Resource Library

My mother crochets. Over tea in restaurants. In line at the airport. At the movies. If you can breathe there, my mom can crochet there. She crochets for friends, family, and perfect strangers. Literally. At the end of one flight to San Francisco, I watched her give a newly knotted Christmas stocking to the woman sitting next to her simply because the woman had said she liked it. That’s my mom in a nutshell. Or in a granny square. She’s eccentric, generous, and has mad skills for most things she sets her mind to. She was perseverant ages before it was trendy to have grit.

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Having managed hundreds of camp crises, we have come to realize that the majority of events that cause harm to people and reputations fall into four major categories: waterfront accidents, transportation accidents, communicable illness, and sexual misconduct. Camps, similar to the one you call home, have fallen victim to crises in all four categories.

As a staff member, it is your duty and responsibility to prevent as many injuries, accidents, and crises as possible during the camp season. You may be thinking a few things:

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Fostering friendships among campers is one of the most important goals of any summer camp program. As counselors, you will play a pivotal role in modeling and teaching your campers the skills they need to make friends, be a good friend to others, and maintain strong friendships.

The importance of your coaching young people in the areas of social and emotional skills has been highlighted in several studies, including the famous 80-year Harvard Study of Adult Development, which found that:

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Why are kids at camp so darn happy? It’s a relevant question as we embark upon another camp season. Of course, an important part of your job this summer will be to promote and enhance that happiness and to create a pathway for successful camper outcomes.

What do those outcomes look like?

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Congratulations! You committed to working at camp this summer, and the director and/or team who hired you have been anticipating your arrival since you signed on the dotted line! It is completely normal to have cold feet and wonder if you made the right decision to spend your summer at camp, similar to the feelings of the campers you will soon meet who will be embarking on this adventure as well. Before the butterflies in your stomach get the best of you, know that commitment is a two-way street.

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One of the best reasons to go to camp is to experience something new. Yet, at the same time, some of the unpleasant feelings experienced while at camp might be because we are new! It is a paradox. It is solvable. Those of us who are returning need to welcome the newbies into the feeling of being one of us.

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Camper Allyship
Published Date: 2018-05-01

Social Justice

This article is part of Camping Magazine's series on social justice, exploring social issues in the context of individual camps and the camp community as a whole as a way to spark further conversation and inspire positive change.

Contact Ann Gillard (anngillard@gmail.com) if you would like to participate or contribute to this series.

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The first time I can remember intentionally practicing empathy, I was an eight-year-old, first-time camper sitting in a circle with my counselors and cabinmates inside our cabin just before bed. It was maybe the third night of camp. I had settled into camp and started to realize how funny my counselors Barry, Chuck, and Tico were, and that camp could be a blast. Everyone was chattering over each other.

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The Quiet Ones
Published Date: 2018-05-01

Close your eyes and think of a scene at camp. There is probably some mix of singing, laughing, and playing where the adults are wearing costumes (seemingly related to nothing), the campers are engaged, and “camp” is happening. Take a quick survey of the adults in this scene. What are they doing?

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Bill Cosby.

Harvey Weinstein.

Lawrence Nassar.

Kevin Spacey.

Matt Lauer.

#MeToo.

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