Resource Library

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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Camp professionals just get it! Play is a valuable aspect of childhood and, of course, camp. It’s a given, an easy sell. But that’s just preaching to the choir. Explaining to funders the need to support play at camp as a critical developmental aspect of childhood is different. Some people may say that play is childish. Yes! For camp professionals, it is positive to be child-like. We see the multitude of benefits of being child-like, or in this case, playful.

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Each year, camp staff members spend days — if not weeks — preparing facilities, activity areas, and programs so their campers can enjoy fun, educational, and life-enhancing experiences. Whether operating on a public grassy field or nestled in the woods, one key to successes is knowing about programs and facilities. Every three years, ACA conducts the Sites, Facilities, and Program Survey (SFPS) as a part of the larger, annually conducted business operations surveys. This article focuses on the SFPS completed during the fall of 2010.

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The ACA Camp Crisis Hotline continues to be a valuable service to the camp community during challenging times. The hotline saw an increase in usage of 11 percent from the previous year. The majority of calls still come in during the summer months (June through August) while 13 percent of calls received were during the nonsummer months (September through May). The hotline serves as a sounding board for camp professionals who want to talk with another camp professional about a situation in their camp either before it becomes a crisis or during the event.

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Preventing and Addressing Bullying at Camp
Published Date: 2013-09-01

In her new bestselling book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, Emily Bazelon tackles the subject of bullying — the hows, whys, and prevention strategies of one of today’s most pervasive topics. Bazelon, a senior editor for the online magazine Slate and a contributor to the New York Times Magazine, recently spoke with ACA about camp’s ability to foster empathy and problem-solving skills in children.

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That Hollow Feeling

How do you distract yourself from that hollow feeling that looms in your gut the day after camp ends? Most camp professionals reset camp and brace themselves for the first post-season user group. Others take a vacation. Some participate in fall professional development conferences. And a few wander the property imagining improvements for next season. Whatever group you belong to, an essential postseason task for all camp owners and directors is to provide feedback to your staff.

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From Peg - May 2010
Published Date:

At this time of year, the "Letter from Peg" is directed to camp staff and counselors as you prepare to enter the summer season. This year is no different.

During camp training and orientation, you will receive a great deal of content knowledge. This information will be very important to ensure you have a productive summer. But to be successful, it takes more than content knowledge. This is true of everything in our world today. We all need twenty-first century skills to be successful. John Dewey, a twentieth century educator said, "knowledge is no longer an immobile solid."

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Big Questions

If someone told you that you had a "retrospective, unidirectional bias" and had contracted the "availability heuristic," you might think you need to visit a doctor right away. Actually, you'd be right. But you wouldn't need a medical doctor. You'd need a research psychologist — someone with expertise in statistics and child development. Someone who could explain to you that your bias and heuristic — although unhealthy — were common and easily removed. Once cured, you could see more nuances in your campers' behaviors.

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In tears, a camper shares: “Camp is such a big part of me . . . I grew up here; I found out who I am here; I have spent my childhood here; I figured out my values here; and now I know I can do anything! I am more confident in school now. I really want to take what camp has given me and share it with the world!”

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It’s that time when camp directors ask themselves "where am I going to find enough certified waterfront staff, specifically boating staff?" Standard PA-20, a mandatory standard, states that camps (both resident and day camp) need to provide a staff member who has documented skills and training in water rescue and emergency procedures specific to the location and the activities. In short, staff in these areas need experience in the specific craft AND they need to know water rescue skills and emergency procedures for that specific craft.

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