Resource Library

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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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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Mindsets Matter
Published Date: 2020-01-01

An Interview with David Yeager, PhD

David Yeager, PhD, is an experimental development psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He researches and works to find solutions for adolescent health problems, including bullying, depression, academic achievement, cheating, trust, and healthy eating. He has co-authored work on grit and grit testing with Angela Duckworth, PhD, and on growth mindset with Carol Dweck, PhD. Yeager’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Nature.

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Shaping "Unselfie" Kids
Published Date: 2020-01-01

An Interview with Michele Borba, EdD

A former classroom and special education teacher, Michele Borba, EdD, is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, and parenting/ child expert recognized for her solu-tion-based strategies to strengthen children’s social-emotional intelligence and character and reduce peer bullying. Her most recent book, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, is full of realistic, research-based advice for building empathy in today’s generation of kids.

Borba opens Unselfie in this way:

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How to Become a Servant Leader
Published Date: 2020-01-01

I strongly believe that an organization is not defined by its products or its glitzy marketing. The people who work for the organization are its true assets.

A leader who takes care of their people will never have to worry about subpar customer service.

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