Resource Library

The Making of a Lifelong Camper
Published Date: 2018-07-02

I started going to camp when I was six, or more accurately, I was sent to camp at six years old. I was dropped off on the shores of Lake George for two weeks without any prep, and let’s just say it was not the most enjoyable transition. What I didn’t know as a small child was that my mom sent me to camp to keep me out of the house during a divorce proceeding at home. Camp was meant to protect me.

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Picture ziti pasta shells strung into a necklace with yarn or glued onto flimsy paper. Think back to dried leaves and flowers cracking and falling off of cardboard squares, or paint peeling off of the tips of pinecones. Envision images from coloring book pages filled in with crayons and dried-out markers. And what about countless misshapen pinch pots with paint slapped on in a hurried dash out the door?

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As a camp professional, I, like you, have literally thousands of affirming anecdotal stories — the camp experience is not discretionary. And, if anyone needs more evidence, ACA's outcomes research confirms what each of us already knows. Our CEO, Peg Smith*, has been telling the world that opportunities for growth and development exist in natural settings that promote experiential learning, improve social skills and physical fitness, teach children to take calculated risks in a safe environment, and expand the creative mind.

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The Launch Pad Versus the Pinnacle
Published Date: 2016-11-01

When I entered his home, I thought this would be a routine stop on my camp fundraising tour. As a camp alum, a former staff member, a camp parent and grandparent, I also knew that my request would be met with generous support.

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Do you ever wonder what other camps offer for programs? Are your facilities similar to those at other camps like yours? Are there differences in sites, facilities, and programs based on characteristics such as type, sponsorship, or geographic location? Every three years ACA conducts a randomized survey about sites, facilities, and programs of our accredited camps. The following brief overview offers you a snapshot of some of the information found in this year's survey. Looking at the findings through various lenses of camp characteristics provides a picture of our camp community.

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A Return To Tolerance
Published Date: 2015-09-01

The scuffle was over almost as quickly as it started. The boys were playing a team game, and, as is common with nine-year-old boys, there was a disagreement about the rules. An argument quickly ensued, and without warning Josh punched Carlton — a boy from the other team. In the blink of an eye, both boys were on the ground engaged in a tussle.

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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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From Peg - November 2010
Published Date:

Message discipline is difficult. Yet, in a complex association such as ACA, the demand for clarity is paramount. For an organization to grow, it must learn how to walk that thin line between chaos and order — because it is along that thin veil that true growth takes place. Even with clarity, we often find times when messages compete — where one message may take greater prominence than another due to frequency, volume, or the cacophony.

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Adolescence, Identity, and Summer Camp
Published Date: 2017-11-01

The Broadway megahit and multi-Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen has crystallized America’s focus on one of the most challenging and most consequential developmental processes for children and young adults: identity formation.

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When I think back to my first summer as a camp counselor over twenty years ago, I wish I knew then what I know now about working with a group of energetic campers. I was assigned to live with ten thirteen-year-old girls for seven weeks, and it didn't take long for them to figure out that I was a new staff member with a lot to learn! I hate to admit that I fumbled my way through many situations that summer and later as a novice teacher in various middle and high school classrooms. A few years ago, I was invited to work with a staff group during orientation training at a Cape Cod camp.

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