Resource Library

Having spent the better part of the last thirteen years in summer camps and school classrooms, I have observed the benefits of year-round learning, although not necessarily in the form of year-round school. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan put school vacations on notice with talk about "fighting the status quo," and calling summer "an inexplicable, counterproductive anachronism that takes youths out of an educational setting for two to three months every year" (Duncan 3/5/2009).

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As the busyness of summer gives way to a more laidback autumn, many camp professionals find themselves considering changes and adaptations to make the next camp season even better. Part of that consideration is an assessment of your camp's health services.

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The camp experience is a part of America's heritage and culture. Today, 10 million children and youth go to camp annually, yet, the American Camp Association (ACA) only directly impacts 5 million of those experiences. By 2020, ACA wants no fewer than 20 million children attending camp annually with the ACA camp community directly impacting the lives of those 20 million children.

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Even in today’s globalized world, many camps and youth-serving organizations still value local connections. While embracing technology to keep in touch with camp alumni or reach a broader audience, the leg work of many youth-serving organizations still gets done the “old fashioned” way — on a person-to-person, mentor-to-child basis.

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"Emily" is a six-year-old camper in the "Jellyfish" group at an East Coast day camp. She is a new camper this year, coming into a group where about 70 percent of the campers are returning. She comes from an upwardly mobile, well-off family who values education and personal achievement. As a consequence, during the school year, Emily is heavily "programmed." As highly successful professionals, both of her parents have demanding work schedules.

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I am standing in the middle of the woodshop of a sailing camp for boys on Cape Cod examining the hunk of wood that is on its way to becoming a fully functional model sailboat when I hear the ruckus outside. I hand the hull over to the boy who owns it and quickly step onto the shop porch just in time to see Jake, one of my ten-year-old campers, with his back to me about to chuck a rock at some kid only a few feet away. "Jake!" I shout at the top of my lungs. Jake, startled by my exclamation, whips around and throws the rock at me.

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“I have a new idea for a program!” This is a statement my wife hears from me on a regular basis. We have owned our own private day camp, Triple C Camp, since 1999. We serve children and youth in Charlottesville, Virginia, and surrounding areas. After the process of searching for a camp (we toured over 100 camps), finding “the one,” agreeing to a purchase price with the sellers, getting bank financing, moving our family, and closing on the property/business, we thought we were home free.

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Since the first days of organized camp for children over 150 years ago, camp administrators have been challenged to respond to emerging issues that impact the camp experience. Although the value of camp has changed little over the years, the ways that camps are organized and administered has continued to evolve, often in response to these issues.

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Camp is a special environment that can benefit children and adults of all backgrounds and abilities, including children with disabilities or special needs; gay, lesbian, or bisexual youth or families; at-risk youth; or minorities. By working to create an accepting and tolerant camp environment, campers from all walks of life can learn to better appreciate the differences and similarities they bring to camp.

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What do teens think about things that affect their health and well-being? What role does camp play? To find out, members of the American Camping Association New England Section, in conjunction with the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System and the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth College designed and conducted a project called "Conversations with Campers." Inspired by the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, the project asked youth attending New England camps in the summer of 1998 to participate in a series of focus groups.

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E.g., 2020-12-03