Resource Library

Why would the University of Denver require that every graduate business student go to camp? What possible good would derive from forcing predominantly urban dwelling professionals to go off in the mountains to work in teams in outdoor activities?

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From Peg - July 2010
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In today's world, relevance and added value are important to everyone. Being essential in a world that often must eliminate discretionary expenses is of paramount importance. And, the ability to articulate worth is equally imperative.

Over the last three years, the American Camp Association® (ACA) has focused on five outcomes for children and youth as they relate to our mission to enrich the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience.

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The camp experience is a part of America's heritage and culture. Today, 10 million children and youth go to camp annually, yet, the American Camp Association (ACA) only directly impacts 5 million of those experiences. By 2020, ACA wants no fewer than 20 million children attending camp annually with the ACA camp community directly impacting the lives of those 20 million children.

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I don't want to play. I hate kickball. — Sophia, age five

Ben doesn't like me. He's always mad at me. — Betrand, age nine

This place stinks. All the activities are stupid. — Asa, age twelve

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It was July 1967, so the story goes, on parents’ weekend in Fairlee, Vermont. A group of camp parents whose children were sleeping soundly at Aloha, Aloha Hive, and Lanakila enjoyed cocktails on the porch of the resort across the lake. As they sipped and visited, a quiet word was passed through the group: The Gulick Family was thinking of closing their camps!

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What About the Children?
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Over the past five decades, I have attended and presented sessions at many conferences, seminars, and educational events offered by the Maine Youth Foundation; ACA, New England; and ACA national. I served for six years on the Editorial Advisory Committee for Camping Magazine. Out of all the issues that are discussed, the question for me has always been: "What about the children?"

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Social cruelty, or bullying, has reached the level of “life and death.” With summer 2012 now here, parents are asking questions about how camp counselors and staff are being trained to keep their children safe. Please note that the parental question is clearly focused on direct caregivers — not on camp administration. Since school teachers have essentially been unsuccessful in preventing bullying nationwide, parents and guardians are not prepared to either waste their money or have their child victimized in a day or residential program.

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Long-range planning and facilities management are important parts of maintaining camp assets and building a better community environment for staff and campers alike. Collaborating with a professional architectural and planning group can help camps learn more about their property, which will aid them in planning for the future and optimizing the use of their facility.

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A Place to Share
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I did not always love camp. I attended lots of summer programs as a child: day, resident, church, and even family camps. Each experience had its highs and its lows, but, all in all, I didn't find any to be particularly wonderful. I complained about the heat, the bugs, the food, the strangers with whom I had to share living spaces, and the activities that were outside what I now know to be my comfort zone. I did not love camp.

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Having spent the better part of the last thirteen years in summer camps and school classrooms, I have observed the benefits of year-round learning, although not necessarily in the form of year-round school. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan put school vacations on notice with talk about "fighting the status quo," and calling summer "an inexplicable, counterproductive anachronism that takes youths out of an educational setting for two to three months every year" (Duncan 3/5/2009).

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