Resource Library

Starfish Values Program
Published Date: 2002-09-01

Moral education — the training of heart and mind toward the good — involves many things. It involves rules and precepts - the do's and don'ts of life with others - as well as explicit instructions, exhortations, and training. If we want our children to possess the traits of character we most admire, we need to teach them what those traits are and why they deserve both admiration and allegiance.
— William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues

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In the summer of 2001, Congressional Camp found itself hip deep in allergies. Of the 490 campers on our campus, 222 had identified allergies. This fact left us limp and sweaty with concern . . . and it wasn't because of the humid Virginia summers.

We knew that food allergies never take a break, never rest, never leave well enough alone, and never forgive a tiny transgression - "just this one time." The worry about an exquisitely allergic child is continuous - for the parents and for our director and staff.

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"I'm a survivor, I'm going to make it; I'm going to work hard; I'm not going to give up. I'm a survivor, I'm going to make it. . . ."

The music from this popular song played in the background as the campers arrived at Pavilion B. We were completing the final preparations for camp . . . medical check, inventory of personal gear, packing the group gear, and saying good-bye to the parents. Little did we know that this was to become our theme song. After all, we were adventure campers. We were going to do things other people didn't think we could do.

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Sending a child to camp, whether it's a day or resident camp, can be a scary proposition for parents. After all, they are entrusting us with their most precious possessions. They want assurance that we are as concerned for their children as they are themselves - that we will keep them safe under any circumstances. Communication is an invaluable tool to assure parents that their children are safe.

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Forest Fire: A Crisis Reality for Camp
Published Date: 2002-03-01

During the summer of 2000, two camps located in the western United States faced the challenging crisis of forest fire. Don Brown and Rhonda Mickelson share their experiences.

Please describe the event.

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Marketing Matters: The Parent Perspective
Published Date: 2001-09-01

Marketing your camp often involves communicating with parents who are not experts at the selection process. In many cases, you are presenting your camp’s story to people who have never before made such a choice. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s call these people “neophytes,” defined as a novice or a beginner.

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Challenging children are not out to get you — they are out to get their needs met. While there will be moments when it may seem precisely as if they are out to get you, more often than not, campers' challenging behavior serves a function, and understanding that function is instrumental in your efforts to deal with them effectively. What are those functions and needs? Research, common sense, and observations suggest some common answers: power, attention, security, and love.

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The health center is a critical link in developing and maintaining a safe environment for your campers. However, providing adequate care to an active young population can be challenging. How should your health center be set up to best serve your campers? The following ideas will help you evaluate your health center and determine how you can provide adequate care while teaching campers personal responsibility.

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"The resilient child is one who works well, plays well, loves well, and expects well."

Norman Garmezy

When we talk about youth, we too often use negative terms: what we would like them to stop doing. We want them to stop using drugs, stop drinking, stop dropping out of school, stop having sex, stop getting pregnant, stop being violent, and stop committing other delinquent acts. In short, we would like them to stop having problems - and stop being problems.

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Teenagers and Sexuality at Camp
Published Date: 2000-09-01

As a psychiatrist who specializes in working with teens, I hear "it" discussed often - quietly, tentatively at first, until the teen decides that I am "OK." Usually the words are whispered until the teen feels more trusting . . . Does this doctor really want to hear what I have to say about this or is she going to give me a lecture? Can I ask her my questions or will she think I'm stupid? I bet she never had this problem. In fact, I bet no one has every had this problem, but maybe I could tell her it was some other kid, not me . . . never me.

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