Resource Library

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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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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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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At the ACA National Conference in Atlanta in 2016, 4-H camp directors from across the country spent a day exploring relevant topics. Nationally, 4-H is one branch of the Extension Services, which includes Master Gardeners and other program areas that rely on volunteers. One common and highly charged topic was how to handle volunteer camp staff  who act like they are tenured for life. While almost every camp relies on experienced volunteers, sometimes they need to be reminded that Camp 2017 is not the same as when they were in fourth grade.

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Growing Camp
Published Date: 2015-11-01

Camp director Erec Hillis encourages camp professionals to broadly communicate the fact that “camp creates advantage for kids.” He asserts that this “is a winning argument that camp directors must learn to make . . . . It will help directors fill their own individual camps and benefit the industry as a whole” (Hillis, 2015). I agree that this “life-time advantage” argument is persuasive and encourage camp owners and directors to use it. However, the argument has limitations. It can only be addressed to those who are already in the conversation.

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As a camp director, I am always on the lookout for articles, speakers, and individuals that can help me focus my efforts in the right place. I recently attended an orientation and multiple people kept referencing the “Five Cs” needed for success in the 21st century, developed by Pat Bassett, president of the National Association of Independent Schools. The Five Cs are: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, character — and the bonus “Sixth C,” cosmopolitanism (or cross-cultural competency).

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A Place to Share
Published Date:

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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Fires are a potential hazard for camps located in wooded areas and urban areas alike. How camps respond and communicate to camp families and the community when a fire does occur can go a long way to alleviating any safety fears or panic, especially if a fire occurs while camp is in session.

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Camper Wellness: A Different Perspective
Published Date: 2007-05-01

Meet Ben. He was a regular kid who did OK in school, had his fair share of friends— some more friendly than others— came from a single-parent home, didn’t have money to burn but certainly had all the basics in place, did his chores with coaxing, and enjoyed doing the things regular kids did: a little baseball, hanging out with friends, and pizza once in a while.

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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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