What a change! From 2004 – 2012, I was the director of a summer camp in southwest Michigan. I came from living and working in the energizing camping world where the norm was hearing gleeful campers, collaborating with staff, juggling multiple tasks, and calling it a day after spending twelve hours in the woods to my new norm. Now, I’m my only companion, and my link to the world is a phone, a laptop, and my office window. My new environment often feels like camp after it has closed for the season – complete, unending quiet.
Don’t read this wrong, I’m not saying this change is bad. The flexibility of my ACA job gave me the opportunity to visit Michigan camp as a guest (not a visitor). I traveled to eight ACA Michigan camps with simple goals - meet fellow ACA members, tour their camps and hear about their programs. Along the way, I discovered that each camp had its own personality, unique sense of community, loyal alumni, and dedicated leaders. I also discovered one constant, each camp recognized the importance of positive youth development.
A special thanks to Camp Newaygo, Camp Henry, Camp Kohahna, Camp Arbutus Hayo-Went-Ha, Lake Ann Camp, Camp Walden, Al-Gon-Quin and Camp Kinawind for welcoming me. Pictures of the 2013 “Out and About" tour can be found on the American Camp Association, Michigan Facebook page