Resource Library

It was three years ago when I first wrote about the increasing levels of anxiety that camp directors were seeing in their staff (Ditter, 2016). At the time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta had been reporting that anxiety in children ages 13–18 was at a 40-year high (CDC, 2011). In a survey conducted by the American Camp Association’s Healthy Camps Committee after the summer of 2015, camp directors indicated that anxiety was their number one concern when it came to staff (Gaston, 2015).

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Presented by ACA, Illinois and Women in Camping, the Women in Camp Summit is a three-day professional development event of networking, discussion, and learning designed specifically for female-identifying individuals who work in or in support of camp. This year’s Women in Camp Summit takes place November 4–6 in St. Charles, Illinois.


Camping Magazine asked several of the summit organizers to weigh in on the reasons behind the Women in Camp Summit and the opportunities the event represents:

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Most of the time we encourage one another to think outside the box. In the case of major donor relationships in the camp environment, I encourage you to think squarely within it! The box is the period between the beginning of camp and the day your campers leave. It is when the eight months of precamp effort is palpable and alive, and activities best narrate program impact. Seeing, smelling, tasting, and observing campers and staff in action is more powerful than any video or choreographed home/office visit.

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Resource Roundup for Camp Professionals
Published Date: 2019-08-30

Parents traditionally look to teachers, school counselors, and religious leaders for guidance and resources about raising kids. Typically, parents wouldn’t think to seek resources and guidance from summer camp professionals. It’s time to take seriously our important role in partnering with parents by sharing resources about child development, youth trends, and best practices when working with young people.

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It was 1995. TLC, Alanis Morissette, and Boyz II Men were riding high in the music charts. Apollo 13 and the original Toy Story were in the movie theaters. Michael Jordan made his return to the NBA. Bill Clinton was in the White House. And I was moving up, going from seasonal staff to full time at a camp.

With this new role came new responsibilities — as a supervisor, as a communicator, and as an educator. I no longer had the luxury of having the backup of a camp leadership team. I was now part of that camp leadership team.

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In the November 2018 issue of Camping Magazine, Lenny Silberman predicted that within the next five years, every summer resident and day camp in the United States would be including esports as part of their programming. Given Silberman’s highly successful career, I wouldn’t bet against him. Esports are indeed a booming industry, with double-digit growth in participants and profits. Silberman lays out, in eye-opening detail, the size of the potential market and the marketing and competitive reasons to embrace esports within summer camp.

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By now many of you have heard of ACA’s 5-Year Impact Study, a national research project focused on the lasting impacts of camp among campers and staff. We described the study and its research questions in the January/February 2019 issue of Camping Magazine and explored the first of four preliminary themes in a March/April 2019 article focused on independence and responsibility.

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“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Ralphie Parker’s mother, teacher, and even Santa Claus uttered five words of warning in the 1983 classic movie A Christmas Story. All Ralphie wanted for Christmas was “an official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle with a special sight and a compass in the stock with a sundial!” The perfect gun for “pranging ducks . . . and getting off spectacular hip shots” (Shepherd, Clark, & Brown, 1982).

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On Becoming an Innovator at Camp
Published Date: 2019-07-01

As the late behavioral psychologist Carl Jung once wrote, “The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites.” Some of the most memorable moments at camp occur when we are awakened by self-realizations of who we uniquely are and how we might work with others to collectively innovate the world.

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Over the past 20 years, we’ve been asked often to help buyers and sellers of camps in transition. With very few exceptions in the industry, most will only buy and sell one time in their career, so there’s very little opportunity to put lessons learned to good use. And while camp folks are usually glad to talk about their programs and operations (that are running well), people seem a little reluctant to share their hard-earned “camp buying lessons.” Those lessons are kept highly secret, and each buyer (and seller) is left to repeat everyone else’s stumbles.

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