Resource Library

A Place to Share: Lessons from Summer Camp
Published Date: 2014-07-01

Bobby arrived later than all the other campers, a habit I would soon come to expect. He waited awkwardly in the rec hall doorway. He clutched a black plastic bag of clothing and toiletries, and in his eyes he carried a dim light of glazed-over confusion.

I introduced myself.

"Hi, Mr. Ben," he said in a lilty, sing-songy pitch, dragging out each syllable.

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Camp professionals have long talked about forming a partnership with parents. First articulated by Bob Ditter, the concept has moved deeply into various policies, practices, materials, and conversations. But it has not been specifically discussed in relation to camp health services — until now. It's time our camp community becomes more strategic in our relationship with parents regarding the health services provided to their child(ren).

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Economically speaking, 2014 felt a little better across the nation. The Dow was up a bit, the jobs reports were somewhat positive, and people seemed to be spending money. Early in 2015 it still feels cautionary given the backdrop of the past few years, but there is a reason to feel optimistic after reviewing the results of the 2014 Enrollment Survey.
 
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It was not mere imagination when Department of Labor (DOL) inspectors arrived at a camp in the northeast to inspect records concerning the employment of minors. By the time the inspectors left, they had levied fines of $70,000 for multiple child labor violations including dining hall workers under sixteen working more than eight hours a day and beginning work before 7 a.m.

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Navigating what has become known as the “hookup culture” is no easy task for young people of all ages and both sexes. Although it has now been popularized in song (including pop star Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” [Perry et al, 2010] and country musician Blake Shelton’s “Lonely Tonight” [Anderson and Howard, 2014]), for years researchers could only guess at the longer-term consequences of the advent of casual, intimate, and sometimes even anonymous sexual behavior among teens and young adults.

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The threat of an Avian (Bird) Flu human pandemic has caused many camp professionals moments of concern. Both West Nile Virus and SARS conditioned us to taking note of threats posed by communicable diseases. Now, as we move toward Summer 2006, we again find ourselves considering preparedness, and trying to determine a level of camp preparedness appropriate to threats of diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough) and mumps, let alone a pandemic.

What action should a camp take to remain proactive about communicable disease threats?

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The ACA Camp Crisis Hotline remains one of the most valuable services ACA offers to the camp community. While the hotline is a year-round service, the majority of the calls are received during the summer season. (From September 2002 through August 2003, 84 percent of all calls were received from June through August). As the popularity of the hotline increases, we anticipate that a larger number of calls will be received in the nonsummer months.

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Tragedy can happen quickly and without warning. In response to the war and current world events and the memory of September 11, camps need to look at their disaster preparedness plans. Speculations can cause anxiety and cloud reality. As the national alert status changes and as threats of bioterrorism and other terrorist acts are prevalent in our news, camp directors and administrators must plan for the coming summer.

Issues and Plans Prior to Camp

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Criminal Background Checks
Published Date:

The volunteers for Children Act, an amendment to the National Child Protection Act of 1993, was signed into law by President Clinton on October 9, 1998. The act gives "qualified entities" the ability to request fingerprint-based national criminal history background checks of volunteers and employees.

Prior to this law, in all but a few states, organizations could order only local and state checks. Thus, if an applicant was convicted for molesting children in another state, the local check wouldn’t show those charges.

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Camp Employment Taxation
Published Date:

Original Publication: 1998 

Employers in the United States, including camps, are required to pay Social Security, Medicare, and state and federal unemployment and income taxes on most employees. How these taxes are calculated and collected, to whom they are paid, and the nuances of special camp-related laws are some of the issues addressed in this article.

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