Resource Library

In the early ’80s, I graduated from high school and made a simple but life-changing decision. It was May and I hadn’t yet made plans for the summer. My mom encouraged me to call my former camp directors, Herman and Rodger, and inquire about a summer working at camp. I so enjoyed camp as a kid but had missed out on being a counselor-trainee because of other commitments. A summer working outside with kids as a junior counselor sounded great.

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I had made an early morning appointment with my chiropractor to help with some chronic lower back problems. Given my usual busy schedule, I made it for 8 a.m. — the first available appointment he offers in the morning — so I would have plenty of time to make it back to my office for a 9:30 a.m. appointment with a client of my own.

When I arrived at my chiropractor’s office at 7:59, I was greeted by his secretary. She asked me to have a seat and told me that “Dr. Jim” would be with me soon. At 8:15 I asked her calmly, “Is Jim here?”

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Nurses newly hired for your camp’s health center need orientation. What they need to know differs from the orientation needed by general staff. Providing it is critical to a smoothly functioning health center. But what should a camp professional explain to a newly hired camp nurse? In essence, everything. Even nurses who have worked at a different camp need orientation to your camp’s policies and practices. Come to think of it, returning nurses may need orientation too.

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“The number-one reason I found that parents don’t send their children to summer camp is that parents fear their child will be sexually abused while at camp,” said writer Allison Slater Tate. The gasp was audible as she finished her sentence. A room full of camp directors at the Tristate Camp Conference in 2015 shook their heads and began to murmur. Tate quieted the room and continued to explain how she conducted an informal poll among her friends and acquaintances and shared direct quotes of their responses of fear to her questions about camp.

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In examining the etiology behind the widely diagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), one school of thought, championed by Thom Hartmann, author of the Complete Guide to ADHD, speaks to the concept of “hunters and farmers in modern society.” This approach describes ADHDers as “leftover hunters,” positing that, from an evolutionary perspective, people were either hunters (heads on a swivel, looking for prey and seeking to not become prey) or farmers (methodically planting seeds and plowing fields).

And then there’s the present.

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Solving the Certification Mystery
Published Date: 2018-01-01

With ominous dread, our kitchen crew expected “the visit” any day now. Health inspector drop-ins typically occur in the midst of summer camp chaos, the busiest time of year for camp professionals. This time was no exception. With clipboard in hand, the inspector slowly and deliberately migrated from station to station, dwelling a bit longer in some areas. After the inspector handed over our well-graded inspection report, said goodbye, and the kitchen door slammed behind her, my kitchen staff released audible sighs. “YES! We can relax now.”

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This article is part of Camping Magazine’s series on inclusion, identifying and exploring both big picture and on-the-ground actionable pathways for application through participant reflection, discussion, and active engagement. Contact Niambi Jaha-Echols (njechols@gmail.com) if you would like to participate or contribute to this series.

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Great Things Have Small Beginnings
Published Date: 2018-01-01

In 1861, Frederick W. Gunn and his wife, Abigail, took their students on a two-week summer camping trip. The very popular program was repeated for the next several years — a small thing that is credited as the first summer camp. As the idea gained momentum for this new summer experience, more camps opened and, in 1910, some of the camp directors came together and founded the Camp Directors Association of America. This evolved into the American Camp Association (ACA). Today the association has over 14,000 members and 3,100 camps.

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Building an Army of Asking Ants
Published Date: 2018-01-01

Ant colonies have been used throughout history as models of industry. As a collective, ants are efficient, surprisingly intelligent, and are among the very few animals that organize themselves to collectively carry loads far heavier than an individual member of their species. Ants working together have an astonishing ability to mix collective muscle with individual initiative, and can adjust their course and outcomes based on intelligence provided by a single ant joining the effort.

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The Good Reminder
Published Date: 2018-01-01

Spring is a time of renewal and hope, and nowhere is this hopefulness more evident than in our chosen profession. As camp professionals, we catalog time by the changing of the seasons. Summer speaks for itself as we manage that magnificent chaos that can be summer camp. Fall for many of us is a season of reflection and rest, and winter is the season of planning and preparation. But spring? Spring is the season when we begin putting it all together.

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