Resource Library

As children and staff members are eager to return to camp to see familiar faces and places each summer, we often hear people comment about going back to their "summer home." Our camp homes are places where friendships are made, bonds are strengthened, skills are learned, and memories are created. Some of our summer homes have lakes, mountain views, and miles of trails, while others are set in the suburbs and some even right in the middle of cities.

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Anxiety is climbing steadily in the United States. It’s been tracked for years in adults, but researchers also report similar increases in children and teens. To give you an idea of how anxiety has climbed, consider this: A typical school-age child today (your camper) is as anxious as a child psychiatric patient during the 1950s (Twenge, 2000). Yes, it’s increased that much. And camps are seeing the fallout. Separating from parents seems more difficult. Campers seem more resistant to taking healthy risks and trying new things. There are phobias, eating issues, and sleep issues.

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Most drownings are preventable. However, the cold-hard reality is that 19 percent of drowning deaths in the US involving children occur in swimming pools with certified lifeguards present — including in camps and camp-like programs (USA Management, 2018). Further, many drownings that occur at guarded facilities go unrecognized by the lifeguards, and the incidents are brought to their attention by facility patrons. The bottom line is that drowning can happen anywhere there is water.

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ACA’s 5-Year Impact Study Series
This article is the second in a five-article series discussing significant outcomes of Phase 2 of ACA’s 5-Year Impact Study.

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Camp Staffing: We Can Avoid a Crisis!
Published Date: 2019-02-26

Over the past few years, directors all over the country have reported struggling with the fact that good staff are harder to find. They also indicate that it is much more difficult to convince quality applicants to accept summer camp jobs and stay for the entire summer. In the late spring of 2018, with minimum wage issues, the shortage of male candidates, low unemployment rates, and the increased number of internships, we heard more urgency. In some circles, the staffing situation was being labeled as a “threat to our industry.”

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"I Just Want My Kid to Be Happy!"
Published Date: 2019-01-01

Dear Bob,

We had a 14-year-old returning male camper last year in our two-week resident camp who is generally a great kid but who presented with some behavior last summer that caused us to send him home. His parents were extremely upset given that they have had two other children in our camp for many years. They felt that we “owed them” more, that kids make mistakes and we should have figured out a way to let him stay. Another reason for their displeasure was that the boy was in his last year as a regular camper and would have been eligible for our LIT program next year.

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With five generations actively involved in camp, it seems like the communication gap is widening. According to family physician Deborah Gilboa, MD, "The range of what is considered normal is wider now. That's going to mean some people fall behind and feel less comfortable." While having so many generations together can present some significant communication challenges within camp — as well as in communicating out from the camp community — Gilboa says it also represents a far richer experience for campers (and staff).

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#yourcamptoo?
Published Date: 2019-01-01

Sexual abuse. Sexual misconduct. Child pornography. Your camp's nightmare.

These events represent the majority of crises we respond to on behalf of summer camps, schools, and youth-centric organizations.

The onset of the event is usually the same. A victim comes forward, rarely right away, but sometimes. They allege a staff member caused harm. Camp leadership expresses surprise and shock. "We did a background check. It was clean." "We trained our staff on boundaries." "They know they are not allowed to be alone with a camper."

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What happened throughout one’s generational history influences current views and perspectives, and camp directors carry those perceptions with them in their thoughts and actions — including those that affect their expectations about the recruitment of staff. Thus, it can be helpful to understand where we’ve been and what today looks like to better understand the future needs of staff recruitment.

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Enhancing Staff Return on Investment
Published Date: 2019-01-01

Jenae pensively evaluated whether to continue as the camp food service manager. "There are so many things I like — even love — about my job. It gives me a mix of menu planning, cooking, and guest relations. However, I just don't feel valued. I see other management staff go to national or regional conferences, and sometimes attend meetings at a local restaurant. Yet our director tells me it's not in the budget for me or my kitchen staff to participate in a national camp or food service conference or invite a chef to give a demonstration/ cooking lesson in our kitchen. And my last pay raise?

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