Resource Library

As camp professionals we've got a lock on how to plan for, organize, and deliver high-quality summer learning programs for children and young adults. Amidst the rush of preparing our staff to be effective counselors of youth, establish meaningful mentoring relationships, and model such important constructs as sensitivity, positive risk-taking, conflict resolution, and leadership, we may unwittingly lose sight of the fact that one of the most seminal achievements of our work is creating communities — year after year.

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Running a camp is challenging. Running a camp in the United States, where violent events occupy the 24-hour news cycle, is even more difficult. There are so many risks and expectations to manage.

The emotional, physical, and financial impacts of violent events, such as the recent attacks in Parkland, Santa Fe, and the YouTube Headquarters, make the exposure top of mind for camp owners, directors, staff, and parents.

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I was at the end of a full day of training 300 group leaders (GLs) at the San Diego YMCA in early May 2018. I ended with a story that I hoped would portray a deeper sense of friendship that campers can develop in the emotionally safe, tech-free space of a typical camp. I was also trying to give those eager GLs a glimpse of the kind of impact they could have on some of the over 10,000 campers who would be coming through the San Diego County Y day and resident camp programs in the next several months.

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2016), 8.5 percent of school-aged children are receiving specialized education services, not including those students with specific learning disabilities. Yet, in 2012, campers with disabilities represented only 3 percent of campers attending Jewish overnight camps (Laszlo Strategies, 2013). This implies that a large number of children are not benefiting from the life-enriching and joyful experience of overnight camp.

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Richard, a camper in the 1950s, recently returned to Camp Manito-wish YMCA where he spent five summers as a youth. The camp recently commemorated its 100th summer with a celebration for the ages, and while he enjoyed his nostalgic walk through camp immensely, Richard said the Paul Bunyan Breakfast resonated with him the most.

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Building Community through Camp
Published Date: 2018-09-01

For children and families who feel isolated or misunderstood, camp can offer the connectivity and support needed to finally feel like part of a community.

It takes a village.

No man is an island.

Better together.

There is no shortage of sentiments about the power of community — and there is no place where that is more evident than at camp. Around the world, camps are creating communities of support for children and young adults who feel sidelined or isolated because of a personal condition, challenge, or circumstance.

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Camp Legends: For Love of Camp and Country
Published Date: 2018-09-01

A Personal Perspective by Jay Jacobs

My world is like a collision of two parallel universes — my camp world and my political world. It’s like people see me as Superman and Clark Kent at the same time. Superman — not because I’m in any way “super,” but because in my camp life I run around daily doing ridiculous things always dressed in the exact same outfit. And Clark Kent, because in my political life I walk around like the stiff that most people think I am. But I thought now would be a good opportunity to debunk that image with a story about what I really do at camp.

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Positive Discipline
Published Date: 2018-09-01

Camp has changed significantly since my first year as a counselor in 1989. Advancements include: online registration, drones shooting video footage, cool water trampolines and climbing devices, overnight camps with shorter sessions, and day camp programs growing in numbers every summer. But some of the biggest advancements across the industry are not as obvious. Focusing on child development has become the priority for camps that want to have a long-term positive impact on children’s lives.

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Camp Includes Me Series

This feature article is part of an ongoing series of articles in Camping Magazine that will focus on inclusion, diversity, and cross-cultural agility to share in our individual communities and out in the world.

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