For my camp, the ACA national conference (this year in Dallas, Texas) is always the highlight of our winter.
Those of us who are experienced (please note that I am avoiding the word “old”) can get cutting-edge information on the many topics that weren’t even topics twenty years ago. We can learn how best to work with children on the autism spectrum or how to accommodate campers who need gluten-free menus without causing a revolution among our cooks. We can gain critical insights on fundraising, on working with boards, and on creating organizations that value and inspire innovation. We can even slink into the back row of a session devoted to Pinterest, Facebook, or even “Internet Marketing 101,” so we can gain enough background to communicate with our less-experienced (avoiding the word “younger”) staff who were born with this knowledge.
And we can network. Who do we call when we find bedbugs for the first time? Or need help with some camper or staff situation? Or when we just need someone to laugh with us or sympathize during a difficult time? Our friends in the camp and youth development field. No one else understands. And at the national conference, we expand our networks and make