Resource Library

Dear Camp Counselor:

This summer you will join, figuratively, with more than 320,000 staff working at some 2,400 accredited camps serving more than 7.4 million children nationwide (ACA, 2013). And, suffice it to say, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Why? Because you will greatly influence young lives. And, in my opinion, there’s no greater gift than that.

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Dear Summer Camp Counselor
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Let me first say, I am so intensely jealous of you. I think every person who has had the pleasure of working at camp, be it for one year or five, is envious of anyone who gets to be there when they aren't, and for good reason. Summer camp is a magical place. But it's not just the landscape that encourages those who enter camp grounds to be the greatest version of themselves. It's you who makes this place magical.

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When you agreed to work at camp, you immediately made the decision to have fun, challenge yourself, and change lives. While the format to accomplish this will be provided for you by your camp, the implementation will not. This will come from you in the form of dedication and effort. How much commitment you choose to give is important because campers don’t always come to camp knowing how to succeed.

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Imagine that today is your pre-camp leadership meeting, and you are sitting for the first time with your team in preparation for the upcoming camp season. Although your recruitment efforts have helped you choose competent staff, directing them won’t be without challenges.

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Whether you are a first-time counselor or veteran staff member at a summer camp, it can be difficult to nail down the step-by-step process of how to grow professionally within the field. You may be all the way at the top as director, but if you are not open-minded about constant growth, are you really living your life to the fullest? Offered here are a director’s and a counselor’s perspective on how to be a competitive and competent individual, no matter what your position in the camp field.

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Inspiring Healthy Staff Culture at Camp
Published Date: 2019-03-01

I’m ardently proud of the high-quality camp staff experiences that professional camp directors strive to offer young adults each season. Full of career-enhancing and life-benefitting skills, a summer spent working at camp is chock-full of core social and emotional learning.

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The Art of Noticing
Published Date: 2019-03-01

A strong focus on mental, emotional, social health (MESH) elements within the camp community has triggered both strategies to cope with MESH concerns and an emphasis on making camp a more MESH-resilient experience for campers and staff. In support of this, the following information is provided by Cori Miller of URJ Camp Harlam in Pennsylvania. A social worker by profession, Miller works full-time for her camp and focuses on MESH concerns.

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UR Strong, iGen
Published Date: 2019-03-01

The total was 254.

It was the last day of the fall trimester at the independent high school where I’ve been working for 20 years. Until our health center adopts electronic medical records, I’ll keep spending the final three hours of every term hand-keying into our confidential database the date, time, and referral question of each student with whom I’ve spent 45 psychotherapeutic minutes.

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The Last Batch of Muffins
Published Date: 2019-03-01

My congratulatory handshake to colleague Jake Labovitz, who along with his wife, Kerry, owns Windsor Mountain Summer Camp in Windsor, New Hampshire, was commentary on a highly successful season. Jake’s reply? “Thanks, but you’re only as good as your last batch of muffins.”

What Jake was referring to is called “recency” — most recent — or what happens last. For context, “Social psychologists study how social influence, social perception, and social interaction influence individual and group behavior” (APA, 2018).

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As children and staff members are eager to return to camp to see familiar faces and places each summer, we often hear people comment about going back to their "summer home." Our camp homes are places where friendships are made, bonds are strengthened, skills are learned, and memories are created. Some of our summer homes have lakes, mountain views, and miles of trails, while others are set in the suburbs and some even right in the middle of cities.

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