Resource Library

An Interview with Nancy Cheever, PhD

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The Making of a Lifelong Camper
Published Date: 2018-07-02

I started going to camp when I was six, or more accurately, I was sent to camp at six years old. I was dropped off on the shores of Lake George for two weeks without any prep, and let’s just say it was not the most enjoyable transition. What I didn’t know as a small child was that my mom sent me to camp to keep me out of the house during a divorce proceeding at home. Camp was meant to protect me.

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"Smile"
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Dear Bob:

I am a camp director at a sleepaway camp in the Midwest. We have multiple sessions of two weeks each throughout the summer. At the start of each session I notice that our staff almost seem like the proverbial deer in the headlights when the new campers arrive. After all we cover during staff training they almost don’t know how to connect comfortably with their new crop of campers. Do you have any ideas that might help?

Muddled in Michigan

Dear Muddled,

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In 2005, the American Camp Association (ACA) published the first large-scale national research project assessing the youth development outcomes of children who attend day and resident camps in the summer. Children between the ages of eight and 14 from 80 ACA-accredited day and resident camps participated in the study. Results indicated the camp experience was a positive influence on youth development in four domains: positive identity, physical and thinking skills, social skills, and positive values and spirituality.

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Each year, ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that embody the award’s namesake by developing superior programming that effectively and creatively addresses the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We commend the 2018 winners. They are all definitive proof of the might of camp programs to equip campers of all abilities with the resiliency and belief to build better futures for themselves and their communities.

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Safe Haven for Learning
Published Date: 2018-07-01

A decade ago, an awkward, uncertain bus ride took me somewhere I never expected to go. My physical destination was camp, where a throng of excited kids would gather for outdoor adventure and adolescent experiences. But what I hadn’t anticipated was the other ride I was about to take — the journey.

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Fires are a potential hazard for camps located in wooded areas and urban areas alike. How camps respond and communicate to camp families and the community when a fire does occur can go a long way to alleviating any safety fears or panic, especially if a fire occurs while camp is in session.

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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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The culture of camps is deeply rooted in being places where kids not only have fun, but where they connect socially. Today, camps are taking on greater importance and many are focused on specialized programs such as academic, athletic, musical, or the performing arts. Each type of specialized camp has great effect on the development of young bodies and minds. Looking at the whole child and growth opportunities may bring families to a decision tailored to their children’s specific interests when it comes to choosing a camp program.

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At lunchtime, youthful chefs ages nine to 12 gather around tables in the camp dining room with knives in their hands and plastic cutting boards in front of them. Trying to follow directions in the noisy room, they cut up kielbasa sausage, red potatoes, onions, and peppers. Wielding sharp metal skewers like swords, they thread their cut-up foods onto the tines. Heading outside in a rush, they flock to a low, metal trough filled with burning hot coals. They hold their shish kabobs over the heat. Sizzling sounds and delicious smells fill the air.

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E.g., 2019-10-23