Resource Library

What I Learned in the Woods
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I spent the las t four summers of my life hidden behind a mass of trees and rolling hills. Separated from civilization by mere miles, I entered a world that sent my imagination whirling and my sense of reality to a screeching halt. As I woke every morning to the reminder of hundreds of trees waving and undulating over the expanse of nettles and clovers, I somehow had to convince myself that this place really existed. My heart still owns much of those 200 acres, where even the smell of rotting forest only serves to remind me of what it will become.

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A camp director is stumped by negative changes observed in a veteran camper. Juan first came to camp as an energetic and enthusiastic eight-year-old. This year, at age fifteen, he walks away from opening campfire, telling his counselors that his mother made him come to camp. He would have preferred hanging out with his friends and wants to go home. Juan is furious when his cell phone is taken away from him according to camp policy. For the next few days he mopes around camp, disengaged and unenthusiastic.

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In the Trenches
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Dear Bob,
 
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I don't want to play. I hate kickball. — Sophia, age five

Ben doesn't like me. He's always mad at me. — Betrand, age nine

This place stinks. All the activities are stupid. — Asa, age twelve

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It was July 1967, so the story goes, on parents’ weekend in Fairlee, Vermont. A group of camp parents whose children were sleeping soundly at Aloha, Aloha Hive, and Lanakila enjoyed cocktails on the porch of the resort across the lake. As they sipped and visited, a quiet word was passed through the group: The Gulick Family was thinking of closing their camps!

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What About the Children?
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Over the past five decades, I have attended and presented sessions at many conferences, seminars, and educational events offered by the Maine Youth Foundation; ACA, New England; and ACA national. I served for six years on the Editorial Advisory Committee for Camping Magazine. Out of all the issues that are discussed, the question for me has always been: "What about the children?"

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Imagine a camp program with the power to improve the academic and social behavior of participants and to positively impact participants’ readiness for work, social development, and lifelong learning. All camp administrators herald this program vision for campers, but what about for staff? Camp can positively impact young staff as well. It happens through a program otherwise known as a seasonal job.

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Social cruelty, or bullying, has reached the level of “life and death.” With summer 2012 now here, parents are asking questions about how camp counselors and staff are being trained to keep their children safe. Please note that the parental question is clearly focused on direct caregivers — not on camp administration. Since school teachers have essentially been unsuccessful in preventing bullying nationwide, parents and guardians are not prepared to either waste their money or have their child victimized in a day or residential program.

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Our uncertain economic times serve as a reminder that the business of camp is full of change. When society, environments, and circumstances change, camp directors and owners are challenged to identify how the changes impact the risk in their camp community.
 

Managing Change and Evolving Risk

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Long-range planning and facilities management are important parts of maintaining camp assets and building a better community environment for staff and campers alike. Collaborating with a professional architectural and planning group can help camps learn more about their property, which will aid them in planning for the future and optimizing the use of their facility.

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E.g., 2020-07-10
E.g., 2020-07-10