Resource Library

Conservation Generation: Doing Good Work
Published Date: 2015-03-01

At Blue Star, as at many camps, we care passionately about healing the planet. As third generation owners/directors, we are humbled and honored to continue and deepen the long tradition of social justice that breathes at the core of our good work at camp.

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From Peg: Moments. Magic. Meaning!
Published Date: 2014-09-01

Peg Smith, ACA CEOIt only takes a moment — to change a life, make an impact, or create significance. It is remarkable how persuasive a moment in time can be to one's life. The camp experience is full of such moments.

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The right to privacy is well established in the legal system of the United States. As citizens of the United States, we expect that our right to privacy will be respected.

Virtually all businesses gather personal information about employees and customers that is private. For example, most camps gather names, addresses, social security numbers, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, driving history, dates of birth, financial information (bank account numbers, debit or credit card numbers, and security codes), personal images, e-mail addresses, and medical history.

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Change is often difficult for the thousands of camps and conference centers across the country to embrace, partly because many camps are steeped in tradition, and partly because of fear. The camp food service industry has been serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets, bug juice, cake mixes, pre-baked breads, and, of course, s'mores for too long. Now is the time for camp directors and food service directors to embrace the movement toward healthier food options.

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Reflections: Back to Basics
Published Date: 2014-09-01

Few people would disagree that we now live in a world of consumer capitalism. Our open lands and lakefronts in New England are slowly disappearing to development. Many young children are over stimulated and over scheduled. This generation, more than any other in our history, needs the calming and regenerative powers of living close to the natural rhythms and flow of nature.

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The camp director of one of the oldest and most respected camps on the continent remembers how, a few years ago, his camp's continuing tradition as a tech-free environment was especially hard for some fourteen- and fifteen-year-old campers. Cell phones, texting, and social media were the personal default setting of their lives. "We had some kids who really missed it," he told me recently. The networked life was the only life they knew at home and school. Going tech-free was a culture shock for them.

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It may very well be the case that matters of discipline, often grounded in interpersonal conflict, consume a disproportionate amount of time for counselors at summer camp. Or at least it seems that way.

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Galileo Galilei did not go blind looking at the sun through his telescope, despite the urban legend promulgated by manufacturers of sun filters and even NASA. Instead, his blindness in his early seventies was caused by cataracts and glaucoma (Mulder, 1922). Sitting close to the television for prolonged periods of time also does no harm, despite what your parents may have told you. Television may have some deleterious effects, but none of them is ocular.

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We are lucky to be at camp, in the modern world, and not living in a jungle where each new thing might kill us. The fight or flight response comes from ancient times when a person encountered a unique threat — like a tiger — and the brain needed to make a snap decision. Will I run (flight) or will I fight? While most of us do not encounter tigers on a regular basis, we are constantly exposed to new or novel things. These could be ideas, people, situations, food . . . the list goes on and on.

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Rewind to the time in your life when you were seven, ten, or thirteen (or any other desired childhood age). Who was your best friend at that age? What style clothing did you wear? What did you like to do in your free time? What music do you recall from that age? What was your favorite toy? What book did you enjoy reading? What device could you hardly wait to get because it was the “in” thing to have? What is your worst memory of that time in your life? What is your best memory of being that particular age?

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