Resource Library

Anxiety — It Isn't Just a Camper Thing
Published Date: 2020-05-01

While you may be called upon to help one or more campers in the throes of anxiety this summer, chances are they aren't the only ones feeling anxious. Whether it's graduating from one phase of your life to the next, starting a new job, experiencing a new environment, or the worldwide spread of a new virus, this year has held plenty of causes for anxiety. Unchecked, anxiety has a way of taking on a life of its own, which can have serious health and life consequences for sufferers. 

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Sesame: The Fastest Growing Allergy Threat
Published Date: 2020-05-01

Fifteen-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and her father were flying from London to France on a British Airways jet in July of 2016. Natasha was eating a baguette purchased before boarding from the Pret a Manger bakery at London’s Heathrow airport, when she suddenly had difficulty breathing. Her father quickly injected her with two EpiPens, but Natasha succumbed to anaphylaxis, tragically dying in flight. Natasha’s cause of death: sesame seeds. These food allergens were not listed on the baguette packaging ingredient list (Doward, 2018).

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A Place to Grow
Published Date: 2020-05-01

The Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC), a 264-acre camp in northwestern New Jersey, suggests on T-shirts, water bottles, and its website that it is "A Place to Grow." This, despite being a concise summary of what is truly a multidimensional campus devoted to experiential education, didn't resonate with me while I sat in my dorm common room scrolling through what felt like thousands of listings for summer internships. "A Place to Grow" wasn't as important at the time as potential salary, living conditions, better-than-average food, and duration of work. 

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Be a Kind Leader
Published Date: 2020-05-01

I am 16. My peers and I have always relied on kindness and support from one another. Despite the political polarization and toxic narratives that can drive society today, kindness isn't just a buzzword. It isn't limited to kindergarteners on a playground, or even first-year campers. Kindness is a positive-sum way to live in any field of work or study, but especially in the camp world, where it allows individuals to listen to each other's truth, learn from each other's experiences, and lift each other up.

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You may be reading this before you arrive at camp or within the first few days of making your way to your (new) summer home. Regardless, at this moment you are most likely not thinking about a few weeks, months, or even years from now in terms of your camp path. Your focus is probably on getting adjusted and learning as much about your camp role as possible, so you feel equipped to provide the best possible experience for the campers in your care.

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Light shed on any situation makes it look different. It follows that the tone we set, both internally and externally, casts shadows and highlights different points of view. As a new supervisor, the most important “lights” to shine allow us to know self (to understand our reaction to circumstances), to be able to separate self-worth from the work produced (because work will not always go smoothly), and to foster self-development in the workplace (by reaching out to role models while not mimicking them).

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Influencing Green Behavior at Your Camp
Published Date: 2020-05-01

Two summers ago, I led a staff training workshop with 180 camp staff from Blue Star Camps in Hendersonville, North Carolina. They had recently spent around $30,000 to replace their lights with more energy-efficient LED bulbs and fixtures. But while these kinds of upgrades can make a huge impact on reducing energy consumption, camp leaders found that the lights were being left on in unoccupied buildings.

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Mariana and Jessica are exasperated with one another. Mariana thinks the girls they share responsibility for as co-counselors are way too noisy and messy. She is always the one who gets these rambunctious fifth graders to quiet down or finish their cabin cleanup chores. Because she is typically the counselor who speaks up first, the girls have begun to favor Jessica, whom they see as "nicer." Jessica, who went to camp here as a camper, thinks that Mariana is too strict.

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As former camp directors, we've both had experiences where we pushed ourselves to the point where we weren't safe. Imagine this scenario:

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Energy & Enthusiasm: Find Your Sweet Spot
Published Date: 2020-05-01

As you can probably imagine and were most likely told in your interview, working at camp requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm. This is 110 percent true. Camp is, without a doubt, a place where these two attributes can be found at very high levels. You may be wondering just how much of them are needed on an individual or daily basis. Chances are, you will hear on multiple occasions throughout the summer from camp leadership that staff are lacking energy and enthusiasm. But high levels of both are neither realistic nor sustainable (or desirable) all the time.

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