Resource Library

I was at the end of a full day of training 300 group leaders (GLs) at the San Diego YMCA in early May 2018. I ended with a story that I hoped would portray a deeper sense of friendship that campers can develop in the emotionally safe, tech-free space of a typical camp. I was also trying to give those eager GLs a glimpse of the kind of impact they could have on some of the over 10,000 campers who would be coming through the San Diego County Y day and resident camp programs in the next several months.

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2016), 8.5 percent of school-aged children are receiving specialized education services, not including those students with specific learning disabilities. Yet, in 2012, campers with disabilities represented only 3 percent of campers attending Jewish overnight camps (Laszlo Strategies, 2013). This implies that a large number of children are not benefiting from the life-enriching and joyful experience of overnight camp.

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Richard, a camper in the 1950s, recently returned to Camp Manito-wish YMCA where he spent five summers as a youth. The camp recently commemorated its 100th summer with a celebration for the ages, and while he enjoyed his nostalgic walk through camp immensely, Richard said the Paul Bunyan Breakfast resonated with him the most.

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Building Community through Camp
Published Date: 2018-09-01

For children and families who feel isolated or misunderstood, camp can offer the connectivity and support needed to finally feel like part of a community.

It takes a village.

No man is an island.

Better together.

There is no shortage of sentiments about the power of community — and there is no place where that is more evident than at camp. Around the world, camps are creating communities of support for children and young adults who feel sidelined or isolated because of a personal condition, challenge, or circumstance.

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An Interview with Nancy Cheever, PhD

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The Making of a Lifelong Camper
Published Date: 2018-07-02

I started going to camp when I was six, or more accurately, I was sent to camp at six years old. I was dropped off on the shores of Lake George for two weeks without any prep, and let’s just say it was not the most enjoyable transition. What I didn’t know as a small child was that my mom sent me to camp to keep me out of the house during a divorce proceeding at home. Camp was meant to protect me.

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In 2005, the American Camp Association (ACA) published the first large-scale national research project assessing the youth development outcomes of children who attend day and resident camps in the summer. Children between the ages of eight and 14 from 80 ACA-accredited day and resident camps participated in the study. Results indicated the camp experience was a positive influence on youth development in four domains: positive identity, physical and thinking skills, social skills, and positive values and spirituality.

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Each year, ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that embody the award’s namesake by developing superior programming that effectively and creatively addresses the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We commend the 2018 winners. They are all definitive proof of the might of camp programs to equip campers of all abilities with the resiliency and belief to build better futures for themselves and their communities.

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Safe Haven for Learning
Published Date: 2018-07-01

A decade ago, an awkward, uncertain bus ride took me somewhere I never expected to go. My physical destination was camp, where a throng of excited kids would gather for outdoor adventure and adolescent experiences. But what I hadn’t anticipated was the other ride I was about to take — the journey.

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