Resource Library

The Fad: When to Get on Board
Published Date: 2014-03-01

Every year, dozens of new ideas and activities become popular among youth. Sometimes a television show makes it big and starts a fad (remember the years of Fear Factor and Minute to Win It?); other times a specific activity makes the popular list. (Like when paintball was all the rage ten years ago.) There are even instances of entire fad cultures (the hipster culture). Fads exist for small children (i.e. Minecraft), teens (i.e. One Direction), and even adults (think about the popularity of household blogs among women).

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After the last marshmallow has roasted, the last sunset has sunk, and the last tear has dried, the aftermath of a summer at camp often reveals itself in, well, less than expected ways. Sure, there’s the “afterglow” of positive memories: friends, achievements, and awards. But there may be something else — a pervasive sense of loss that may surprise even the most empathic campers and mystify their unsuspecting parents, who don’t always understand the degree of difficulty in transitioning back to life at home. No more sand in the sheets, spiders in the sink, or showers to share . . .

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Each year, ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that epitomize the spirit of the award’s namesake through their efforts to provide sterling programming that effectively and innovatively addresses the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We applaud the 2019 recipients. They are all definitive proof of the might of camp programs to equip campers of all abilities and backgrounds with the resiliency and conviction to build better futures for themselves and their communities.

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As seasoned camp professionals can attest, some nurses are cut out for camp nursing and some definitely are not, but most candidates for the job fall someplace between the two extremes. The interview process can be used to discover a candidate's placement on the continuum. This article discusses interview strategies that disclose strong candidates, weed out those who aren't a good fit, and identify the "diamonds in the rough" — those who, with a bit of coaching, would do fine.

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Seven Emerging Issues Today's Camps Face
Published Date: 2017-09-01

Results of the 2017 Emerging Issues Survey are in and suggest that camps face a variety of challenges, such as staff and camper health, staff training, parent communication, diversity, revenue generation, marketing, and evaluation. Compared to previous years, these current issues are consistent with past trends. One interesting difference from previous years involves staff training; many camps have indicated a need for LGBT resources where before it was not a main priority for training.

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Working With Children With Special Needs
Published Date: 2003-05-01

It is often said by people who mean well that working with children with special needs “requires the patience of a saint.” Not true. What it does require is human compassion — something more of us have than we seem ready to acknowledge.

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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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Outdoor education is not a very large industry, but certainly an important one. There is great diversity in how outdoor educators approach their missions, but we have much in common. We do not pursue our mission alone in this world, though it is a grand one: building connections between people and the outdoors. In essence, outdoor education is any education about the outdoors occurring primarily outdoors. While this definition is often used academically, it is not very practical.

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Running a camp is challenging. Running a camp in the United States, where violent events occupy the 24-hour news cycle, is even more difficult. There are so many risks and expectations to manage.

The emotional, physical, and financial impacts of violent events, such as the recent attacks in Parkland, Santa Fe, and the YouTube Headquarters, make the exposure top of mind for camp owners, directors, staff, and parents.

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Consider these scenarios:

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E.g., 2020-02-27