Resource Library

Social skills and self-efficacy are fundamental processes and necessary for individuals in everyday life. Seeking employment, living independently, making friends, and trying new activities
all require social skills and self-efficacy. Empirical studies have found that outdoor residential camps improve these areas of development in children and youth because of the social encounters, new activities, independence, and leadership opportunities provided by enthusiastic and supportive staff (Thurber, Scanlin, Scheuler, and Henderson 2007).

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As a camp professional, I, like you, have literally thousands of affirming anecdotal stories — the camp experience is not discretionary. And, if anyone needs more evidence, ACA's outcomes research confirms what each of us already knows. Our CEO, Peg Smith*, has been telling the world that opportunities for growth and development exist in natural settings that promote experiential learning, improve social skills and physical fitness, teach children to take calculated risks in a safe environment, and expand the creative mind.

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How do we increase the exposure of ACA-accredited camps to parents AND simultaneously educate parents on the value of being accredited?

ACA’s new approach to Find a Camp is the solution to this question. By allowing all camps to be listed on ACA’s Find a Camp — not just ACA-accredited camps — we open the door to more parents than ever and engage them in a conversation about the importance of accreditation.

Here are the stats:

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What are the implications for your camp?

HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law, passed by Congress in 1996, helps to protect individuals’ rights to health coverage during events such as changing or losing jobs, pregnancy, moving, or divorce. It also provides rights and protections for employers when getting and renewing health coverage for their employees. HIPAA is NOT an insurance policy.

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation
Published Date: 2013-11-01

If you were looking for me in the middle of August, you wouldn’t have had a banana’s chance at a gorilla convention of finding me. I was incommunicado, far beyond any cell phone reception or Internet connection, without a television or even a radio, and no sign of a newspaper anywhere in sight. But I wasn’t being held captive by a roving UFO of extraterrestrials, or running a top-secret mission with Seal Team Six, or a woeful contestant on an episode of this season’s Survivor.

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What will this industry look like in twenty years? That depends on us. That's right; don't look over your shoulder to see who else is going to step up. As leaders of youth, we know that we shape the future. But how much thought have you put into how you will shape the future of your organization and our industry?

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As a camp counselor, your job is among the most important responsibilities anywhere - parents have entrusted their children to you. You have the charge of not only making sure they are safe, but of nurturing their development.

Nurturing campers' development includes having clear ideas of the kinds of behaviors you want to encourage. Some positive behaviors that can be taught at camp are:

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Camp "Whatever" Letter
Published Date: 2012-03-01

Camp Hancock’s director Bill Young and I conceived the “Camp Whatever Letter,” originally written more than a decade ago, as a response to our observations and frustrations about the changing culture of parents and children. Many (not all) young people of all ages had an agenda that included drugs, sex, alcohol, and a fascination with violence. In addition, consulting parents many times about their child’s troubling behavior at camp proved unsuccessful. “That’s the way they are today” was a response heard one too many times.

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When Meetings Take Over
Published Date: 2014-11-01

Before returning to the camp profession, I spent a couple of years working in higher education as part of the ministry staff at a small liberal arts Christian college. Our department's job was to encourage faith development in students. Mine, in particular, was to encourage service and volunteerism. We planned events, themes, discussions, and a variety of other involvement opportunities for our 1,200 college students. To coordinate everything we were doing, from chapel to mission trips, service days to spiritual retreats, we had seemingly endless meetings.

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