Resource Library

Courage, Not Comfort! Part II
Published Date: 2018-01-01

I am back with Part 2 of our conversation about fund-raising — although I am sure some of you were hoping I would forget! Not a chance. Now we get to the fun part, the rewarding part, and, of course, the part where you will need to remember the joy of facing your fears. I am thinking again of that nervous camper shivering at the end of the diving board, wanting so much to be brave enough to make her first jump into the chilly lake. You are standing next to her and encouraging her, because you know how great she will feel after she takes this scary step.

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The Psychology of Camper Success
Published Date: 2018-01-01

James, an adorably awkward first-summer camper, sits on a bench outside Campcraft preparing to take his knife safety test. You tell him to begin, and — biting his lip in concentration — he flips open the large blade.

You try to adopt an encouraging tone, and say: “James, what’s the step before you open the knife?” He stares at you for a moment, and then quotes from memory: “Step number one: Always scan the area around yourself for potential dangers.”

Quietly crestfallen, he mutters to himself: “I’ll never get this right.”

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The age-old question of “What do you do the rest of the year?” is inevitable. Every camp director we know has heard it, often many times. Summer is an intense and busy time, and we have worked hard to make sure that we, and our campers, have the appropriate support. When August comes around, all that hands-on energy and youthful compassion go back to school. Camp directors are left to fill in on the front line for our programs that continue deep into the fall and resume soon after the New Year.

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Camps need staff to run their programs; colleges/universities have various requirements for students regarding coursework and internships; and students are usually pulled between what they want to do and what they have to do to meet school and parent demands. How can we create a win-win situation for all involved?

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This article is part of Camping Magazine’s series on inclusion, identifying and exploring both big picture and on-the-ground actionable pathways for application through participant reflection, discussion, and active engagement. Contact Niambi Jaha-Echols (njechols@gmail.com) if you would like to participate or contribute to this series.

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Building an Army of Asking Ants
Published Date: 2018-01-01

Ant colonies have been used throughout history as models of industry. As a collective, ants are efficient, surprisingly intelligent, and are among the very few animals that organize themselves to collectively carry loads far heavier than an individual member of their species. Ants working together have an astonishing ability to mix collective muscle with individual initiative, and can adjust their course and outcomes based on intelligence provided by a single ant joining the effort.

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Whenever I tell people that my research deals with the history of summer camps, they smile. Undoubtedly some of the smiles are triggered by fond camp memories: the smell of pine, perhaps, or the taste of s’mores. But sometimes (I suspect) the smiles serve to hide a certain amount of confusion about what summer camps have to do with architectural history. If we are thinking of the most conventional definition of the field — a history of innovative works designed by architects of genius — then that confusion is warranted. This is not to say that architects have never designed summer camps.

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Making the Best Better
Published Date: 2003-07-18

Not too many job descriptions include expectations like, “Be able to rise early, go to bed late, and remain enthusiastic all day long.” “Work well with many different types of people.” “Share your love of 4-H with youth around the state.” But this is exactly what the Volunteer Camping Assistants (VCA) of the West Virginia University (WVU) Extension Program do every summer.

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Camp Through the Decades
Published Date: 2003-07-18

Snapshots of camp’s history remain steadfast in the minds and hearts of camp pioneers, moving beyond the boundaries of time. In a series of interviews with several American Camping Association (ACA) Pioneers, Camping Magazine chronicles the spirit of camp’s yesterdays. Let us honor the past and embolden the future of camp — through the eyes of pioneers . . . .

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A Camp Director Remembers World War II
Published Date: 2003-07-01

Running a camp during World War II took creativity, ingenuity, and some sacrifice. While friends and family were being asked to give their lives for our country, those of us at camp wanted to do our share. We wanted to provide our campers — eighty girls who were twelve to sixteen years old — with good memories of their time at camp, but at the same time, we knew it wouldn’t always be easy.

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