Resource Library

You might be surprised to discover that even in today’s frenzy of corresponding through text messages, e-mails, tweets, and other social media avenues, letter writing is still being used as a way for camps to communicate with parents. Many camps post a daily blog and upload photos for parents to view online so that they have a window into their child’s camp experience; however, these efforts represent only a small piece of the big picture.

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It was 1995. TLC, Alanis Morissette, and Boyz II Men were riding high in the music charts. Apollo 13 and the original Toy Story were in the movie theaters. Michael Jordan made his return to the NBA. Bill Clinton was in the White House. And I was moving up, going from seasonal staff to full time at a camp.

With this new role came new responsibilities — as a supervisor, as a communicator, and as an educator. I no longer had the luxury of having the backup of a camp leadership team. I was now part of that camp leadership team.

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My oldest child, Jane, once said she wished camp could be all year. Naturally, I asked her why, and she said, “We get to do everything at camp — when we hike in the woods, the camp staff tells stories about the plants and trees. It makes it easier to remember them. My camp friends care about me. They want me to make it to the top of the climbing tower. I’m not afraid to do things at camp that I am at school. Camp is happy. I love my camp friends. Grades, clothes, and money do not matter at camp. We see each other for who we really are.”

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Nate's elbow pokes violently into Kellen's ribs. He then fakes a pass, pivots, and again throws his body into Kellen, hoping the staff referees won't notice. But they do, just as Kellen winces and pushes Nate back roughly, in what looks like a chest pass without a ball. "What's up with that?!" Kellen shouts. "You wanna go?!" taunts Nate. "Let's go! Bring it!" A whistle blows and the two refs are between the boys now, separating the tangle of arms and fists.

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Girls and Leadership
Published Date: 2013-11-01

Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl and co-founder of Girls Leadership Institute, recently wrote an opinion piece for CNN.com about the reluctance many girls feel toward leadership roles. She argues that in order to take advantage of the access they now have to such positions, girls need to feel authorized.

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Why Day Camp Matters
Published Date: 2011-11-01

When looking for summer activities for their children, parents today are faced with an incredible wealth of options. Many of these options describe themselves as “camp”: sports camps, arts camps, school camps (which always strikes one as somewhat oxymoronic), and, of course, the ubiquitous “day camps.” Each of these offers benefits to the family, but certain programs stand apart.

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Research is more than surveys, interviews, and statistics — it can be a valuable tool to use when designing camp programs, training staff, or in your marketing efforts. But it's also a critical tool for understanding how camp fits into the lives of today's youth. Research suggests that growing up in 2018 can be confusing, difficult, and complex, which means that kids need places where they can experience a different way of being. Summer camps might be the place. Here are findings of three research studies that you can use to make sure your camp is a place apart.

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Think, for a minute, about the adults to whom you were most strongly attached as a child. Can you see their faces and remember how they treated you? Perhaps you see parents, teachers, coaches, clergy, or youth leaders, such as camp staff members. Resilient adults can all think of at least one warm, reliable person who served as a defining caregiver and mentor. Their warmth and reliability are what created that resilience, that ability to bounce back from adversity. They brought us joy and boosted our confidence.

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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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