Resource Library

Building Belonging in the Age of Anxiety
Published Date: 2020-01-02

Where do you belong? Close your eyes for a second and ask yourself that question. Can you picture a place where upon arrival you feel totally safe, respected, and loved?

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Agency is the ability to act as an effective agent for yourself — getting your mind, body, and emotions in balance to think clearly and make choices that improve your life.

Simply put, agency is what we all use to feel in command of our lives.

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Several years ago, when I directed my camp program specifically for African- American teen girls (Camp Butterfly), there were many memorable moments. But one in particular has been etched in the recesses of my mind since the day it occurred. The event happened during one of our summer sessions; it involved a young 13-year-old girl named “Lea.”

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Connection — Moving Forward Together
Published Date: 2020-01-01

Scientific studies suggest that 21st-century learning skills like creativity are fundamental contributors to how our brains develop. Brain development is stimulated by social and emotional experiences in educational environments that feel safe, inclusive, trusting, inspiring, and empowering. Positive relationships trigger brain chemistry to allow it to be more adaptable and enable one to learn more easily. Likewise, chronic and excessive stress and loneliness are toxic to brain development.

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In November 2018, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a two-week strike in front of the Swedish Parliament. She was on a mission to bring attention to the looming threat of climate change and to protest the inaction of world leaders on the issue. When she started, she was alone. Less than a year later, on September 20, 2019, she was joined by a wave of more than 14 million people in a cascading series of protests that spanned the globe through 138 countries, beginning in Australia and ending 24 hours later in the Americas (Sengupta, 2019).

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What type of dining service does your camp use? To get an idea of what is currently popular in camps, I conducted a survey among camp food service directors and received some insightful responses.

Buffet Serving Style

Some of the first buffet restaurants in America were established in the 1950s by restaurateur Johnny Garneau. These mimicked the traditional Swedish "smorgasbord" buffet-style meal, with a wide variety of food displayed on a table (Smith, 2013).

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Risk Management: What's in a Name?
Published Date: 2020-01-01

Is the answer to any of the following questions yes in relation to your camp?

  • Have you purchased the assets of a camp and kept the name?
  • Do you lease your camp premises to third parties during off-season?
  • Do you lease any portion of your camp premises to third parties while you are also operating your camp?
  • Is there another camp with your name or a similar name?

Each of these scenarios creates a potential brand and reputation exposure for you.

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A Place to Share: Connections
Published Date: 2020-01-01

The ACA National Conference is about connections. There is an instant familiarity that connects the camp community. The overenthusiastic hellos when greeting old friends, the warm welcome when engaging firsttime attendees, and the common sense of purpose and camaraderie are welcome and comforting. Attending the conference feels a little bit like coming home. It is a place where we can connect and grow as camp professionals. A place where we can explore new ideas and new places, and where we can create connections with others who are supportive and encouraging.

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Dear Camp Director:

No doubt some of the greatest demands you face are attracting, motivating, and retaining summer staff. Among the challenges are aligning your counselors to mission and helping them to engage with peers and campers. But doing so will maximize you staff's power to positively affect young lives and help you meet your goals for a successful season.

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Unanswered emails. Requests (demands) for time off. Over-involved parents. What's the matter with young people today? Most likely nothing! We have more in common with this cohort of staff than one might think; their needs are just expressed differently. The way we view the world and the expectations we hold for others are heavily influenced by the population cohort to which we belong. For this and future staff recruiting seasons, we have an opportunity to communicate that we are in touch with the times and yet have a handle on timeless wisdom.

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