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March 22, 2012
Struggles over what our kids read during the summer are not new. I know this because I remember the summer my mom had to wrestle a battered paperback from my hands, saying, “We did not pay for a family vacation so that you could read Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade over and over again.” Which was news to me.
But what constitutes good summer reading? Some parents worry that their kids are not reading enough books. Others worry that the books their kids are reading aren’t good enough. And many worry about both.
One thing is clear: The summer reading slump definitely exists. “Research shows that struggling readers test higher on a standardized test at the beginning of summer than at the end of the vacation,” says John Martin, writer, teacher and founder of Boys Read, a Seattle-based organization that focuses on getting boys to read. “This is a skill that has atrophy.”
In other words, use...
March 20, 2012
Now is a great time for parents to arrange a tour of a local day camp. Whether parents are looking for a camp for the first time for their child or thinking about switching camps, going on a tour of a few camps in your area is the best way to make the right decision for their child.
When you are on a tour, the following questions should be explored either with the camp director, to help narrow down your choices.
1. How will my child be grouped (placed) or “bunked” with other campers? Factors such as grade, age, gender, and parent input all come together to play a role in placement. Generally though, campers are grouped by the same gender and age with approximately 10 to 16 campers per group depending on age.
2. Who will be taking care of my child and what are their qualifications? Camps should have Counselors and Specialty...
March 19, 2012
This week’s post is contributed by Deb Bialeschki, ACA’s director of research. Peg and Deb have a spirited habit of exchanging meaningful quotes, which sparked this post. Look for more guest contributors in the future, as Peg continues to share her latest thoughts and invite others to join the conversation.
Many people lament the rudeness, bad manners and behaviors, and lack of respect we see around us every day — and it’s not just in kids! We see it in our media “stars,” public officials, coaches, youth leaders — even our own neighbors and families! Many folks believe that bad manners can be attributed to our increasing use of technology, lax standards, and a general lack of respect. But it doesn’t have to be that way, especially in our youth programs! What better place to practice civility (by both staff and campers) than in our camp community?
Civility is more than just being...
March 16, 2012
Camp is fun! As a parent or family member searching for a camp experience, there are a lot of things to consider. The best camp experiences are borne out of a partnership – where parents and camps work together to find the best possible fit for children, and one where parents are armed with information and able to make educated decisions about the camp experience.
If you are new to the camp search, worry not! The American Camp Association has an enormous amount of research and advice to help you — and it is all available online. CampParents.org, ACA’s family resource site, includes information on:
March 16, 2012
This summer, you can give your campers the opportunity to make a meaningful connection with campers at Camp Sizanani — which provides education, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, crucial life skills, and the fun of a camp experience to children affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa.
It only costs $500 to sponsor a camper in South Africa for a camp session and a year of after-camp follow-up programming. Through the Camp Goes Global campaign, your campers participate in providing funds (raising money) to sponsor one child . . . or more!
How do I participate?
The Camp Goes Global campaign can be easily implemented into any camp environment — programming is flexible and can be carried out in whatever way works best for the camp. ...
March 13, 2012
“Grace?” I knelt in front of her. She looked up at me, immediately sensing what I was going to say. A shadow fell over her eyes. “We’re going to go now.”
“What? Now?” Her face was stricken. We hadn’t talked about when we were going to go.
“Yes. Then you’ll have your swim test and start your afternoon with your friends.”
She threw her arms around me, beginning to cry. I looked up and met my husband’s eyes over her head and he motioned that we should leave. Still kneeling on the pool deck, I kissed her wet cheeks and looked her in the eye. “Grace. You know what?” I strained to keep the tears out of my voice. “I bet you anything that when we come back to get you, you will cry because you don’t want to leave.” She shook her head firmly, eyes closed. “Yes, you will. Now, it’s time for us to go. I love you, I will write to you, and...
March 12, 2012
It seems the more unpredictable the world becomes, the more rampant our fervor to predict. I'm in the process of reading Jim Collins' new book, Great by Choice, and I found this line intriguing: “It is about channeling your ambition into the cause, company, or association and whatever will ultimately make it successful.”
He speaks of disciplined creativity based on empirical experience and data. It causes me to consider that ACA’s research environment is firmly embedded in "evidence informed" research. It resonates with the parent and is applicable to the professional.
As we all attempt to determine the next trend or predict the future, maybe there is something first to be reminded of in terms of our "cause" — because I am confident that our relevance today and tomorrow can be supported by both disciplined and empirical creativity for our cause and...
March 9, 2012
It's amazing how quickly children grow! One minute they are tiny and totally dependent on families for every need, and the next they are gaining independence by leaps and bounds. Each stage of a child's life is unique - bringing new milestones, relationship developments, and yes, even new ways to maximize the camp experience.
ACA offers a helpful guide of these stages to help families not only choose the best camp experience, but also to help them better understand what is happening developmentally as their tiny tot turns into a big kid, or even into a young adult.
Choose an Age Group today and start learning how to help your child make the most of this critical development and growth.
March 8, 2012
Guest post contributed by Gary Woodhurst.
I vividly remember my very first day at Camp Kanuga.
I remember riding up US 25 with my mom and brother past Jones Gap State Park in awe at the vastness of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I remember the smell of the crisp mountain air (you know, how camp is supposed to smell?) as my mom’s truck winded its way down Little River Road. I also remember driving through the gates to camp for the very first time and seeing the first person I met at Camp Kanuga, Ellen. She was the head female counselor and I was bouncing with excitement as she told me that I would be in cabin 7 and my brother in cabin 8.
In the lobby of the Hyatt Regency at the 2012 ACA National Conference in Atlanta, I saw Ellen again for the first time in 16 years.
Now I’m not here to tell you...
March 6, 2012
Choosing a camp, especially for first-timers, is a serious undertaking. Questions about camp programs and philosophies are important and help families determine which camp experience is right for their child. At local camp fairs, families are given the opportunity to get answers to these critical questions.
Camp fairs are held nationwide and are open to the public. Typically, camp fairs are scheduled on weekends allowing families to attend together. Each camp fair is made up of a variety of camps that provide literature and information on their programming and activities. In addition, participating camps bring knowledgeable staff who can answer questions and provide additional information specific to that camp.
CampParents.org, the ACA family resource site, offers the ultimate camp planner, complete with questions to...
March 6, 2012
It was nearing the close of my day and I leaned back to reflect. I suddenly found myself focused on several sayings that I had posted on the wall in front of my desk. I started rereading them and found myself asking why these statements had resonated with me. Why had I saved them? I began to chuckle to myself because they were all related to change and the human condition.
- “People exposed to the same information can often interpret it differently.”
- “Integrative thinking can resolve tension between opposing ideas and generate new alternative solutions.”
- “The edge is not the abyss. It’s the sweet spot for productive change.”
- “Explore the possibilities of opposition — the tension between the two can create superior ideas.”
- “Collaboration is an unnatural act committed by non-consenting adults.”
- And finally, “Humility makes it...
March 2, 2012
The camp experience can be life-changing - developing independence, self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and a whole host of life skills needed to be successful in today's (and tomorrow's) world. For first time camp families, one very common question is how to determine when a child is ready for camp. Ultimately, families know their child best, and are best able to determine when and if they are ready, however ACA suggests that families also ask the following questions when considering if this is the summer for camp:
- What is your child's age? Children under age 7 may not adjust easily to being away from home. Consider the day camp experience to prepare them for future overnight camp.
- How did your child become interested in camp? Does your child talk about camp and camp activities on a sustained basis? How much persuasion is necessary from you?
- Has your child had...
March 1, 2012
Would you buy an online course without seeing what it takes to complete it, or if you’re really that interested in the course matter? Maybe you would, but you don’t have to!
Get a free preview of any Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) course now!
Just follow these steps:
- Go to http://learn.ACAcamps.org/.
- Scroll down to “Certificates of Added Qualification” and select the course that best suits you.
- You’ll be prompted with a login screen. Click the button: Login as a guest (at the bottom left).
- Enter the password ACA2012 (password is case sensitive).
- Start exploring! Check out the articles and videos you would be using to learn, click on a random lesson to see what it’s all about, or take a look...
February 27, 2012
Camp has become a staple of the summer season. Each year, millions of children, youth, and adults head to the hills, lakes, valleys, and parks to participate in the time-honored tradition of camp. And, while most people easily conjure up images of campfires and canoes, there is a lot more to the camp experience. Here are ten of the things you may not have known about the camp experience.
10. Camp is older than dirt, almost literally. Started in 1861, the camp experience turned an impressive 150 years young in 2011. The secret behind the longevity? “Camps are constantly adapting to meet the changing needs of today’s families,” said Peg Smith, chief executive officer for the American Camp Association® (ACA). “And yet, in essentials, camp is very much the same as it was 150 years ago – kids still have authentic, life-changing experiences.”
9. Camp is worth its weight in gold, and...
February 23, 2012
“To be playful and serious at the same time is possible, and it defines the ideal mental condition.”
— John Dewey, How We Think
It seems that everywhere I turn I find someone discussing 21st Century skills. The discussions sound important and serious, and the skills they describe are often mysterious and misunderstood. For instance, I worry that for some parents, if you were to say that the camp experience provides 21st Century skills, it would sound like an oxymoron. These two concepts sharing the same space may, for some, defy traditional logic and be reduced to the simplicity of an either/or choice.
Decades ago many parents viewed childcare as a basic function - having no educational or developmental value. When research surfaced...