Resource Library

Why would the University of Denver require that every graduate business student go to camp? What possible good would derive from forcing predominantly urban dwelling professionals to go off in the mountains to work in teams in outdoor activities?

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What can we do to get more campers? How is our camp perceived by youth, parents, and staff? What do we need to do to stay competitive with other camps?

Camp administrators around the country are exam¬ining their facilities and asking themselves questions like these. The resulting list of items that need to be addressed can prove daunting and even overwhelming! Sometimes, this kind of self-analysis will point to the need for major capital improvements, under the notion: “If we build it, they will come.” But this idea can often be misguided.

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From Peg - July 2010
Published Date:

In today's world, relevance and added value are important to everyone. Being essential in a world that often must eliminate discretionary expenses is of paramount importance. And, the ability to articulate worth is equally imperative.

Over the last three years, the American Camp Association® (ACA) has focused on five outcomes for children and youth as they relate to our mission to enrich the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience.

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Every spring, the American Camp Association® (ACA) takes the pulse on enrollment trends followed by a fall survey that determines how enrollments actually went for that summer. In the spring of 2009, directors were nervous about the impact of the economic downturn in the U.S. on enrollments. Our early snapshot showed a camp community that was braced for a severe decrease in campers (48 percent anticipating lower enrollments).

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Most people can handle — or tolerate — a certain degree of risk. The edginess provided by risk adds verve to being human, and often gives us that gentle kick in the seat of our pants needed to prod us along in life. Risk tolerance, however, exists on a continuum. There are times when a person is more comfortable with risk than at other times. In addition, risk tolerance varies from person to person. Some thrive on the thrill associated with it, while others may be paralyzed.

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For most camp professionals, imagining a camp without trees would be hard to fathom. Especially since for the past century, you and other American Camp Association® (ACA) camp professionals have worked to preserve the camp experience for both children and adults. Unfortunately, there is an insect that threatens the camp experience for all of us.

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The power grid has gone down.
Forest fire is threatening the camp property.
The water supply is contaminated.
There's been an industrial spill, and camp must be evacuated.
Critical computer systems have been hacked into.

These crises — all stemming from sources outside camp — are getting more attention from camp professionals. We used to focus most on incidents that were camp-bound, incidents such as a lost camper, a waterfront emergency, or a building fire. But in today's world, we must also attend to events arising from the external community.

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