Resource Library

I was at the end of a full day of training 300 group leaders (GLs) at the San Diego YMCA in early May 2018. I ended with a story that I hoped would portray a deeper sense of friendship that campers can develop in the emotionally safe, tech-free space of a typical camp. I was also trying to give those eager GLs a glimpse of the kind of impact they could have on some of the over 10,000 campers who would be coming through the San Diego County Y day and resident camp programs in the next several months.

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2016), 8.5 percent of school-aged children are receiving specialized education services, not including those students with specific learning disabilities. Yet, in 2012, campers with disabilities represented only 3 percent of campers attending Jewish overnight camps (Laszlo Strategies, 2013). This implies that a large number of children are not benefiting from the life-enriching and joyful experience of overnight camp.

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Building Community through Camp
Published Date: 2018-09-01

For children and families who feel isolated or misunderstood, camp can offer the connectivity and support needed to finally feel like part of a community.

It takes a village.

No man is an island.

Better together.

There is no shortage of sentiments about the power of community — and there is no place where that is more evident than at camp. Around the world, camps are creating communities of support for children and young adults who feel sidelined or isolated because of a personal condition, challenge, or circumstance.

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Camp Legends: For Love of Camp and Country
Published Date: 2018-09-01

A Personal Perspective by Jay Jacobs

My world is like a collision of two parallel universes — my camp world and my political world. It’s like people see me as Superman and Clark Kent at the same time. Superman — not because I’m in any way “super,” but because in my camp life I run around daily doing ridiculous things always dressed in the exact same outfit. And Clark Kent, because in my political life I walk around like the stiff that most people think I am. But I thought now would be a good opportunity to debunk that image with a story about what I really do at camp.

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Positive Discipline
Published Date: 2018-09-01

Camp has changed significantly since my first year as a counselor in 1989. Advancements include: online registration, drones shooting video footage, cool water trampolines and climbing devices, overnight camps with shorter sessions, and day camp programs growing in numbers every summer. But some of the biggest advancements across the industry are not as obvious. Focusing on child development has become the priority for camps that want to have a long-term positive impact on children’s lives.

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Camp Includes Me Series

This feature article is part of an ongoing series of articles in Camping Magazine that will focus on inclusion, diversity, and cross-cultural agility to share in our individual communities and out in the world.

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Preparing for Happiness in Career and Life
Published Date: 2018-09-01

Some of the best times of my life have been my carefree summers swimming, exploring, sharing, and making friends as a child at camp. But many of my life’s greatest lessons were learned over six summers working on camp staff. As a newly minted staff member recently graduated from high school, I strived to become part of the model community I found in our camp’s staff culture. Selflessness, servant leadership, and teamwork were encouraged and celebrated. I learned the more you gave of yourself to camp, the more you received in return.

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Natalie, the camp baker, was spontaneously thrust into finishing the meat entrée after Shayla announced that she had a family emergency and ran out the door, leaving the pork loin in the oven. Natalie was ServSafe certified two years ago but suddenly drew a blank trying to remember the cooked temperature requirement for pork loin. The food service manager was away on vacation, as summer camp had ended two weeks ago. In your kitchen, would Natalie have written standard operating procedures (SOPs) where she could find the information needed for the safety of your campers or guests?

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Trends in camp business operations are altogether interesting and not interesting. Interesting because the business of camp is dynamic and evolving quickly to meet the demands of the 21st century, and not interesting because, by and large, the business of camp boils down to one thing: it depends. The 2018 Camp Business Operations Report included both interesting and not-all-that-interesting findings, mostly due to the fact that camps today are increasingly diverse, representing a wider range than ever before in size and financial scope.

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Many of us who grew up going to summer camp feel like it was the place we could most be ourselves. If we had the option, we would make it our second (or first) home.

You probably have a story about your favorite counselor who you looked up to, who helped you imagine the personality traits you wanted to have when you grew up and opened your mind to new experiences.

It makes sense that many campers continue on to become staff members, because they want to do what their most memorable role models did.

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