Resource Library

Rain doesn't have to be an unwelcome guest at your camp. It can be an inspiration for camp activities. Rainy days offer an opportunity to teach campers more about weather and for them to see firsthand how rain affects plants, animals, and the environment.

Though you may be undaunted, you should not be oblivious to the weather conditions. Staff training should include sessions on recognizing storm conditions, reviewing emergency plans, and planning all-camp program alternatives. Remember never to go outdoors during a severe thunderstorm or when there is lightning.

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Six Habits I Wish Every Counselor Had
Published Date: 2017-05-01

Many years ago I traveled from my hometown of Boston to four different cities in the United States — Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York — and conducted a series of focus groups with campers who lived near those cities. One of the questions I asked campers involved having them think about their favorite counselors. I had campers tell me what their favorite counselors did and said that put them at the top of their list. The answers were surprisingly uniform no matter where the campers came from.

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In 2008, over 20 camp researchers gathered for the American Camp Association (ACA) Research Collaborations Summit where they identified areas of future research, which included this question: How do camps contribute to the development of caring and competent citizens, their communities, and the environment? This question aligns with research from other fields that raises the concern that Americans are less connected to society and each other than in the recent past (Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, & Tipton, 2008; Putnum, 2000).

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As head of school at Fort Worth’s K–12 Trinity Valley School, Gary Krahn, PhD, is a true believer in outdoor experiences for children and youth. Krahn served in the military for more than twenty-nine years (retiring in the grade of brigadier general), teaching math and pursuing multiple degrees, including a PhD in applied mathematics, along the way.

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By now you have probably figured out that you have very limited cell service at your camp and/or that you will be asked to turn off your phone while working with campers. In the technological world we now live in, it is hard to imagine life (even for a few hours) without it. I recently went shopping online for a new phone and was blown away by the number of "apps" at our fingertips (over 200,000 for the iPhone alone!). As they say, there are apps for "appsolutely" everything! There are apps for the cook, the music lover, the traveler . . . you name it, and it is out there.

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It’s Brain Science!

Psychologists have now learned that the brain is more like a muscle — it changes and gets stronger when you use it. If we take a peek inside the outside layer of the brain — called the cortex — we find billions of tiny nerve cells, called neurons. These nerve cells have branches connecting them to other cells in a complicated network. Synaptic communication between these brain cells is what allows us to think and solve problems. When we learn new things, these tiny connections in the brain actually multiply and get stronger.

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The American Camp Association is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles for youth. In this issue of Camping Magazine we are pleased to present the second in a three-part series of "Healthy Teens" articles written by Stephen Wallace, director of counseling and counselor training at the Cape Cod Sea Camps and chairperson and CEO of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), a national youth peer-to-peer education, prevention, and activism organization.

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On the occasion of my fiftieth birthday, I contemplated the unthinkable: retirement. Not that I am anywhere near ready to conclude my career, but I now know what before I refused to acknowledge: Some day there will be no more kids for me to counsel, lead, or direct. Yikes.

When I speak in schools, something I do quite a bit of, I often tackle the subject of legacy — challenging kids to think about what they want to be remembered for when they have moved on to new places and new people. What is the reputation, the legacy, they want to leave behind?

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Are Your Campers Picky Eaters?
Published Date: 2016-09-01

With arms firmly crossed and sour-faced determination, ten-year-old Jaden said, “If I have to eat that, I’ll just go hungry!” Campers paused between bites and all eyes shifted to the two counselors assigned to their table, anticipating a response.

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