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October 9, 2012
Recently, ACA received a 2012 Summit Award from ASAE — the Center for Association Leadership. Watch the video below to learn more. Giving a voice to the camp experience's positive (and safe) youth development outcomes for parents and the public is a very important part of all of our work, and ACA was honored to win this award.
October 9, 2012
Special thanks to Allison Lee, an archery counselor at Camp Chinqueka, for submitting our last counselor story of the year! Have a great fall — summer will be here again soon!
I don't even know how to narrow my summer down to one favorite memory. There are just too many! Having recently just worked at camp for my second year, I know 100 percent it will not be my last. As soon as I walked back into camp for the second time, I knew was back at home, my real home, a place where I feel completely comfortable to be myself and let go of all the stress and worries that comes with real life.
This year, the whole staff waited in anticipation for two weeks before the bright, happy, and excited campers came running through our gates. Honestly, the feeling is indescribable. I still get goosebumps now when I think about it. It felt as if the previous nine months back at home didn't exist and as if I’d never left camp!
October 5, 2012
Health and safety at camp has always been a top priority for the American Camp Association (ACA). Recently, ACA's Healthy Camp Study, which monitored injuries and illnesses at camp — and developed prevention strategies for injury/illness occurances — was recognized by the Center for Association Leadership's 2012 Summit Award.
Watch the video below to learn more!
About the Healthy Camp Study
In 2006, ACA partnered with Markel Insurance Company to embark on a five-year surveillance project to benchmark camp-related injury and illness in U.S. camps. Over 200 day and resident camps were involved in this project...
October 4, 2012
Thank you, Kyle Lefler, for sharing your summer story! Did staff at your camp overcome any obstacles this summer? Share your favorite memory with media@ACAcamps.org.
Along with much of the East Coast, our little summer camp was devastated by the thunderstorms the weekend of July 4th. Mar Lu Ridge (MLR) is a Lutheran summer camp located in the mountains of Frederick County, Maryland. The storms came quickly and hit our little mountain hard, felling trees, taking out the power (and water!), and leaving debris everywhere.
As a staff, we slowly made our way down the road and through the woods to investigate the damage. Much to our relief, our newly renovated dining hall was totally untouched, as was our 50-year-old A-frame chapel, which is entirely fronted in glass. What a blessing! Unfortunately, the road was impassable and camp would have to make some major adjustments.
In the wake of the...
October 1, 2012
A big thanks to Hannah (Tom Tom) Wiese from Camp Chinqueka for this summer story! What did your summer at camp teach you? Send your stories to media@ACAcamps.org and you might see them here!
As soon as the car rounds the bend and Bantam Lake comes into view, I smile and bounce up and down in anticipation for I know that I am almost at my summer home. I know that as soon as the car pulls on to the gravel drive, there will be my summer family, waiting to greet me with happy screams and lots of hugs. This was only my second summer at sunny Camp Chinqueka, but from the moment I stepped out of the car and my feet hit the ground, I felt like I was back home.
At camp, I’ve learned many lessons — things I could have never learned in school. Lessons such as, if you use a leaf blower to clean your cabin, you’ll probably set off the smoke detector. And, that if you let a CIT drive...
September 26, 2012
Are you interested in one day having a profession in the camp or youth development industry? Attend an ACA Student Camp Leadership Academy (SCLA) weekend retreat!
SCLA brings students together with camp professionals to take an in-depth look at options for a profession in the camp field. It also helps students build skills to prepare for a career in camp.
Choose from 4 locations:
September 25, 2012
I was rereading an article that was in the Boston Globe earlier this month titled “How Kids Make Friends — And Why It Matters.” Of course when I first read the article, I was reminded of ACA’s outcomes research and the power of the camp experience as it relates to “making friends.”
However, as I reread the article, I found myself considering deeper thoughts: The article does not just talk about making friends but honing “friendship skills.” Are we simply creating opportunities for kids to “make” friends, or are we teaching and facilitating “friendship skills?” And what does that look like?
The article also recognized our recent societal concentration on the prevention of bullying (which is...
September 20, 2012
Many thanks to Lynne Murphy from Ireland for this fun memory! Lynne was the evening program coordinator and Web manager at Camp Chinqueka in Connecticut this summer. Send YOUR summer story to media@ACAcamps.org.
As I look around my bedroom, a wall-to-wall shrine dedicated to camp memories, it is almost impossible to select one highlight of camp or explain how much camp means to me. It is a place where I feel more at home than I do in the house I was raised in; a place I have met the most spectacular people and children I will ever meet; and a place where I have grown, changed, and loved.
It was just two years ago that my life changed at sunny Camp Chinqueka. I had found a place where I could be myself and be happier than I have ever been. This summer was phenomenal! Despite the fact that every day at camp is packed with fun-filled activities, there is always one day that stands out in my...
September 18, 2012
Thanks, Krista White, for sharing this summer story! Krista is a head counselor at Eagle's Nest Camp in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. Send your summer memory to media@ACAcamps.org.
The moment that had the most impact for me this summer happened on my first day at camp. A group of five of us were starting a week of lifeguard training. Our instructor was a no-nonsense kind of guy, and we set straight to work. After basic introductions, it was down to the lake for the swim test. We spent the rest of the day doing laps, watching videos, and learning techniques. With about an hour left before dinner, we took a quick bathroom break before attempting to watch one last video. I took that chance to pull the cell phone that I had ignored all day out of my backpack and check if I had any messages. My only text message was from my husband — it read “Please call me as soon as you can.” I...
September 17, 2012
Are we camp professionals? Yes. Are we mentors and advisors? Yes. Are we coaches and social workers? Yes. Are we surrogate parents? Yes. Are we youth development workers? Yes. Are we educators? Yes.
I also believe we are a new form of venture capitalists. We are making investments in humans and community systems that build competencies and capacities that lead to better results! Don't undersell or underestimate the power of capacity on future performance.
Better results that lead to better tomorrows — changing the world.
Photo courtesy of Tom Sawyer Camps, Pasadena, California
September 14, 2012
Thanks Angela Marks for the latest entry on the Counselor Blog! Send your favorite summer memory to media@ACAcamps.org!
My week with Rising Abilities was full of great stories and memories, but one story stands out the most. There was an adolescent camper with Autism who was so excited to catch a fish to cook himself that he spent every day asking his group to go fishing for all of their activity choices. On the last evening of camp, he finally caught one big enough to keep. Just down the stream, there was a five-year-old boy who was trying really hard to catch a fish, but was having trouble. The older boy looked at the younger boy and said, "Don't be sad — you can have my fish." Then he dumped his fish into the other boy’s bucket and walked back to the cabins. It was in that moment that I realized my campers had learned a great social skill: Kindness.
September 11, 2012
Many campers have returned home for the remainder of summer, and you may have noticed something about their behavior — their manners!
The entire camp experience is made of teachable moments, and perhaps one of the biggest is how to live with a group of people. Campers learn to pick up after themselves, respect each other’s property, and say “Please” and “Thank You.”
Keep your camper’s good habits alive long after the summer is over:
- Remember to Remind — When campers come home, they often keep the spirit of camp alive for a week or two, and then things trail off. Use positive reinforcement to remind campers that you appreciate the positive attitude and willingness to help that they developed at camp.
- Become Camp-Like — Families can set the example by demonstrating a willingness to change something at home in order to sustain some of the...
September 10, 2012
Here's another counselor's summer story — all the way from Australia! Thanks Nicola Hadskis Gordon for this one! Share your story with media@ACAcamps.org!
I first worked at YMCA Camp Weaver in North Carolina in the summer of 2011. I am from Australia, so I sadly had to return back to my family. This year, 2012, I missed camp so much I decided I needed to go back, even if it was just to volunteer for a month. A week after I arrived I had decided that I needed to stay the whole summer, so I volunteered the entire 3 months and I am returning for sure next year.
Camp is in my blood — I know that camp is my true home and where I can truly be me. And I feel as though each day I am helping a child overcome a fear, whether it is homesickness, swimming, or mosquitoes. Camp Weaver is my home.
This is my story, where my heart is and forever shall be.
Photo courtesy of...
September 10, 2012
There are many ways to have a "ful" life.
September 6, 2012
Today's story comes from Katelyn Gillum, who now works for her camp fulltime! Send your story from the summer to media@ACAcamps.org.
If you would have told me nearly four years ago that being a camp counselor was going to change my life, I never would have believed you. I walked into my first summer at Camp Walden in Diamond Point, New York, thinking that it was merely going to be a two-month experience that would give me the opportunity to work with kids and boost my resume as a prospective teacher. What I didn't know is that it would change my world forever.
Having never gone to a sleep away camp as a child, I entered the camp world knowing nothing aside from what I had learned through movies such as The Parent Trap and shows like Bug Juice. I was expecting to find campers sneaking out of bunks, being sent to isolation cabins, and playing poker without any adult supervision. What I...