Resource Library

In her book The History of Organized Camping: The First 100 Years, Eleanor Eells wrote, “[Camp] has become an important part of the American scene, rich in its diversity and in its adaptation to changing needs and challenges. Its common bond is the concern for people in their relationship to one another, to the environment, and for their sense of community.” Through her review of camp’s history, Eells provided a blueprint for modern camps — adaptability is essential, innovation is critical, and personal relationships are fundamental.

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Evaluating Bereavement Camps
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Spending time in nature is often therapeutic and provides many benefits, such as improving cognitive functioning (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008) and improving memory (Berto, 2005). Spending time in a camp setting can cultivate honesty, respect, and trust (American Camp Association, 2005). No wonder, then, that several specialty camps have been developed over the past decades. Camps now exist for children with diabetes, cancer, and attention deficit disorder, just to mention a few.

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Collective Impact
Published Date: 2016-01-01

A young woman walks down the trail to the next station. There, in front of her, is a wall towering over her. The wall is ten feet tall and six feet wide, and as she and her group of peers walk up to the structure, a counselor comes out from behind it. A fabricated tale ensues where the counselor gives the outline for the team-building exercise. But the girl is clear about one thing: The goal is to get everyone in their group over the wall to the other side. Looking around at her group, she does not know how she can tackle this problem.

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A look in any rearview mirror will tell you a lot about where you have been, but little about where you are going. Unless, that is, you are driving at summer camp — where a quick look back can be an important, even lifesaving, reminder of the responsibilities that come with driving kids, counselors, or oneself.

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When I was a child, in the 1950s, children were far freer than they are today. By the time I was five, I could go anywhere in town, on foot or bicycle, without adult accompaniment. My family moved often, and in every town I found a new, different culture of childhood. In one town, when I was eight and nine, we made and flew crazy-looking kites, and we played endless games of baseball with our own made-up rules to fit the odd-shaped vacant lot and the motley, age-mixed group of players.

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Fighting for Free Play
Published Date: 2014-11-01

It seems a tug-of-war is going on in Canada. On one side are those who, in the name of safety and reducing liability, want to mandate the risk right out of childhood activities and free play time. On the other side are those who believe free play and safe risk-taking are vital to healthy childhood development.

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I love language. The beauty of a poem, the lyricism of a novel, the passion of a political speech, the sentiment of a heartfelt toast, the humor of standup comedy, and the simplicity of a handwritten letter are testaments to the expressive power of words. And although language is not uniquely human, the capacity to create an infinite number of utterances that follow a finite set of rules probably is. Every human language on the planet has a grammar that allows us to combine words in unique ways.

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Over the past 20 years, we’ve been asked often to help buyers and sellers of camps in transition. With very few exceptions in the industry, most will only buy and sell one time in their career, so there’s very little opportunity to put lessons learned to good use. And while camp folks are usually glad to talk about their programs and operations (that are running well), people seem a little reluctant to share their hard-earned “camp buying lessons.” Those lessons are kept highly secret, and each buyer (and seller) is left to repeat everyone else’s stumbles.

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Crises are not new to camps or to the camp movement. Two world wars, the Great Depression of the early 1930s, and a polio epidemic all tested the viability of camps and their camp association. Each crisis demanded an examination of possible approaches and tested the creativity of the movement.

Examination of four problematic periods in the past half-century of organized camps may add perspective to the recent American economic crisis and its long-term effect on camps, as well as the evolution of the American Camp Association (ACA).

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Girls today face a diverse range of challenges that can negatively affect their development. According to a recent report by the Girl Scouts of the USA (2013), such challenges include increased poverty rates and homelessness, physical violence (rape and sexual assault), low self-esteem and body image, bullying or aggression, lack of leadership opportunities, and feelings of depression and suicide. One way to help girls navigate these challenges is to provide opportunities to develop resilience skills.

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E.g., 2019-11-12