Resource Library

When people think summer camp, they think tranquil natural setting, fun, happiness, and bliss. While this permeates throughout camp life, the threat of stress — and a lack of resiliency to that stress — can derail those wonderful elements.

The following scenarios may sound familiar.

Denise is an eight-year-old girl attending sleepaway camp for the first time this summer. She complains often of stomach aches and wants to go to the camp nurse daily; she struggles with homesickness at night; and she becomes anxious the moment dinner ends.

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In my years as a staff trainer/advisor, perhaps one of the most challenging issues I have had to deal with is helping campers, staff members, and families deal with illness and death occurring prior to or during the camp season. Recently, in a community from which our campers come, I was approached by a camper parent who wanted to reiterate how helpful I had been in helping not only his child, but he and his wife navigate the emotionally overwhelming illness and death of a grandparent during the summer.

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Communication in a personal setting can be a tricky thing, but in the workplace it can be downright complicated. With our staff, communication can be positive and productive and help us move our ideas and plans forward. Or it can be a frustrating experience leaving us to wonder "What language do I need to be speaking so they get it?" The best way to answer that question is to identify where the communication process is breaking down — is it in the control, the filters, or the perceptions?

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Though the idea of working to include disabled people in all facets of life is an old idea, it has relatively recent regulatory roots. Beyond being a good idea, that concept has been the proverbial “law of the land” since the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That’s right; the same sweeping legislation that did away with segregation based on race also sought to bring another group of historically overlooked people into the mainstream.

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Everyone knows that camp staff need orientation to effectively do their job. Why, then, do health center staff often report that they don’t get any? The team hired for your health center certainly has skills associated with the credential they hold, but they need information from camp administrators to effectively use those skills in a way that will complement camp processes. This needed information is often second nature to camp professionals; yet, because new hires haven’t been to camp, this is content they may not ever consider asking about.

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A Place to Share: Global Giving
Published Date: 2013-03-01

Giving has always been a critical lesson that we teach campers and staff as part of the camp experience. Living and learning together, campers must give respect to their peers and camp staff. In creating a great camp experience, staff members must give freely of themselves and their time. Each and every person learns to give their best effort and strengths in each activity, opportunity, and interaction.

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In May 1971, the Five Man Electrical Band's "Signs" peaked at number eighteen on the rock and pop charts. For the unfamiliar, it's about excluding others through signs like job descriptions that refer to applicants' appearance or prohibiting trespassing. And while laws have changed with the times, signs still set the tone for the impressions that people build. In this column, we're going to look at how signs to, at, and around camp can improve the experience of your neighbors, visitors, camp families, and staff.

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As the busyness of summer gives way to a more laidback autumn, many camp professionals find themselves considering changes and adaptations to make the next camp season even better. Part of that consideration is an assessment of your camp's health services.

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Low Tech and Lovin’ It!
Published Date:

Another summer at camp has come and gone. It was my twenty-seventh. The mouth-watering smells and tastes of a campfire cookout. The life-long friendships. The hikes in the woods. And before I knew it, I was sitting back in my chair at school. The old saying is true: "Good things never seem to last"; though the memories last forever.

I teach high school technology. An oxymoron if there ever was one from a camp veteran such as myself; one of my favorite cabins doesn't even have electric lights.

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Raymond (not his real name) is an experienced camp director on the East Coast. When it comes to interviewing staff, Raymond feels especially confident about his ability to "sniff out the good ones." Raymond says of his interviewing strategy: "I like to get them into a spontaneous conversation and see what kind of a feeling I get. I watch for good eye contact, spontaneity, give-and-take, and other nonverbal signs of communication. With the guys I like to schmooze about baseball. It gets their guard down and shows me how they really relate to people.

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E.g., 2021-09-25