Resource Library

In 1988, Camp Director Ken O’Kelley developed a leadership program intended to train teenagers in skills utilized at camp, which they could then transition into life skills outside of camp. That first year saw three participants complete a 10-week program. Throughout the years, the program evolved into a highly competitive program called the Advanced Leadership Academy (ALA), with multiple levels of participation.

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We all know that camp is a character-building bonanza for young people, instilling lifelong skills that translate into future careers and perseverance through difficult times — all in a fun outdoor environment. But camp could be even more. John Judge, president and CEO of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), says, “Children and teenagers are also capable of being fantastic outdoor stewards . . ..”

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Moving Forward Together: September 2020
Published Date: 2020-09-01

It has been an extraordinary six months for us all. Throughout the history of American camp experiences, our field has weathered many epidemics and pandemics — including Influenza, Polio, Spanish Flu, Smallpox, Asian Flu, Mumps, H1N1 Swine Flu, and Measles — but COVID-19 has certainly had a catastrophic financial impact on camps. Preliminary estimates are that day and overnight camps lost a combined $16 billion this summer, with 19.5 million youth missing out on camp experiences they would have otherwise enjoyed.

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In March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic was declared a US national emergency, demanding new state regulations throughout the country, an array of CDC and WHO cautions and guidelines, and procedural changes around the most prevalent methods of disease spread and people groups with more propensity to be affected.

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Compromise Can Turn Crisis into Value
Published Date: 2020-09-01

Many camps did not operate this past summer because of COVID-19.

There were serious consequences for all as a result. Children lost the opportunity for summer fun and engagement; parents lost the opportunity for a break — a break so badly needed after months in quarantine and isolation. Camps lost the opportunity to bring in revenue, resulting in catastrophic financial impacts.

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Early Camp Program Planning Amid COVID-19
Published Date: 2020-09-01

The past months have been tumultuous across the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with widespread stay-at-home orders and school closures occurring amid typically intense program planning for summer camps. As a result, this summer looked remarkably different from previous camp seasons. All programs had to make incredibly difficult decisions about how to best serve their campers, families, and staff, with alternatives running the gamut of session adjustments, virtual camp, rescheduling for 2021, blended programs, and more. 

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A Place to Share: What Would They Do?
Published Date: 2020-09-01

I sent my cohort of Minnesota camp directors a photo of camp directors and families from the 1950s, taken during the annual gathering after the summer sessions to share what worked, what didn’t, and collective concerns as they looked forward to the next season and beyond. “What would they do?” I asked. We were discussing our concerns about how (or if) we could run our traditional summer camp program in light of COVID-19.

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In January 2016, I decided to bring my assistant to the ACA National Conference in Atlanta. We both agreed it would be a way for her to gain a deeper understanding of my work with camp professionals. Not only would she help me organize my presentations and handouts, but she would get to see me in action and develop a greater sense of my “audience” and what people were looking for from my work.

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As a school counselor and national educator on bullying prevention, I am privileged to meet with youth development professionals, parents, and young people from across the United States and Canada who generously share their personal experiences related to bullying. I have been brought to tears more times than I can count listening to adults and kids alike talk about their sense of powerlessness in peer situations or their feelings of humiliation at the hands of others.

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More than 20 years ago, Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king,” referring to the future of the internet. That’s never been truer than today in the social media realm. Creating good social content is critical to getting visitors to your website and campers in your cabins. A single, simple image can reach thousands of parents, alumni, and campers with just a click or tap.

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