Resource Library

It was seven years ago when I attended my first ACA National Conference in sunny Orlando. Seven years ago when I showed up not even knowing what region/section I belonged to. Seven years since I was the wide-eyed "newbie" who didn't know a soul. Well, I've come a long way since then, and I can say without any doubt that my first conference experience is why I am so involved in ACA today.

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Roughly thirty years ago, I packed in an urban-based career and founded a summer camp in central Ontario just north of the city of Toronto. Still, I continue to seek a fuller understanding of camp phenomena through an ongoing commitment to academic research. I was an itinerant camper and attended a variety of camps in both Canada and the U.S. In those days, summer vacation meant summer camp, and every July and August for ten consecutive years, that’s where I was. I might be riding in the Rockies or snorkeling in Lake Champlain.

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No Superheroes Need Apply

Does criminal behavior increase during difficult economic times? Some superheroes might say yes and some experts and researchers would agree.

What implications does this have for camps, both for-profit and nonprofit, and small businesses in general? Does this mean camp directors should be more vigilant during bad economic times? Is it time to post a job opening online for a superhero? No, wait! Look up in the sky! Here comes "Risk Management" to save the day!

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The Invisible Link
Published Date:

Summer camp was initially established as a “back to nature” retreat for the children of wealthy New Englanders. It was a respite from the degradation of urban life. Over the years, with the help of myriad religious, educational, and social professionals, summer camps evolved into the blueprint for modern childhood. It became an evolving articulation of what our society deemed most beneficial for the growth and well-being of our children; a place where the values of self-reliance, respect, personal responsibility, fun, and camaraderie are instilled.

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A return to camp reminds our writer how it feels to be home.

A school teacher in Pinckney, Michigan, Jeff Miner had been a camp counselor or program director for just about every summer for the past fourteen years. But this summer was his last. He had plans on actually taking summers off, playing golf, and eating steak on his back patio. He was going into summer camp retirement.

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Joe EhrmannJoe Ehrmann is an accomplished man, but not just because he was an All-American football player at Syracuse University and the tenth overall draft pick in the 1973 NFL Draft — or because of his impressive professional football career. Ehrmann has committed his life to building an extraordinary resume in the areas of youth and human development and community service.

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Beneath Amy Chua’s personal struggle in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother lies a deeper ambivalence about learning: What on earth should we do with our children outside of school, during unstructured free time? Chua is at times conflicted but wryly proud of her intense, authoritarian solution, a luxury reserved for high-achieving, high-functioning parents. At the end of this best-seller, I felt rattled by Chua’s belief that education happens only in connection to school or homemade settings that are rigorously academic.

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Camp can offer a child more than mere fun. Camp is also the ideal environment to help campers develop their problem-solving skills.

Children learn problem solving through trial-and-error and modeling (watching how adults solve problems). Camp, with its community living focus, presents a constant source of potential conflicts and, thus, incidents in which to practice problem-solving skills. Camp also offers endless observation of how others (especially counselors) solve daily problems.

Successful Problem Solving

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Conquering Burnout
Published Date:

Burnout can creep in at any time during the summer. If it does, know you are not alone. To conquer it, try to get away from the camp property on your days off; change your schedule if possible or alter when you do certain activities; and remind yourself that you will make it through this.

Signs of Burnout

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