Four Keynote Speakers and over 150 Educational Sessions at the American Camp Association® National Conference

February 8, 2017

Four Keynote Speakers and over 150 Educational Sessions at the American Camp Association® National Conference

1,200 Camp and Youth Development Professionals meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico for #ACANat17

Indianapolis, IN (February 7, 2017): Over 1,200 camp and youth development professionals will gather in Albuquerque, February 21-24, for the American Camp Association’s (ACA) National Conference. These camp and youth development experts will convene for four days with over 150 educational sessions, four powerful keynotes, and an exhibit hall full of 170 booths from 150 companies.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Shimi Kang MD, FRCPC is a doctor, researcher, and author of many books including, The Dolphin Way: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids. Kang will open the National Conference addressing one of our challenging issues in camp: helping campers and counselors manage anxiety and related mental health concerns.

Adam Bryant is the “Corner Office” columnist at the New York Times. The interview series he launched in 2009 has attracted a wide and loyal following for the compelling stories and smart insights that the leaders share with him every week. He is the author of two books, Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation, and the New York Times best-seller, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed. He also teaches a course on “The Practice of Leadership” at Columbia University.

Niambi Jaha-Echols is a cultural Agility strategist, a nationally recognized transformation advocate with over 30 years’ experience, and has a BA in fine art and psychology from Columbia College Chicago. She is the founder and president of The Butterfly Movement, which addresses the growing needs of teenaged girls. Her work has been featured in various national publications. Niambi is the author of Project Butterfly and Inspiring the Souls of Our Girls, and is co-contributor to the book African Americans and Community Engagement in Higher Education (SUNY Press). Niambi is currently serving on the National Board of ACA.

Deborah Gilboa, MD, a.k.a. “Dr. G,” is a leading parenting and youth development expert, family physician, international speaker, author, and media expert. Her straightforward advice (with a dose of humor) helps wade through the stress, doubt, and guilt that all parents and educators feel at one time or another. A lifelong camper, she has a knowing admiration for counselors and administrators who play a key role in shaping the campers around them.

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Other highlights at #ACANat17

The National Conference Community Service Project — The 2017 ACA National Conference Planning Team has chosen to collect items for the Albuquerque Public Schools Title 1 Homeless Project. ACA will be collecting various items including soap, lotion, deodorant, socks, and more for youth enrolled in Albuquerque Public Schools.

Camp Includes Me: Inclusion, Fusion, and Cross Cultural Agility — This year at our National Conference, we are excited to initiate a track to specifically assist in our cultural flexibility, ultimately supporting us and our campers in becoming more nimble in our thinking — particularly when navigating cultural differences. The ability to build trust and mutual rapport with people from various cultural backgrounds is a critical component in our camp community.

Medical Camping Track — Through the generosity of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, ACA can offer a track for camp professionals working with medical camp programs. These camp programs serve children and families living with serious and chronic illness. Nine educational breakouts will be offered throughout the conference.

For the complete program line-up, visit

During the conference, members of the news media will have the opportunity to interview featured presenters, keynote speakers, and ACA spokespersons. For additional information, interview requests, and press credentials, please contact us at or 812-269-2819.

About ACA:

The American Camp Association® (ACA) is a national organization with more than 10,000 individual members and nearly 3,000 member camps.  ACA is committed to collaborating with those who believe in quality camp and outdoor experiences for children, youth, and adults.  ACA provides advocacy and evidence-based education and professional development, and is the only national accrediting body for the organized camp experience.  ACA accredits approximately 2,400 diverse camps nationally.  ACA-Accredited® Camps meet up to 300 health and safety standards.  Accreditation provides public evidence of a camp’s commitment to the health, safety, and overall well-being of both campers and staff.  For more information, visit