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Latest ACA Blog Posts
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.
July 6, 2011
In 1917, Camp Fire Girls (now Camp Fire USA) "pledged to save on food consumption, eliminate waste, and become physically fit" in an effort to help during World War I. Camp Fire Girls even camped "by orchards where they could help harvest and can fruits that would otherwise go to waste."
Camp Fire Girls was the first national nonsectarian, interracial organization for girls in the United States.
Information from Eleanor Eells' History of Organized Camping: The First 100 Years, pp. 73–74.
July 5, 2011
There are so many new and exciting opportunities for young people who go to camp. As adults/parents, we often fail to realize the impact that fun can have on a young person’s development. Take fishing, for example. Sometimes it is the camp experience that gives a young person the first chance to fish. But don’t forget, fishing teaches you patience, precision, the art of silence, reflection, observation, strategy, and so on. These are all skills young people will need in the 21st century — competencies taught well beyond the boundaries of traditional school walls. No, they don’t get a grade, but young people who fail to acquire such skills stand a good chance of failing nonetheless.
July 1, 2011
So many of us worry about the misuse of the word "camp." But in a conversation with ACA Director of Research Deb Bialeschki the other day, she told me that kids today are defining "outdoors" as when they go sit on the curb with their friends or sit in the parking lot at a mall. Nature, on the other hand, is somewhat removed — like a far off land you would go visit — maybe . . . because, remember, there might be bugs and other things that would make one uncomfortable. In the future, will a "nature visit" be like a visit to the zoo? Tell me it ain’t so.
June 29, 2011
Ethan Schafer, Ph.D., a licensed child clinical psychologist, shares tips and practical advice for keeping you on your game this summer.
Being a camp counselor won't be as easy as some summer jobs, but it has the potential to be much more rewarding. Even before the season starts, you will be inundated with information about everything from camp policy guidelines to camper behavior management strategies. It might seem overwhelming, and it probably will be at times. While you read this article, however, forget about all of it. Not because it isn't important — it is — but because my job is to help you take care of yourself so that you, your colleagues, and your campers have the best summer possible..
June 29, 2011
The Boys' Club in Salem, Massachusetts, organized a seven-week summer camp and seventy-six boys attended. By 1930, more than sixty Boys' Clubs conducted summer camp with approximately 26,088 campers attending. In 1990, the organization changed its charter to include girls and its name to Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
June 29, 2011
Digital disruption results in authentic engagement between and among campers. Creative problem solving emerges. Increased understanding of one another, the community, and the world at large erupts when campers share time, space, and activities. Lifelong lessons and friendships burst forth and are cherished for years. And, yes, history has demonstrated that, over time, real engagements have been a consequence due to learning similar life lessons wedded (sorry, no pun intended) by the shared values and positive relationships taught at camp.
June 28, 2011
A full ensemble makes the best jazz, and you want your staff to be jazzed about the work they do. A well-placed board member can be instrumental. Find a place at the staff table for an occasional visit from a board member. The energy and commitment a board member can bring to your staff can often inspire and stimulate new vitality. Adding a new perspective or lens to the work that we do on a daily basis can embellish and "renovate" the mundane. In turn, the board member will bring new insights and creativity to the board room. The perfect jazz ensemble — go make music!
June 22, 2011
An internationally recognized in trainer and mentor for youth, Jeffrey Leiken, M.A., shares advice for making a positive impact on a difficult bunk.
At some point each summer, it seems we find ourselves faced with the "difficult bunk." This is the bunk in which the wrong combination of personalities creates bad chemistry. Sometimes the campers just don't get along. Sometimes they do get along and have chosen to become famous for their prankster ways. Whatever the problem, the result is an excess demand on our time as we respond to their needs, and often this leads to a bunk meeting.
June 22, 2011
In 1996, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and ACA made an agreement to let ACA-accredited camps pay a small fee for all ASCAP-licensed music. Today, ACA and ASCAP have an agreement that allows ACA-accredited camps to use ASCAP licensed music without paying any licensing fees. Learn more about this agreement and licensing requirements for motion pictures and stage productions at ACA's licensing resource page.
June 20, 2011
Camp directors tell me all the time that the counselors make or break the camp experience. A camper who bonds with the counselor and other campers wants to return. Well, that is not magic. Well-trained staff who understand the "magic" of what is developmentally appropriate and the importance of an intentional program dedicated to the values and mission of the camp will bring both campers and parents back to camp year after year. What changes lives? Relationships! Sure, sprinkle a little magic into that formula, but never underestimate professional development.
June 16, 2011
Child and youth development are not only a young person's right, but imperative if he or she is to grow up to be healthy, contributing citizen in our global community. However, be sure to read the warning label.
WARNING: Tamper with the developmental stages of growth and development by eliminating opportunities for social, emotional, and physical development while practicing, failing, and learning in safe, intentional environments, and you risk seeing normal adolescent behaviors resurface in adulthood.
I fear we are witnessing such behaviors in far too many adults today — not pretty, huh? You are doing important work!
Camp is like a perfect greenhouse for kids. It is an enriched, thriving environment...
June 15, 2011
In 1885, Summer F. Dudley and seven boys from the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in Newburgh, New York, went on a camping trip. By 1891, there were eighty-three campers. The camp became known as Camp Dudley and is the longest continually operating camp in the United States.
What’s your favorite YMCA Camp?
June 15, 2011
Annie Moretz Stanger, a teacher in recreation management at the University of Maine at Machias, explains why rainy days don't have to put a damper on fun.
Rain doesn't have to be an unwelcome guest at camp. It can be an inspiration for camp activities. Rainy days offer an opportunity to teach campers more about weather and for them to see firsthand how rain affects plants, animals, and the environment.
June 8, 2011
There are opportunities to teach every child better self-control. Of course, being spontaneous — even a little out of control — is fun. It's just that learning to listen, concentrate, and sustain attention are also important life skills. Camp is an ideal setting for cultivating self-control and controlled chaos.