Resource Library

Four friends from childhood reunite often and maintain their relationships through adulthood: It's the makings of countless best-selling novels. But this story is real — no fictional characters, no made-up locations — just four girls who met before their teens and journeyed through life with the help of summer camp. A couple of years ago those same four friends shared an evening together and were reminded once again of the meaning of friendship.

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As more camps purchase an automated external defibrillator (AED), the ability to establish and effectively manage a program that supports the use and maintenance of this life-saving device is critical. The initial thrill of getting the AED must be supported by an ongoing plan that keeps the device functional, maintains staff training, and updates camp administration with applicable state and/or local regulations.

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Imagine a world where every child benefits from a camp experience . . .

This is the goal of camps across the country as we continue to strive for ACA's 20/20 Vision — to serve 20 million children through the camp experience by the year 2020. In the following interviews, ACA's 2013 Eleanor Eells Award winners share how they bring their camps' missions to life through innovative programming and partnerships.

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Camp professionals generate many documents. While some documents aren’t retained very long, others are preserved because they contain critical information. It’s these critical records that deserve attention; do they contain sufficient information presented in an appropriate manner? In other words, how does one “write right”?

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During a mid-summer visit to a four-week, coed, residential camp, I spoke with the division leader (DL) of the youngest girls and learned about an eight-year-old camper whom I will call Eva. Eva had some behaviors that were challenging her counselors, many of whom were becoming frustrated in their efforts to help her. Eva was very slow when getting dressed or cleaning up in the cabin, and when the counselors tried to hurry her up so she wouldn’t be late for breakfast or an activity, she became defiant, cried, and whimpered and complained about her counselors being mean.

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In Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge writes, “Water, water everywhere, and all the boards did shrink. Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink . . . .” Though he’s writing about sailors stuck at sea who are surrounded by undrinkable sea water, have you ever asked if your camp water supply is just like that: all around you, but not drinkable? Some time back, this column looked at common issues with camps’ potable water systems.

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My love of the outdoors, along with my scientific curiosity, can be traced back to my childhood adventures in the woods. The house I grew up in did not have air conditioning, making it unbearable to be indoors during the months of July and August. I, along with my older sister, found my refuge in the cool shade of the woods. At first we would stick to a clearing that housed two small boulders at the edge of the yard. Once I was ten and didn’t have to be in direct eyesight of my mother, I forged my own paths in the woods.

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Camp health is not bound by the four walls of the health center. Nor is safety bound by a list of rules at any given camp activity. Today’s camp professional realizes that all camp staff contribute to and have responsibility for a camp’s health and safety profile; indeed, the camp experience can be considerably healthier when camp staff act sensibly (American Camp Association, 2011; Garst, Erceg, Baird, & Thompson, 2010; Garst, Erceg, & Walton, in press; Papageorgiou, Marvomatis, & Kasta, 2006). Granted, some staff have direct responsibility to care for campers.

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“The gluten-free cinnamon rolls are amazing!” Those emphatic words are emblazoned in my brain, stamped into my memory. As tears began to well in her eyes, Annalise, one of our counselors, looked around as if sharing a secret and said, “I haven’t eaten a cinnamon roll in five years! Could I please have your recipe?”

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Enrollment Highlights from Summer 2013
Published Date: 2014-03-01

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Each fall, the American Camp Association (ACA) requests enrollment information from camps across the country. The statistics and information allow us to chart industry trends and identify enrollment issues that camps are facing on an annual basis.

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