Resource Library

Case Studies Reveal Camper Growth
Published Date: 1999-01-01

Every year camp directors receive letters from campers’ parents describing growth experiences that began at camp and have continued to impact their son’s or daughter’s life in the home and community. Counselors often note similar descriptions of growth in the same campers during program sessions. Most likely, though, camp administrators do not include these testimonials and descriptions of change in evaluations of their camp program. In other words, the data are available, are recognized as important, but probably aren’t being effectively utilized.

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While at camp, counselors often become campers' surrogate parents. You monitor their diets, bedtimes, and whether they brush their teeth. You cheer for them when they master a new skill and discipline them when they break a rule. Classes exist to help parents become better parents. Counselors can benefit from this information as well. By following some of the advice from these classes, you can learn to better manage and more positively influence campers.

Parenting Styles

Decide what kind of camp counselor you will be. Do this prior to going to camp if possible.

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Preparing camp counselors for their role as staff members, community leaders, and knowledgeable caregivers is a daunting task. Many staff members are themselves students or adolescents unsure of the aspects of camp wellness, and they bring different beliefs and varied backgrounds to camp. As a camp director or administrator, you must teach them the importance of proper procedures when it comes to safety, OSHA, and dealing with daily camp health issues.

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It is the middle of the summer. You have probably already greeted many new and returning campers and have enjoyed some of the fun that camp offers. You have also probably discovered or rediscovered how much hard work it takes to be a good camp counselor! Like getting campers to clean up, help put equipment away, work together, wait their turn, ask for help, or any number of other things that kids typically don’t find fun.

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For years, camp professionals have touted the idea that camp is “a classroom without walls.” While models of camps connecting with education — such as school field trips or teaching environmental education — have been around for years, more and more camps are adding programs with academic value and increasing outreach to camper participants.

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“I Believe”
Published Date:

I believe that camp has the power to change lives.

I believe in camp as a place where all people are welcomed as individuals and accepted for who they are.

I believe in camp as a place where people are welcomed as part of a team and appreciated for what they give for the good of the whole.

I believe in camp as a place where lifelong friendships are created and people can make new connections with others.

I believe in camp as a place for wild spaces where people learn to respect, protect, enjoy, and give back to the natural world.

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Camp is often described as being a life-changing experience for children. The Directions research, conducted by the American Camp Association (ACA) in 2005, documented the significant growth in positive identity, social skills, thinking skills, and positive values that occurs during a camp session. Although the same type of research has not been conducted with adults, similar growth and change of attitudes has been reported anecdotally by adult participants in international gatherings.

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A Platform for Growth
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Day camps. Resident camps. Camps for girls only. Camps for boys only. Burn-victim camps. Camps for kids with cancer. Camps for kids who want to lose weight. Faith-based camps. Activity- or sports-specific camps. For-profit camps. Nonprofit camps. Truth be known, the list of different types of camps is virtually endless.

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Every child is unique. Every camp is unique. So, unique approaches when responding to the needs of children in camps are essential. Summer camps were started to support children during out-of-school time (Ozier, n. d.) and to offer survival skills for children to thrive in the real world, outside of the immediate relationship of their families. Summer camps are a valuable resource for all children, especially those who have a learning disability and have experienced trauma or situational factors such as homesickness and bullying.

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The benefits to youth from camping are well known by former campers, their parents, and camp directors. However, little research is available on the influence that an organized camping experience has on youth, mainly because there seems to be general agreement that camp is good for kids. A recent meta-analysis of the available research determined the state of knowledge on the influence that the organized camping experience has on the self-constructs: self-esteem, self-confidence, and other aspects of self. The results are good news for camping.

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E.g., 2019-11-15
E.g., 2019-11-15