Resource Library

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Ralphie Parker’s mother, teacher, and even Santa Claus uttered five words of warning in the 1983 classic movie A Christmas Story. All Ralphie wanted for Christmas was “an official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle with a special sight and a compass in the stock with a sundial!” The perfect gun for “pranging ducks . . . and getting off spectacular hip shots” (Shepherd, Clark, & Brown, 1982).

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On Becoming an Innovator at Camp
Published Date: 2019-07-01

As the late behavioral psychologist Carl Jung once wrote, “The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites.” Some of the most memorable moments at camp occur when we are awakened by self-realizations of who we uniquely are and how we might work with others to collectively innovate the world.

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Over the past 20 years, we’ve been asked often to help buyers and sellers of camps in transition. With very few exceptions in the industry, most will only buy and sell one time in their career, so there’s very little opportunity to put lessons learned to good use. And while camp folks are usually glad to talk about their programs and operations (that are running well), people seem a little reluctant to share their hard-earned “camp buying lessons.” Those lessons are kept highly secret, and each buyer (and seller) is left to repeat everyone else’s stumbles.

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Camp Jack Hazard Rises from the Ashes
Published Date: 2019-06-28

The Donnell Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California, began on August 1, 2018, and was much smaller than other fires that burned throughout California in the state’s deadliest fire season on record. When the Donnell Fire began, Executive Director Jason Poisson had just opened Camp Jack Hazard to a group from another camp who had lost access to their facility due to another fire.

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Each year, ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that epitomize the spirit of the award’s namesake through their efforts to provide sterling programming that effectively and innovatively addresses the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We applaud the 2019 recipients. They are all definitive proof of the might of camp programs to equip campers of all abilities and backgrounds with the resiliency and conviction to build better futures for themselves and their communities.

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Dear Summer Camp Counselor
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Let me first say, I am so intensely jealous of you. I think every person who has had the pleasure of working at camp, be it for one year or five, is envious of anyone who gets to be there when they aren't, and for good reason. Summer camp is a magical place. But it's not just the landscape that encourages those who enter camp grounds to be the greatest version of themselves. It's you who makes this place magical.

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When you agreed to work at camp, you immediately made the decision to have fun, challenge yourself, and change lives. While the format to accomplish this will be provided for you by your camp, the implementation will not. This will come from you in the form of dedication and effort. How much commitment you choose to give is important because campers don’t always come to camp knowing how to succeed.

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Begin with the End in Mind
Published Date: 2019-05-01

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey describes Habit 2, “Begin with the End in Mind,” as a valuable approach to just about anything in life. For example, if you want to do a great job on a school project, first decide what the great finished project will look like. Then you can create the action plan for the steps you need to take to reach the project outcome you’ve envisioned.

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Calming Camper Conflicts
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Conflicts between kids at camp can arise for a wide variety of reasons — from being upset by relationships with peers or learning to adjust to new and different situations, to being frustrated with their progress in an activity or simply being tired, hot, or hungry — making campers restless, irritable, and/or inattentive. The list of what might trigger conflicts between campers is exhaustive — and can be exhausting!

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Congratulations! If you are reading this, it means that you have decided to be a camp counselor for at least a part of this summer! Now that you have landed the plum job, allow me to tell you the great news and the less-than-great news about what is in store for you.

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