Resource Library

Low Tech and Lovin’ It!
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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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As we celebrate the third anniversary of the 20/20 Toolbox series in Camping Magazine and start a new publication year, we are given not only a chance to pause and reflect on what we have accomplished, but an opportunity to reinvent, re-imagine, and recommit ourselves to the purpose and intent of this very important article series.

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Attracting Diverse Staff and Campers
Published Date: 2011-09-01

I am white, Protestant, and I was raised in an upper-middle class, two-parent household . . . but that does not mean that my campers or staff need to be. As the founder and director of Camp Hawkeye, a coed overnight camp in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, I realize that it actually means more for my campers and staff if they are not. I founded Hawkeye with a diversity focus — to combine groups that are usually reached by disparate camps and bring them together in one program for the shared benefit of everyone involved.

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Each year, camp staff members spend days — if not weeks — preparing facilities, activity areas, and programs so their campers can enjoy fun, educational, and life-enhancing experiences. Whether operating on a public grassy field or nestled in the woods, one key to successes is knowing about programs and facilities. Every three years, ACA conducts the Sites, Facilities, and Program Survey (SFPS) as a part of the larger, annually conducted business operations surveys. This article focuses on the SFPS completed during the fall of 2010.

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Creating Community through Nature
Published Date: 2011-09-01

From a young age, author Joseph Cornell felt the awe and wonder of nature. For nearly forty years, Cornell has shared his passion for nature with the world, notably in the widely read and translated Sharing Nature with Children. His book inspired two more volumes of Sharing Nature activities: Sharing Nature with Children, Volume II and Listening to Nature, Volume III, and was recently updated for its twentieth anniversary.

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Camp is often described as being a life-changing experience for children. The Directions research, conducted by the American Camp Association (ACA) in 2005, documented the significant growth in positive identity, social skills, thinking skills, and positive values that occurs during a camp session. Although the same type of research has not been conducted with adults, similar growth and change of attitudes has been reported anecdotally by adult participants in international gatherings.

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The Evolving Look of Camp
Published Date: 2011-09-01

Award-winning author and architectural historian Abigail Van Slyck researches institutional buildings in order to find out what was on the minds of the people who built them. In her book A Manufactured Wilderness, Van Slyck illuminates the history of children's camp experiences through camps' buildings. Van Slyck spoke with ACA describing how the look of camp has changed through the years, while emphasizing that the nature component of camp life has always been important.

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Returning from the 2011 ACA National Conference in San Diego, I began to reflect on how camps can impact a student's education. For the past forty years, my school district has sent fifth graders to camp to enhance their science education. Our fifth grade students participate in a three-day, two-night program. During this time, the students get to experience science at a school without walls. The hands on classes have a great impact on student comprehension. More camps should increase their involvement in this type of school year endeavor.

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Outdoor education is not a very large industry, but certainly an important one. There is great diversity in how outdoor educators approach their missions, but we have much in common. We do not pursue our mission alone in this world, though it is a grand one: building connections between people and the outdoors. In essence, outdoor education is any education about the outdoors occurring primarily outdoors. While this definition is often used academically, it is not very practical.

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