Resource Library

ACA’s 5-Year Impact Study entered its third and final phase in fall 2018. This means that we are well on our way to understanding the lasting impacts of camp and how camp experiences prepare young people for their college, career, and adult lives. By the time you read this, we will have data from current campers and their parents or caregivers, former campers, new staff, and staff who have worked at camp for several years, all of which helps tell a story not only of the benefits of attending camp, but the specific ways camp experiences foster these outcomes. 

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Camp professionals know that camp provides the opportunity to teach life-long skills, such as creative thinking, decision making, and getting along with others. By developing goals for your program and anticipated outcomes for your campers, you can ensure that your camp program will give kids a world of good.

The seven life skills that follow have been identified by the 4-H program as being essential for productive and happy lives. Consider how these life skills might have a place in your camp program.

Creative Thinking

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Team Work: An Open Letter to Camp Staff
Published Date: 2017-05-01

Team,

This letter is addressed to all camp staff / team members whether this summer is your first or your 20th, whether you have primary responsibility for supervising campers, are an activity specialist, or work in the kitchen.

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Ben was the boy in the boat. A gregarious go-getter whose journey through camp — and to adulthood — was inextricably linked to sailboats on the water. The lessons he learned at camp originated from, or were reinforced by, the challenges he faced as a skipper, navigating uncertain and constantly shifting conditions having to do with wind, tide, crew, and competition. Lessons about self-reliance, self-confidence, exploration, respect, and responsibility — all important metrics of a successful summer camp experience and harbingers of what follows.

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Wise Use of Time Off
Published Date: 2013-05-01

Last Night

Phil Bader did everything wrong on his last night off except give his keys to a sober colleague. He’d left camp ten minutes early, bought alcohol with a fake ID, indulged in binge drinking, stumbled back into his cabin thirty minutes late, and urinated in a child’s footlocker before collapsing in his own bed.

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Several years ago, when I directed my camp program specifically for African- American teen girls (Camp Butterfly), there were many memorable moments. But one in particular has been etched in the recesses of my mind since the day it occurred. The event happened during one of our summer sessions; it involved a young 13-year-old girl named “Lea.”

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Introduction

Nationally, 4‑H camp programs often utilize the leadership and energy of teenage camp counselors (ages fourteen to eighteen) to plan and conduct local and area 4‑H camp programs. Since the value of camp to campers has been well documented in Missouri and elsewhere (University of Missouri, 2007), one must ask the next logical question: What value does serving as a 4‑H camp counselor hold for teens?

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The results of the 2017 Fall Camper Enrollment and Staff Recruitment Survey show that, in general, the camp industry had a great year. Growth in enrollment in camp programs remained steady in comparison to 2016, with a total of 77 percent of camp directors describing enrollment for summer 2017 as about the same or higher than last year (results from 2016 showed 78 percent of respondents with this response).

Type of Program - Percent of Camps

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Each generation tends to look at the next generation and claim things aren’t as they used to be. There was a time in the 1970s and 80s when summer job opportunities for teens were so limited that many camps could rely on their former campers wanting to work as counselors all throughout their college years — and being willing to work for less money than new hires. There was a time also when the need for counselors to be gifted with counseling and communication skills was less important than their knowing the ins and outs of the rituals and routines of camp.

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From Tish
Published Date: 2014-01-01

It’s an exciting time for the American Camp Association (ACA) as we continue to grow and adapt, remaining always relevant, open to new ideas, and responsive. Our organization is no different than other legacy organizations that are confronting a time of many changes during a time of larger nationwide and global change. As we work toward our preferred future, it is important that we have opportunities to connect and learn with one another.

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