Resource Library

In late July 2014, I sat on my bed, alone for the first time all day, reeking of garbage and motor oil, and listening to rain pummel the tin roof. Satisfied I’d done my duties for the night, I had started to unzip my raincoat when an angry knock sounded on my door.

Read More
Building Principles: Magic From the Tap
Published Date: 2010-05-01

Most children are fascinated by magicians. I remember being certain that a magic wand, would indeed, produce whatever I wanted. As you get older though, you come to realize that behind the "magic" is much preparation and careful planning to create an illusion of something out of nothing. It's funny, but though most adults recognize the "tricks" behind a stage magic show, they still regard safe, potable water as magic. You know, turn the faucet and Shazam! Water springs forth! But you know differently.

Read More
On Becoming a Mentor
Published Date: 2017-05-01

Back in the early ’70s, my favorite counselor’s name was Billy, but everyone called him “Banjo Billy” because he was an accomplished singer/songwriter. He was caring, funny, adventurous, fair, and inspiring. For my 10- and 11-year-old cabinmates and me, he could do little wrong — he was a paragon of a nonparent, adult mentor. Billy taught us how to get along, love one another, and be respectful of everyone in our camp community in spite of our differences. Today he is Bill, a former rabbi and a distinguished attorney who attended Yale and then Harvard Law School.

Read More

During the summer, I have many opportunities to see and discuss camper behavior at the several camps I visit during the season. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly even some well-educated, experienced adult leaders resort to tactics that involve shaming children or threatening to take things away from them as methods of managing their behavior. I believe children sometimes need firm guidance. I also believe that guidance can be offered respectfully, without shame or threats. I offer two examples from this past summer.

Read More

"Kick a Ginger Day." Fair to say, the majority of adults reading this article have no idea what this means. A bunch of junior-high-aged kids in Calabasas, California, did, however. On November 20, 2009, at least four girls and two boys were subjected to physical and/or verbal bullying and abuse because of their red hair, freckles, and pale complexions. Ginger. Gilligan's Island. Redheads. It's quite a leap.

Read More

Cathy’s story: “He looks like me but he sure don’t talk like me” was the comment I heard from an 11-year-old camper as he described his counselor who was black but from South Africa. In my early and admittedly failed attempts to mirror my staff to reflect my camper population, I did not understand what was most important to my campers and their parents — their identity — whether they were African American, Hmong, or Latino.

Read More

"What you have to do is get them talking in such a way that they are unguarded. It could be anything they happen to be into, like their favorite baseball team or a dream they have about doing something. That's where you find out who they really are. By schmoozing in this way, I can tell whether I want someone on my staff or not!"

Read More
The Last Dance
Published Date: 2014-07-01

It's late in the evening. My feet are tired. Music is reverberating in my ears. We've been dancing and mixing all night. Tonight is an incredible celebration, truly a hallmark event. This may be the last time we will all be together like this. While bits of personal and collective nostalgia have been creeping into our conversations with one another throughout the night, now there seems to be a greater sense of urgency, a need to capture all these moments before the night is over. The DJ steps to the microphone.

Read More
Is There a Camp Movement in China?
Published Date: 2016-07-01

China is interested in American summer camps. This should not be a surprise to anyone who has seen the increasing numbers of Chinese attending the American Camp Association or Tri-State conferences. It is not a surprise to camp directors who are starting to get calls from Chinese parents — or more likely from middlemen representing Chinese parents — who are interested in having their children come to the United States for a summer, mainly to work on their English language skills.

Read More

Pages

E.g., 2019-08-18
E.g., 2019-08-18