Resource Library

You Are Your Own Story
Published Date:

With Mark Victor Hansen, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and co creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul, tells how and why the stories of our lives can be motivators for change in every area from personal transformation to corporate management and fund development. With warm-hearted wisdom, wit, and creativity, he shares insights in an engaging interview with Camping Magazine, in which his experiences as a visionary thinker link us to the great possibilities of our own human potential.

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Color television was invented in the early 1950s, and in the mid-tolate 1960s, my family didn't have one yet. My parents had seven children and were committed to putting us all through private elementary and high school — so our big black-and-white console TV seemed just fine to them. We had that black-and-white TV for a long time. And I thought we would probably never (in my lifetime) own a color television because they were so expensive. We had lived in a black-and-white world for so long that having a true multicolored television viewing experience seemed virtually impossible.

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The camp director of one of the oldest and most respected camps on the continent remembers how, a few years ago, his camp's continuing tradition as a tech-free environment was especially hard for some fourteen- and fifteen-year-old campers. Cell phones, texting, and social media were the personal default setting of their lives. "We had some kids who really missed it," he told me recently. The networked life was the only life they knew at home and school. Going tech-free was a culture shock for them.

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Change is inevitable and everywhere. As we know, this is both good and not so good news. It’s good news for those of us who embrace change, revel in its benefits, and must employ the latest technology in our personal and business lives. On the other hand, change is not so good news for those of us who worry about the new risks that come along with change.

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Most of the time we encourage one another to think outside the box. In the case of major donor relationships in the camp environment, I encourage you to think squarely within it! The box is the period between the beginning of camp and the day your campers leave. It is when the eight months of precamp effort is palpable and alive, and activities best narrate program impact. Seeing, smelling, tasting, and observing campers and staff in action is more powerful than any video or choreographed home/office visit.

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There is so much good information about leadership. There are books about leadership with themes ranging from the military to Mickey Mouse; there are seminars, workshops, retreats, and entire conferences devoted to leadership, defining leadership styles, and even the best practices of other leaders. However, there seems to be a shortage of practical strategies for actually becoming a better leader.

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Solving the Certification Mystery
Published Date: 2018-01-01

With ominous dread, our kitchen crew expected “the visit” any day now. Health inspector drop-ins typically occur in the midst of summer camp chaos, the busiest time of year for camp professionals. This time was no exception. With clipboard in hand, the inspector slowly and deliberately migrated from station to station, dwelling a bit longer in some areas. After the inspector handed over our well-graded inspection report, said goodbye, and the kitchen door slammed behind her, my kitchen staff released audible sighs. “YES! We can relax now.”

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Camp Ramah Darom, in partnership with Nova Southeastern University, provides an overnight camp experience for children with autism and their families. Based upon Ramah Darom's five-day family camp model, adaptations have been made to ensure that the children with autism, their siblings, and parents all enjoy a successful camp experience. Located in rural, north Georgia, this camp draws families from as far away as California and Canada. Having successfully finished its fourth year, other camps around the country have expressed an interest in creating similar programs.

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Is There Anything I Can Do to Help?
Published Date: 2013-07-01

As camp professionals, we hear many stories about the impact of our camps on the lives of our participants. Often, when these alums come back and share a story or two with us from the past, they finish with a wonderful line that we probably have all heard:

“I loved my time at camp, so please let me know if there is anything I can ever do to help.”

When was the last time you followed up that offer with a request? If you never have, the time is now to get the courage and respond immediately with, “Fantastic! Have I got a job for you!”

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Despite my more than forty years in organized camping, I have scant experience in the other kind. In fact, one of my few forays into the world of site camping — accompanied by a long-time camp friend — resulted in a frighteningly hilarious expose of how not to assemble a tent. So much for our combined expertise in the great outdoors. Maybe we should have enrolled in that pioneering mod after all.Then there’s the hiking part.

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