Resource Library

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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Throughout the year, Camping Magazine publishes articles for full-time camp professionals. Once a year, it is written specifically for you — the camp staff who are on the front lines doing the intricate work that makes camp come alive and makes the experience so magical and successful for children.

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As an artist and owner of the creativity center Mijiza (Swahili for “she works with her hands”), Niambi Jaha-Echols did not always have the dream of founding a nonprofit organization devoted to the transformation and personal development of girls and women of African descent. However, when presented with requests from multiple organizations to work creatively with girls of African descent, Jaha-Echols found harrowingly few resources available to help her understand the development of these girls.

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The time has come to get rid of the desks in neat rows, get creative, look outside the box, and bring the camp experience to the classroom. Kids need the chance to develop life skills, develop strong character, and create their own knowledge through authentic learning experiences that allow them to be creative problem-solvers all year round — not just for a week in the summer. The education system in the United States is failing to meet these needs in today's students. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan referred to low achieving schools as "dropout factories." The U.S.

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Low Tech and Lovin’ It!
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Another summer at camp has come and gone. It was my twenty-seventh. The mouth-watering smells and tastes of a campfire cookout. The life-long friendships. The hikes in the woods. And before I knew it, I was sitting back in my chair at school. The old saying is true: "Good things never seem to last"; though the memories last forever.

I teach high school technology. An oxymoron if there ever was one from a camp veteran such as myself; one of my favorite cabins doesn't even have electric lights.

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In 2006, US students ranked twenty-first out of thirty in science literacy and twenty-fifth out of thirty in math literacy among developed countries. A recent announcement by the Obama administration to alter No Child Left Behind has been welcomed by many parents and educators across the nation. Yet, within the camp community, implications of school reform, summer learning, and re-structuring our public education system have been met with more questions than answers.

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"You learn about things that you do not learn about in school. It's actual reality and not sugar-coated. We learned how to work together. In school, they tell you to work together. I learned that when you work in a team, you have your own rights. If you have a good idea and another person has a good idea, you can actually accomplish what you want to do instead of it crashing."
— Mabel, Camp Fiver camper, age thirteen

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2011: A Year in Review
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As a community of youth development and camp professionals, our work will never be done. Each day, we strive to reach children and youth with intentional, life-changing camp experiences — and to make those camp experiences the best they can possibly be.

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The year 2020 seems so distant, and yet our goal as a collection of camp professionals is to serve 20 million campers by that year. So how do we get there? I have long been a proponent that programs sell camps — not Web sites, not brochures, and certainly not e-mail blasts (all of which are still important marketing tools). Anywhere from 60–80 percent of your campers came to you in their first year because they heard from someone else about your amazing program, how fun it was, or how many friends they made.
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As a camp counselor, your job is among the most important responsibilities anywhere - parents have entrusted their children to you. You have the charge of not only making sure they are safe, but of nurturing their development.

Nurturing campers' development includes having clear ideas of the kinds of behaviors you want to encourage. Some positive behaviors that can be taught at camp are:

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