Resource Library

Leadership Transition: Managing Change
Published Date: 2014-09-01

In the summer of 2013, we faced an exciting and critical challenge at our camp — a major leadership transition. We had the chance to replace our boys' camp director, who had been with us for seven years, with a man named Erec Hillis. Of course, seven years is not a lot compared to the twenty-one my wife Susie and I have been executive directors or the forty-eight years the camp has existed. But seven years is longer than all but a small handful of campers or counselors had even been with us, so the outgoing director was the only one who most of our camp families had ever known.

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Current Challenges in Camp Food Service
Published Date: 2012-09-01

Hesitation gave way to excitement as I unexpectedly grabbed the reigns of food service management, in the dripping, humid heat of a Texas summer camp season. Nine years had passed since I last served in this capacity at camp, but everything was coming back to me — the roar of kids laughing in the dining hall, the buzz of activity as cooks whirled by with fresh-baked yeast rolls, and the mouthwatering scent of fresh-baked chocolate chunk cookies! “Ahhhh,” I thought to myself, “the camp kitchen . . . this will be a breeze. I’ve GOT this!”

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In an increasingly connected world, today’s children experience an ever-decreasing connection to the natural world. As a result of hours of screen time, lengthening school days, and increasing participation in organized out-of-school activities, children are spending less time outside than ever before. Because of this lack of outdoor time, their connection to and understanding of their natural surroundings is startlingly absent.

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From Peg - September 2010
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Every day I feel I am reading another article that pontificates about the importance of education and how we need to create year-round education. Don't misunderstand, education throughout the year is imperative; however, I am not sure I always agree with proposals on how we "get there." And, when we talk about summer learning loss, what have we lost and what have we gained? Or, what did we have an opportunity to gain if we just had the chance to have the experience?

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#CAMPCULTURALEXCHANGE
Published Date: 2017-11-01

It's ironic that I've spent this fall encouraging Americans to advocate for the White House not to drastically reduce or eliminate J-1 visas for camp cultural exchange programs while also keynoting at the 3rd China Camp Education Conference (CCEC) and representing ACA at the 11th International Camping Congress (ICC). Camp cultural exchange has been a key component of American diplomacy and deeply enriching summer camp experiences for decades. The J-1 exchange visitor program was introduced under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961).

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In this day when college students lobby for internships and field experience, the professional values of camp counseling seem to take a back seat. In truth, camp counseling is a position which fosters many professional skills, such as responsibility, patience, and flexibility. It is also a position in which one is responsible for children's lives — what could be more important than that?

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In his book Homesick and Happy, child psychologist Michael Thompson, PhD, describes the dilemma that faces so many of today’s parents. “I have spoken with many parents, who, out of the deepest love for their children, want only to do more — not less — for their children,” says Thompson. “They believe that the more time, energy, attention, and money they can devote to their child, the better” (2012, p. 9).

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The Self-Reliant Camp
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Most camps are located in relatively remote areas. So one might expect they'd be designed for self-reliance. They'd run on locally-sourced energy, water, food, and material, and they'd manage their wastes on-site. But few do. Instead, most depend on distant supply lines that stretch over thousands of miles, which makes some sense if:

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Turn On the Radio
Published Date: 2016-03-01

The end of a summer day. We sit out on the front porch. The heat eases as the sky darkens and stars slowly emerge. The crackle of a radio broadcast punctuates the relative silence of the night, the play-by-play of a baseball game taking place hundreds of miles away. Someone adjusts the positioning of the antenna to pick up a clearer signal. Talk and laughter about the day’s events mingle with the action on a distant field.

United States circa 1950? Absolutely. But also Summer Camp 2015.

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