Resource Library

Camp Legends: For Love of Camp and Country
Published Date: 2018-09-01

A Personal Perspective by Jay Jacobs

My world is like a collision of two parallel universes — my camp world and my political world. It’s like people see me as Superman and Clark Kent at the same time. Superman — not because I’m in any way “super,” but because in my camp life I run around daily doing ridiculous things always dressed in the exact same outfit. And Clark Kent, because in my political life I walk around like the stiff that most people think I am. But I thought now would be a good opportunity to debunk that image with a story about what I really do at camp.

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Positive Discipline
Published Date: 2018-09-01

Camp has changed significantly since my first year as a counselor in 1989. Advancements include: online registration, drones shooting video footage, cool water trampolines and climbing devices, overnight camps with shorter sessions, and day camp programs growing in numbers every summer. But some of the biggest advancements across the industry are not as obvious. Focusing on child development has become the priority for camps that want to have a long-term positive impact on children’s lives.

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Camp Includes Me Series

This feature article is part of an ongoing series of articles in Camping Magazine that will focus on inclusion, diversity, and cross-cultural agility to share in our individual communities and out in the world.

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Preparing for Happiness in Career and Life
Published Date: 2018-09-01

Some of the best times of my life have been my carefree summers swimming, exploring, sharing, and making friends as a child at camp. But many of my life’s greatest lessons were learned over six summers working on camp staff. As a newly minted staff member recently graduated from high school, I strived to become part of the model community I found in our camp’s staff culture. Selflessness, servant leadership, and teamwork were encouraged and celebrated. I learned the more you gave of yourself to camp, the more you received in return.

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Natalie, the camp baker, was spontaneously thrust into finishing the meat entrée after Shayla announced that she had a family emergency and ran out the door, leaving the pork loin in the oven. Natalie was ServSafe certified two years ago but suddenly drew a blank trying to remember the cooked temperature requirement for pork loin. The food service manager was away on vacation, as summer camp had ended two weeks ago. In your kitchen, would Natalie have written standard operating procedures (SOPs) where she could find the information needed for the safety of your campers or guests?

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Embracing and Empowering Gen Z
Published Date: 2018-09-01

David Bryfman, PhD

As summer comes to an end, we bid farewell to our campers and counselors for another year. Without hesitation we tell them that we can’t wait to see them next summer. It is tragic to contemplate that some of our campers will not return next year because of senseless gun violence that permeates our country’s schools — and yet that is what many American youth claim is what scares them most in this world (Graf, 2018).

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Trends in camp business operations are altogether interesting and not interesting. Interesting because the business of camp is dynamic and evolving quickly to meet the demands of the 21st century, and not interesting because, by and large, the business of camp boils down to one thing: it depends. The 2018 Camp Business Operations Report included both interesting and not-all-that-interesting findings, mostly due to the fact that camps today are increasingly diverse, representing a wider range than ever before in size and financial scope.

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Many of us who grew up going to summer camp feel like it was the place we could most be ourselves. If we had the option, we would make it our second (or first) home.

You probably have a story about your favorite counselor who you looked up to, who helped you imagine the personality traits you wanted to have when you grew up and opened your mind to new experiences.

It makes sense that many campers continue on to become staff members, because they want to do what their most memorable role models did.

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As camp professionals we've got a lock on how to plan for, organize, and deliver high-quality summer learning programs for children and young adults. Amidst the rush of preparing our staff to be effective counselors of youth, establish meaningful mentoring relationships, and model such important constructs as sensitivity, positive risk-taking, conflict resolution, and leadership, we may unwittingly lose sight of the fact that one of the most seminal achievements of our work is creating communities — year after year.

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Running a camp is challenging. Running a camp in the United States, where violent events occupy the 24-hour news cycle, is even more difficult. There are so many risks and expectations to manage.

The emotional, physical, and financial impacts of violent events, such as the recent attacks in Parkland, Santa Fe, and the YouTube Headquarters, make the exposure top of mind for camp owners, directors, staff, and parents.

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