Resource Library

One amenity you’ll find on just about every camp, regardless of its overall focus or theme, is a ball field. Beyond baseball and softball, that open space lends itself to a dozen or more other activities. With just a little bit of planning and forethought, it can deliver even more bang for your capital buck. This month, we’re going to look at a couple of the most basic elements to make the most of the space.

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Positive Learning
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It's a beautiful July morning at Camp Nevva GoHoma. Let's get out of the office which we know is like Grand Central Station with campers, staffers, specialists, administrative personnel, parents, (and sometimes grandparents) coming and going, USPS, UPS, FedEx drivers arriving and departing, phones constantly ringing, faxes flowing in and out, e-mail messages overf lowing on your computer screen, dogs meandering through the building — and take a Walk About . . . .

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As camp professionals become more effective risk managers, the need to periodically review camper and staff injury and illness events is a given. One of the best sources of this information is a health center’s log. Knowing why people seek healthcare not only provides an indicator about the effectiveness of risk management strategies, but can also inform incoming nurses about anticipated camper and staff needs, help determine if medical protocols cover anticipated injuries and illnesses, and inform decisions about what supplies are needed in the health center.

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People in medical professions call it a “post mortem” — an unfortunate term that literally means “after death.” People in human services and professional development call it “debriefing,” while the rest of us call it “learning from our past.” Whatever you call it, there can be great value in reflecting on the summer and thinking about how what you have just experienced might inform your work with parents, staff, and campers in the coming year.

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Praise and Self-Esteem
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Best selling author Ashley Merryman — who has also been tutoring in inner-city Los Angeles for eleven years — recently spoke with ACA about youth development findings in her award-winning book, NurtureShock, which she co-authored with Po Bronson. NurtureShock (now available in paperback) explores child development science that is widely accepted within the scientific community, but that might be yet unknown to youth development professionals.
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Each camper will be different. They will come from different backgrounds, different family structures, and different socio-economic classes. However, just as they are different, they are the same. All children develop in basically the same way and share certain developmental traits with other children their age. If you understand the typical behavior for an age group, you may be able to determine what is appropriate behavior and then chart your best course of interaction with them.

The Elementary Years

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When you decided to be a summer camp counselor this summer, you made a great choice. Few summer jobs offer as many opportunities for personal growth and leadership development, or allow you to have such a meaningful, positive impact on a child’s life. Being a camp counselor won’t be as easy as some summer jobs, but it has the potential to be much more rewarding. Even before the season starts, you will be inundated with information about everything from camp policy guidelines to camper behavior management strategies. It might seem overwhelming, and it probably will be at times.

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Ways to Make Camp Memorable
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Building a warm rapport with the campers in your group as well as the coworkers you live and work with day to day is the single most important way to positively impact the camp experience for everyone. Counselors who really get to know their campers will find it easier to motivate them. Campers who trust their counselors tend to follow the rules and guidelines more easily. We all need to be heard and appreciate those who listen. As you discover your counseling style and learn to mesh it with other staff, remember to listen to one another and remain open to ideas.

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