that “grit is as essential as talent to high accomplishment.” Ah, yes, stretching and trying new things in order to...
July 6, 2011
Sandy Cameron, former editor-in-chief of Camping Magazine, offers advice on how to pace yourself for the summer season.
In the heat of the summer, it's easy to lose focus and begin to feel burnout. Read these ten summer survival tips to cool the burnout and maintain your energy and enthusiasm at camp.