Resource Library

Universal precautions refers to infection control measures that all health care workers and child care providers follow with the goal of protecting themselves and the children in their care from disease-producing microorganisms. The concept requires workers to treat all blood and various other bodily fluids as if infected with HIV, hepatitis B virus, and other bloodborne pathogens.

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Dear camp staff,

Welcome to the world of camp! Each of us — no matter what our specific job might be — is in a position that will influence the health and wellbeing of campers. Sometimes this will be straightforward — like the responsibility of lifeguards at the pool or food service staff to provide meals free from contamination. But other influences are subtle; indeed, often so subtle that it’s easy to lose sight of how broad and deep your influence as a camp staff member might be.

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Social skills and self-efficacy are fundamental processes and necessary for individuals in everyday life. Seeking employment, living independently, making friends, and trying new activities
all require social skills and self-efficacy. Empirical studies have found that outdoor residential camps improve these areas of development in children and youth because of the social encounters, new activities, independence, and leadership opportunities provided by enthusiastic and supportive staff (Thurber, Scanlin, Scheuler, and Henderson 2007).

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Imagine finding a jar full of old coins buried in the yard, and tossing them out because Italy (Rome) doesn't issue denarii anymore! I bet that you didn't know that you, too, have a treasure. It's probably closer than you think, and you won't have to use a shovel. Remember that avalanche of rolled-up drawings that attacks from the back of the storage closet? There's your irreplaceable treasure, chock full of knowledge and information. If they're not where they can work for you, you just don't know what a treasure they are.

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I just got off the phone with the very thoughtful and reflective Jamie Cole, one of the owner/directors of Camp Robin Hood in Freedom, New Hampshire. She wanted to know my thoughts about a new policy the camp has been considering for this summer regarding the use of electronics at camp. I say the “thoughtful and reflective” Jamie Cole because she is balanced in her thinking about the issue of electronics at camp.

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The Self-Reliant Camp
Published Date:

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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"My sometime is now," the tune continues. In 1964, crooner Dean Martin knocked the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night" from their number one pop chart perch with that bit of wisdom. Almost fifty years later, it still rings true. In workshops and articles, I've said that relationships with consultants are marriages of convenience. The successful ones have many of the same phases and facets, including courting, sharing of private information, and cooperation.

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This may seem like an unusual subject for an article on camp counseling, but as you read on, I think you'll find it actually is a most relevant topic. Consider this: Anyone can perform well when things are going his or her way and circumstances make it easy. It is a rare person, though, who can continue to perform at his or her best, even when things aren't going their way.

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As camp operators, we are keenly aware that when kids go to camp, they make positive gains in self-reliance, independence, communication, and self-esteem. Unplugged from the constant electronic buzz, children find themselves at camp — making genuine connections with other children, rediscovering the fun in physical fitness, learning their own strengths, and finding their own voices.

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It was July 2, 1964, and President Lyndon Johnson had just signed the Civil Rights Act. For us, the time had come to finally implement a plan to desegregate our white suburban day camp. We had been discussing how and when for many years, and the signing of the Civil Rights Act was the final impetus we needed to make it happen. At that time we were in our thirties and were social activists who had participated in civil rights activities since undergraduate school. Also, at that time, our eight-week, coed day camp of about 244 children was ten years old.

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