Resource Library

Five Trends in Camp Evaluation
Published Date: 2021-03-10

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), while weather refers to short-term changes in the atmosphere, climate describes what the weather is like over a long period of time in a specific area (National Centers for Environmental Information, 2020). We can use these descriptions of climate and weather as a metaphor for trends in evaluation.

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As we begin our second year within the COVID-19 pandemic and head toward summer 2021, it is especially critical that camp professionals focus on resourcing a supportive camp culture that helps campers and seasonal staff practice identifying and managing their emotions and the emotions of others.

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Food (Justice) for Thought
Published Date: 2021-03-09

Picky camp eaters — we all know them. In surveying the amount of leftovers on a given day and fielding phone calls from families and guardians about the food, this begs the question, “Why does camp food suck?” 

The truth is it likely doesn’t. The more pointed question to ask is, “Do kids typically eat what we are serving?”

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Health screening, a practice typical to most camps' opening day process, has undergone an evolution. Granted, some changes were kick-started by our COVID-19 experience but, like other things, some changes are sticking because they have potential to improve the camp experience. In short, screening has expanded. It can and should start prior to arrival for campers and staff and extend beyond their end-of-session (agreement) date. Specifically, pre-arrival health monitoring has been added.

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Becoming Part of the New Normal
Published Date: 2021-03-09

2020. Shall we say 2020 was a year to remember or one to forget? Camps across the country are even still trying to decide as leadership teams dig deeply to identify how they can shield their organizations from such devastating hits in the future. Even as camper/parent expectations have changed over the years, COVID-19 presented new challenges that very few ever imagined. But now that program, planning, and recruiting teams are devising ways to soften future enrollment [and the associated tuition] downturns, what does the facilities team have to do? 

Plenty.

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Scars
Published Date: 2021-03-09

Mike, Jim, Sarah, Eric, Jake, Marina, Michael, Hunter, Pierce . . . the names roll off my tongue too readily, capturing the enormity of loss too often. 

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Innovation in Camp
Published Date: 2021-03-01

Camp means many things to many different people. At its core, camp is people serving kids. To lifelong summer campers and camp directors, the word “camp” conjures specific and dearly held memories of a particular place of joy and belonging. To camp outsiders, camp is a blank slate. And now, in a world filled with rapid and unpredictable change, camp offers the opportunity to combine tradition and imagination to reconstruct its own boundaries.

Many innovators in the camp world are reimagining how to define camp, how it works, and who it serves best.

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Throughout this past fall, reports have been flowing in confirming what many parents, teachers, and camp directors already intuitively knew — the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on our youths’ mental health (Leeb, Bitsko, Radhakrishnan, Martinez, Njai, & Holland, 2020). During this time, mental health providers have documented increases in both anxiety and depression. All this angst and uncertainty is affecting young people differently than adults.

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The Privilege of Polite
Published Date: 2021-01-01

That doesn't happen at camp. But what if it did? Grounded in their beginnings as a means of preserving youth and innocence, many camps shy away from holding space for difficult conversations, erring on the side of being polite. In this instance, politeness equates to avoidance. But we know that camp is not magical because it is utopian (see the inaugural Trail Mixed column in the November/December issue for a discussion about why that thinking is perilous).

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Is It Over Yet?
Published Date: 2021-01-01

The year 2020 was one of adversity. It was a year of dramatic change and tremendous loss for many. Loss of loved ones. Loss of income. Loss of business. Loss of treasured life experiences — graduations, proms, performances, showers, and weddings. It felt at times like being trapped between a horror movie and a reality TV show.

Last year dawned with the greatest of potential. The stock market was at an all-time high. Unemployment was at an all-time low. Many camps were fully booked and making capital improvements to their facilities. Then the wheels came off the bus.

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E.g., 2021-07-28