Resource Library

The Edge: The View Ahead
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At my camp we have a special ceremony for the campers who will be aging out of the camp program. Many of those campers have been attending Camp Broadstone for the past six years, and the thoughts of not being able to return weigh heavily on them. These are fifteen-year-olds who are in the midst of much transition: being seen more and more as an adult and less as a child, moving through high school into the exploration of the next academic possibilities, and taking the exciting steps that bring them more independence.

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Have you ever received multiple phone calls from a parent who is seeking reassurance that his or her child’s camp experience will go smoothly? Have you noticed parents or children who look worried when arriving for camp? Or, have you overheard parents talking with their children about the things that could go wrong during camp? As a camp staff member, you have most likely observed these behaviors, which can be risk factors for homesickness.

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The Dig and Discovery: Can We Tell the Story?

So, what is new? What is old? What is the same? Maybe everything; maybe nothing. Many times in the past, I have shared the concepts you will find in this article. You, as camp professionals, have argued these points for many more years. We, as a camp community, have been advocating for children, youth, and families for 150 years. Yet, what is our narrative? We all seem to be talking, but what are we really saying?

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A Ditch in Time
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Rainfall and snow melt runoff are sworn enemies of the roads and pathways in camp. Erosion moves your road surface to places you don’t want roads. Spontaneous, unplanned drainage channels cut themselves into your improvements and through areas you’d rather not have them. Snow that melted at noon refreezes at sunset, causing the surface to heave and buckle over and over until it simply falls apart. If you think that fixing this kind of damage is expensive, then you’ll surely agree that fixing it more than once borders on criminal.

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Let me introduce Pat, a thirteen-year-old returning for his second summer at camp. Little distinguished his first year at camp, but this season he has a definite attitude problem. It showed up immediately in the ragged look of his clothes. As introductions were made on opening day and plans began to form for the summer, Pat was distinctly indifferent to all the hype given to the opportunities ahead.

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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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In her book The History of Organized Camping: The First 100 Years, Eleanor Eells wrote, “[Camp] has become an important part of the American scene, rich in its diversity and in its adaptation to changing needs and challenges. Its common bond is the concern for people in their relationship to one another, to the environment, and for their sense of community.” Through her review of camp’s history, Eells provided a blueprint for modern camps — adaptability is essential, innovation is critical, and personal relationships are fundamental.

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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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Soon after we assumed the ownership of Camp Mont Shenandoah in 1996, my husband, Jay, and I were interested in establishing a scholarship program for our campers. We were clueless, however, as to how to go about it; especially since we wanted to fundraise to create an endowment in perpetuity. This, we knew, could pose potential problems as owners of a for-profit business.

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You are reading this article because you are working with adolescents at camp this summer and are probably a little bit worried about doing so. Given the ways in which adolescents are portrayed in the media, I am not surprised that you might be a little bit nervous. Adolescents are almost always portrayed as extreme versions of reality or as clumsy, one-dimensional stereotypes. Are all teens oversexed or prudish, jocks or nerds, burnouts or perfectionists? Of course not, but you wouldn’t guess that from watching TV or going to the movies.

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E.g., 2019-08-23
E.g., 2019-08-23