Resource Library

Connection — Moving Forward Together
Published Date: 2020-01-01

Scientific studies suggest that 21st-century learning skills like creativity are fundamental contributors to how our brains develop. Brain development is stimulated by social and emotional experiences in educational environments that feel safe, inclusive, trusting, inspiring, and empowering. Positive relationships trigger brain chemistry to allow it to be more adaptable and enable one to learn more easily. Likewise, chronic and excessive stress and loneliness are toxic to brain development.

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What type of dining service does your camp use? To get an idea of what is currently popular in camps, I conducted a survey among camp food service directors and received some insightful responses.

Buffet Serving Style

Some of the first buffet restaurants in America were established in the 1950s by restaurateur Johnny Garneau. These mimicked the traditional Swedish "smorgasbord" buffet-style meal, with a wide variety of food displayed on a table (Smith, 2013).

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Risk Management: What's in a Name?
Published Date: 2020-01-01

Is the answer to any of the following questions yes in relation to your camp?

  • Have you purchased the assets of a camp and kept the name?
  • Do you lease your camp premises to third parties during off-season?
  • Do you lease any portion of your camp premises to third parties while you are also operating your camp?
  • Is there another camp with your name or a similar name?

Each of these scenarios creates a potential brand and reputation exposure for you.

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A Place to Share: Connections
Published Date: 2020-01-01

The ACA National Conference is about connections. There is an instant familiarity that connects the camp community. The overenthusiastic hellos when greeting old friends, the warm welcome when engaging firsttime attendees, and the common sense of purpose and camaraderie are welcome and comforting. Attending the conference feels a little bit like coming home. It is a place where we can connect and grow as camp professionals. A place where we can explore new ideas and new places, and where we can create connections with others who are supportive and encouraging.

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Dear Camp Director:

No doubt some of the greatest demands you face are attracting, motivating, and retaining summer staff. Among the challenges are aligning your counselors to mission and helping them to engage with peers and campers. But doing so will maximize you staff's power to positively affect young lives and help you meet your goals for a successful season.

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Unanswered emails. Requests (demands) for time off. Over-involved parents. What's the matter with young people today? Most likely nothing! We have more in common with this cohort of staff than one might think; their needs are just expressed differently. The way we view the world and the expectations we hold for others are heavily influenced by the population cohort to which we belong. For this and future staff recruiting seasons, we have an opportunity to communicate that we are in touch with the times and yet have a handle on timeless wisdom.

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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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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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