2011: A Year in Review

As a community of youth development and camp professionals, our work will never be done. Each day, we strive to reach children and youth with intentional, life-changing camp experiences — and to make those camp experiences the best they can possibly be.

As this year comes to an end, we are presented with many successful moments to acknowledge and build upon. More importantly, you, the ACA camp community, continued to change one life at a time by serving over 5 million kids this year. And by working together, we have created much in 2011 that will carry us to even greater heights in years to come.


  • A more streamlined, user-friendly standards process.
  • A partnership that will help send more kids to camp — Late July Organic Snacks will give 10 percent of their profits to summer camp scholarships for kids in need.
  • Easily accessible and relevant grant information at the click of a button with our online grants tool.


  • A new, cutting edge Find a Camp database that makes it easier than ever for parents and families to find the perfect experience for their children.
  • Nationwide visibility in more than 1,150 media publications, programs, and Web sites. And, ACA’s social media presence continues to grow — connecting ACA to broader audiences every day.
  • Being heard in Washington, DC, as the Child Protection Improvements Act was approved by the House of Representatives, and the No Child Left Inside Act was introduced into Congress. Both acts offer support for healthy and safe children and camp experiences.
  • The addition of 1,800 new voices showing support to the camp experience and faces joining the camp professional community with the implementation of a free membership campaign.


  • A free online resource (The Healthy Camp Study Impact Report) that will help us prevent injuries and illnesses in the future.
  • Another important connection in the camp–school relationship through the Explore 30 Camp Reading Program, a national model for camp-based literacy, which reached more than 350,000 youth who were given structured and unstructured reading experiences at camp this summer.
  • Improved business operations of our camps through the Sites, Facilities, and Programs Survey: 2011, which provides us with useful information for tracking trends, making comparisons, and finding new ideas.

As we move into a new year, these successes give us the confidence and tools we need in order to do even more. Our work might never be done, but it can always be well done. No doubt, 2012 — with its challenges of unification, member expansion, and economic perseverance — will require our same commitment, together and unwavering. Thank you for your hard work in 2011.

Originally published in the 2011 November/December Camping Magazine.