ACA, Northern CA Fall Conference: Safe and Secure Camps

featuring Dr. Christopher Thurber

At the Fall conference we'll explore both emotional and physical safety as well as camp security practices. This is a great local event to connect with other professionals in Northern CA.  For additional information, please contact the ACA, Northern CA Field Office at 765-349-3523 or

Date, Time & Location

November 21, 2013
9am to 4:30pm
First Unitarian Church, Oakland, CA

REGISTER online today!

Conference Speakers

Dr. Christopher Thurber is a board-certified clinical psychologist, educator, author, and father.  He earned his BA from Harvard University in 1991 and a PhD in clinical psychology from UCLA in 1997.  A dedicated teacher from a young age, Chris has more than 30 years of experience working with camps and independent schools. 

He has written numerous book chapters and scholarly articles on homesickness and children’s adjustment to separation from home.  An award-winning contributor to Camping Magazine and Camp Business, Chris has also shared his youth development expertise on the national radio, television, print media, podcasts and webinars.

In 2007, Chris co-founded, which quickly became the Internet’s most popular and respected educational resource for youth development professionals.  Chris also co-authored the critically acclaimed Summer Camp Handbook with Dr. Jon Malinowski and he designed the ACA’s homesickness prevention program, a DVD/CD set for new camper families entitled The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success.

During the academic year, Chris serves as school psychologist at Phillips Exeter Academy, a private, coeducational, boarding high school.  He and his wife, Simonida, an analytical chemist, live in Exeter, New Hampshire with their sons Danilo, born in 2002, and Sava, born in 2004. 

Harry Rhulen is the Chairman/CEO of Firestorm. Mr. Rhulen, who spent the first eighteen years of his career in the insurance industry, has been Chairman and CEO of a public insurance holding company with United States and European operations. Harry brings extensive experience in risk management, crisis management, due diligence and business management to lead Firestorm’s strategic planning initiatives.

Firestorm ( is a national leader in crisis prevention, management, response, communications, and decision making. Firestorm is the group of acclaimed “boots on the ground” experts known for its work at the Aurora movie theater shooting, Virginia Tech, Columbine, and other crisis situations involving young people.

Program Sessions

Kids Do Dumb Stuff:
Everything You Need to Know about What Makes Children Tick and How to Prevent Catastrophes -
by Dr. Chris Thurber
This session will deepen your understanding of how young brains work (or, in some cases, don’t work), both alone and in a social context. These stunning insights are key to elevating your leadership. Examination and comparison of adult and youth decision-making will help you distinguish between normal shenanigans and behaviors that indicate deeper psychological trouble. Case study analysis and discussion will guide you in developing action plans for responding to puzzling behaviors in wise and supportive ways. Jaw-dropping stories are the prelude to healthy best practices.

Preserving Professional Boundaries:
Advancing Best Practices Beyond Simple “Safe Touch” Guidelines -
by Dr. Chris Thurber
Youth development professionals have a unique responsibility to put their campers’ needs first.  And yet both campers and leaders can enter a grey area in which personal information is over-shared, physical touch becomes inappropriate, and emotional connections creep beyond what’s comfortable. Learn about fiduciary responsibility, how development affects judgment, the surprising range of boundary violations (and their consequences) and how professional boundaries and reputations can be preserved. A must-see workshop for directors interested in protecting themselves, their staff and the young people they serve.

Courageous Ignorance:
How Difference Makes the Difference
- by Dr. Chris Thurber
This challenging workshop introduces the concept of Courageous Ignorance, a revolutionary first step in boosting your multicultural IQ. Simply stating that you tolerate differences won’t make a difference; only learning can do that. The problem is that few of us are ready to admit what we don’t know about other cultures, religions, ethnicities and personal identities. Globalization has brought diverse peoples together more frequently than ever. Prepare yourself to understand, cooperate and celebrate dissimilarities as much as you embrace similarities. The health of your camp depends on it.

Camp Security: Things That Every Camp Needs to Know - by Harry Rhulen
An Action Plan for Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Management & Communications in the age of Sandy Hook

Registration Information

$55 for ACA Member; $75 for Non- Member
Includes Lunch

Not a member? No problem! The free member program/coupon is available to any first-time member of ACA.  To learn more and to join, visit and enter coupon code Free-NC-2014.

REGISTER online today!

Location Information

First Unitarian Church of Oakland - Wendte Hall
685 14th St. Oakland, CA 94612
Location Map

Parking is available at the City Center West Garage at 12th and MLK Way -  early bird special (enter by 9:30am) of $14/day.

BART is also a convenient option for travel to this location.