Planning for Mental, Emotional, and Social Health (MESH) This Summer

The smiling faces and laughter heard across camps each summer result from days, weeks, and months of planning. We spend considerable time meticulously planning our themes, activities, equipment, food, and schedules, not to mention the weeks spent hiring just the right staff members. As we approach summer, how prepared are we to deal with a MESH situation in camp? Have you planned for MESH?

Summer Camp: A Unique Environment for Social and Emotional Learning

In fall 2015, our organization, Challenge Success, launched a research-practice partnership with three northern California camps.  These camps believed deeply — like many of you — that summer camp provides kids with long-term benefits and essential learning experiences, but they wanted to better understand if and how this was true.   

Solar Celebrations

Camps are a great place to check out the sky, including the sun!

Why We Choose to Be ACA-accredited and What It Takes

The directors and staff of Geneva Glen Camp (Indian Hills, Colorado), have always approached the triennial ACA visit anticipating a very upbeat and affirming experience! Our feeling is that we simply have a quality program and we are excited to share it.

We were asked to look a little more closely at why the accreditation process is so important. . . and why we see what on the surface appears to be an enormous effort and the encompassing nature of it!

National Conference Takeaways for Practitioners, Researchers, and Everyone in Between

In the latest Research 360 blog post, ACA Research Assistant Victoria Povilaitis shares highlights from several research sessions that were held at the ACA National Conference

Coming Home and Seeing Old Friends at National Conference

The 2018 American Camp Association National Conference is here! Today, I’m delighted to join over 1,400 other camp professionals and dear friends for a fabulous week of winter camp down at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Our Board of Directors and National Council of Leaders are holding Association leadership meetings and camp directors, exhibitors, and presenters are flooding onto this expansive Spanish Colonial Resort à la Mickey and Minnie.

Staff Workforce Development: What Helps and What Hinders It

Camp is a fantastic place for growth and development, not only of campers but young staff too. The skills they learn while working in this context prepare them for college, career, and life! 

Why Camps and After-school Programs Should Work Together to Hire Staff

I am a camp guy. I spent 10 summers growing up at various overnight camps as a camper, counselor, dishwasher, and unit head. As ACA research has shown, these experiences provided me with some of my best friends (including my brother-in-law), mentors, valuable leadership skills, and work experience. It also helped shape my personal values, career choices, and a sense of how to change lives on a limited budget.

Research 360: Promising Themes from Phase 1 of the 5-Year Impact Study

Laurie Browne, PhD, discusses what happened during the first phase of the 5-Year Impact Study and what will happen next during Phases 2 and 3. 

Why Every Camp Should Be Teaching and Practicing Meditation with Campers

The wonder of a child — it’s something we strive for in adulthood. Imagination, amazement, and the simple appreciation for life’s little treasures: the gold spray of sunlight through a window, or the taste of cool rain on your tongue. Kids are accustomed to using their senses to experience life. They look, touch, smell, and even taste their way through the world. This natural inclination toward mindfulness makes teaching kids to meditate easier than we thought. In fact, it’s a no-brainer.