Resource Library

Evaluating a Good Season
Published Date: 2003-09-01

Several months after the ending of the 2002 camp season, a concerned camp director contacted me. As the director of a small nonprofit camp, he had received a bit of critical feedback from the board of directors on his general performance. The director was angry and thought that this was more of a personal attack rather than having anything to do with his actual performance. Through questioning, it became apparent that this man was intelligent and quite knowledgeable about the camp industry.

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In the long run up to high school graduation, many camp families may face a Hobson’s choice of camp or college, as it may not really be viewed as a choice at all. And truth be told, that may turn out to be a very good thing.

Hobson’s choice: a choice of taking what is available or nothing at all.

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With eight years of the Healthy Camps initiative completed, the program recently launched its third phase of inquiry. The focus for 2015–2017 is the mental, emotional, and social health (MESH) aspects of the camp experience for campers and staff. This was selected because:

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Congratulations! You committed to working at camp this summer, and the director and/or team who hired you have been anticipating your arrival since you signed on the dotted line! It is completely normal to have cold feet and wonder if you made the right decision to spend your summer at camp, similar to the feelings of the campers you will soon meet who will be embarking on this adventure as well. Before the butterflies in your stomach get the best of you, know that commitment is a two-way street.

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By itself, this month's metaphoric title may already have caused some readers to turn the page because it suggests that the facility guy is on a tirade about something we all know about but don't want to discuss. Though I've hinted around it for all the years we've been meeting like this, we've never really talked about it. This month, we're going to take a short look at "deferred maintenance." For anyone not familiar with the term, it's commonly used to explain away all of the things that just don't seem to get done.

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Camp professionals have long talked about forming a partnership with parents. First articulated by Bob Ditter, the concept has moved deeply into various policies, practices, materials, and conversations. But it has not been specifically discussed in relation to camp health services — until now. It's time our camp community becomes more strategic in our relationship with parents regarding the health services provided to their child(ren).

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Ready for Camp
Published Date: 2016-03-01

Dear Bob,

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“Faster than a speeding bullet train” might describe the growth of the concept of camps in China. A country of 1.3 billion with the second largest economy in the world, China is undergoing a drastic transition from a manufacturingbased economy to a service-oriented economy, which will drive a shift across many sectors of the country, including the education system.

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I’ve been sorting through the piles of “stuff” on my desk. One of these was a stack of camp health ideas, incidents, and resources pertaining to topics that occasionally come up. These aren’t everyday matters; rather, they are situations that, when they occur, are definitely impactful. They typically receive limited planning consideration because they occur so infrequently. Perhaps it’s time to change that. With this in mind, read the following and address one or two topics with the appropriate people in your camp operation. Your effort now may result in better sleep when things happen.

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Calming Camper Conflicts
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Conflicts between kids at camp can arise for a wide variety of reasons — from being upset by relationships with peers or learning to adjust to new and different situations, to being frustrated with their progress in an activity or simply being tired, hot, or hungry — making campers restless, irritable, and/or inattentive. The list of what might trigger conflicts between campers is exhaustive — and can be exhausting!

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E.g., 2019-09-15