Guest post by Posie Taylor
With all of the ACA spring conferences and trainings coming up, I’ve been thinking about the importance in participating in and leading educational opportunities through ACA. Even after many years in camp, I always get a little nugget or two out of participating in ACA educational events. But that is not the main reason I have participated and led, both on the regional and on the national level, for over thirty-five years. When I was just starting out as a young camp director at Aloha, I met a very wise man at ACA. He shared his perspective that being involved at ACA was a matter of helping to assure the future of the camps I loved and that had given me so much as a child and young adult.
Here is what he said:
- Not every alumni camper is going to send his or her child to our camp. Economics may constrain their choices or distance or family issues or a multitude of specific challenges unique to each situation.
- For that reason, our future depends on attracting folks who DIDN’T have the opportunity to attend our camp as children.
- If we want those folks to consider our camp for their kids, the camp experience they had as children — at whatever camp they attended — must be of very high quality.
- If those experiences are not high quality, we will NEVER get those parents to consider ANY camp for their kids. They will have a hard time distinguishing between our camps and the ones they attended where they felt scared or unseen or shipped away from home. They will want their kids to have better summers than they had — and those summers will probably NOT involve a dreaded camp experience of any sort! At the very least, it will be a really tough sell!
- Our future at each one of our own beloved summer homes depends on camps across the country getting better and better!
- Our job is to be teaching, modeling, sharing what we know to help raise all boats across the industry, and, by doing so, to secure the future of the camps we love.
- Why do you think I have been participating, volunteering and sharing for so long? Of course I learn stuff, but mostly I know that we — not matter what camp we represent — must, for our own survival, if nothing else, participate in making all camps better!
Shortly after hearing this wise man speak, I stepped up, producing and running a fall leadership conference for ACA, New England entitled “Camp as a Microcosm, Camp as a Haven, Camp as a Vanguard” — a concept gleaned from another wise ACA leader! The rest is history, and I know that, in my small way, I have raised all boats at least a tiny bit across camping. I urge you to do the same! Set about making the camp experience and ACA better for the future of our camps and for the love of children across the country!
Starting as a homesick camper in 1954, Posie Taylor grew up at The Aloha Camps. After almost twenty years as director of Aloha’s camp for younger girls, she became executive director of The Aloha Foundation in 1998. In “retirement,” Posie serves on the ACA National Board of Directors and on the board of ACA, New England, while consulting with nonprofits across the country. Her favorite role is being Grammie to her beloved granddaughter, Kate.