Resource Library

For generations, the family was known throughout the area as masters of making the most amazing fudge. Taking days to prepare, fudge making was an event — and those lucky enough to receive some would savor it as long as they could. The fudge recipe was a heavily guarded family secret, traditionally passed down to just one relative in the next generation. The grandmother had been the last maker. When it was time to pass the torch, she brought the next family member in line to her kitchen for instruction and ceremoniously gave them the recipe.

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July’s Camp Kindness Day showcased the role that organized camping plays in promoting character traits that ultimately transcend June, July, and August, amplifying that what young people can learn during the summer — in so many ways — prepares them to grow into “socially minded, community-oriented” citizens (ACA, 2019a).

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I was sitting in our chapel benches surrounded by towering pines as I listened to our leadership director, Dave Irwin, give his Sunday chapel talk in late July of 2016 at YMCA Camp Belknap, a traditional, nonprofit, overnight summer camp for boys.

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“Without Camplify? Gosh, I don’t know where we would be.”

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“Can I talk to you for a minute?” It’s a simple question that in the blink of an eye can send the receiver on an emotional roller coaster. Take a moment and slowly read the following list. Pretend each one of these people is asking you that question. Notice your initial emotional reaction.

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ACA’s 5-Year Impact Study entered its third and final phase in fall 2018. This means that we are well on our way to understanding the lasting impacts of camp and how camp experiences prepare young people for their college, career, and adult lives. By the time you read this, we will have data from current campers and their parents or caregivers, former campers, new staff, and staff who have worked at camp for several years, all of which helps tell a story not only of the benefits of attending camp, but the specific ways camp experiences foster these outcomes. 

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Forget camp as you know it, because the world is changing faster than camp professionals are holding their ground. Forget camp’s unique combination of community living away from home in a beautiful natural setting with a recreational premise. Forget its proven power to accelerate youth development. This 160-year-old concept has a bleak future if current trends continue unchecked. In the coming decades, I predict these seven revolutions.

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Today the American Camp Association (ACA) is at an imperative strategic inflection point in its history. There could not be a more propitious time to set a new course for our Association beyond 2020. This past summer the ACA National Board adopted a bold and ambitious 2020–2024 strategic plan after engaging strategic planning consultants to undertake eight months of research with members, volunteer leaders, staff, donors, and other stakeholders.

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Whatever the Weather
Published Date: 2019-11-01

One of my fondest camp memories is of sitting in a large platform tent with my other new friends during a torrential downpour. Like most suburban kids I knew, I had long been schooled to come in the house when it rained, and this "sorta house" was certainly not what my mother had in mind. I can smell wet canvas, damp forest, and mud right now. Like walking with a flashlight a hundred yards in the dark to get to the latrine, this was also part of the adventure that brought me back to camp year after year. Somehow, even in the 1970s (Wow!

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This column is different from what I usually provide. It poses a vision for the future of our camp community’s health profile. As you read, ask if the ideas reflect your desire for improving our health profile, improvement that has the potential to impact both your camp’s initiatives as well as our national profile. The content flows from the United States’ framework for Healthy People 2030.

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E.g., 2019-12-08