Resource Library

Forget camp as you know it, because the world is changing faster than camp professionals are holding their ground. Forget camp’s unique combination of community living away from home in a beautiful natural setting with a recreational premise. Forget its proven power to accelerate youth development. This 160-year-old concept has a bleak future if current trends continue unchecked. In the coming decades, I predict these seven revolutions.

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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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I remember the call clearly. It was in September about 10 years ago when my longtime camp friend and colleague, Dave Tager, called about the transition of leadership at the camp he and his wife, Shelley, had run for almost 25 years. Over the course of that time, Dave and Shelley had built their coed resident camp, now called Camp IHC, into a successful and highly reputable camp. After 25 years of being ultimately responsible for thousands of other people's children, Dave was ready to turn the reigns over to a talented young couple. As Dave said to me, "I love camp!

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The Legacy of Camp Monroe
Published Date: 2019-11-01

Summer 1994. I was 10, and my mom signed me up for the second four weeks at Camp Monroe. It was mid-season and everyone seemed to know each other. I was one of three Marylanders and the only person from Baltimore out of 500 people. Everyone I met had a totally different style and accent than me. Kids were from Long Island and Brooklyn. Staten Island kids’ entire way of being blew my fragile and somewhat southern mind. When I got to my bunk, it was clear that I was the youngest and the shortest (everyone was 11 because they didn’t have room for me in the 10-year-old bunks).

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July’s Camp Kindness Day showcased the role that organized camping plays in promoting character traits that ultimately transcend June, July, and August, amplifying that what young people can learn during the summer — in so many ways — prepares them to grow into “socially minded, community-oriented” citizens (ACA, 2019a).

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I was sitting in our chapel benches surrounded by towering pines as I listened to our leadership director, Dave Irwin, give his Sunday chapel talk in late July of 2016 at YMCA Camp Belknap, a traditional, nonprofit, overnight summer camp for boys.

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ACA’s Impact Study is a multiyear research project designed to identify the lasting impacts of camp from the perspectives of campers, staff, and parents. In the earliest stages of the project, we asked former campers, who are now between the ages of 18 and 25 years old, what they learned at camp and how they are using what they learned in their lives today, specifically at school and in their jobs. The research team identified 18 distinct outcomes from these conversations, each of which transfers to school and work in unique ways.

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Food Service Budgeting Basics
Published Date: 2019-09-01

Suppose you have a new board treasurer who wants to better understand your food service financials. Via your manager/director, he needs your food cost per camper, elaboration on the rise in your food expenditures over the past two or three years, and food price forecasts for the next fiscal year. What tools do you have to adequately calculate your food cost? Faced with these challenges, here are some tools I developed to help answer those questions and plan for upcoming food budgets.

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