Resource Library

Every spring, the American Camp Association® (ACA) takes the pulse on enrollment trends followed by a fall survey that determines how enrollments actually went for that summer. In the spring of 2009, directors were nervous about the impact of the economic downturn in the U.S. on enrollments. Our early snapshot showed a camp community that was braced for a severe decrease in campers (48 percent anticipating lower enrollments).

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The power grid has gone down.
Forest fire is threatening the camp property.
The water supply is contaminated.
There's been an industrial spill, and camp must be evacuated.
Critical computer systems have been hacked into.

These crises — all stemming from sources outside camp — are getting more attention from camp professionals. We used to focus most on incidents that were camp-bound, incidents such as a lost camper, a waterfront emergency, or a building fire. But in today's world, we must also attend to events arising from the external community.

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As camp professionals become more effective risk managers, the need to periodically review camper and staff injury and illness events is a given. One of the best sources of this information is a health center’s log. Knowing why people seek healthcare not only provides an indicator about the effectiveness of risk management strategies, but can also inform incoming nurses about anticipated camper and staff needs, help determine if medical protocols cover anticipated injuries and illnesses, and inform decisions about what supplies are needed in the health center.

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The Healthy Camp Study has been completed. As a result, the camp community now has an initial understanding of camp injury/illness events founded on evidence. This understanding is already making an important difference in the quest to make camp an even healthier experience. The good news is that, based on data, camp is as safe as or safer than many other youth activities (see Table 1). Attention to risk management, thorough staff training coupled with effective supervision, and rigorous incident analysis all contribute to improving a given camp's risk profile.
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Camp as Vital Engagement
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More and more children are trading true engagement for electronic connection. What are the costs and how does camp counter this trend?

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In my final few weeks of college, I spent a lot of time working on resumes. Or, more specifically, I spent a lot of time working on one resume — over and over again. A resume shouldn’t be too complicated; it’s basically just a short, professional autobiography.

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In May 1971, the Five Man Electrical Band's "Signs" peaked at number eighteen on the rock and pop charts. For the unfamiliar, it's about excluding others through signs like job descriptions that refer to applicants' appearance or prohibiting trespassing. And while laws have changed with the times, signs still set the tone for the impressions that people build. In this column, we're going to look at how signs to, at, and around camp can improve the experience of your neighbors, visitors, camp families, and staff.

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Imagine a camp program with the power to improve the academic and social behavior of participants and to positively impact participants’ readiness for work, social development, and lifelong learning. All camp administrators herald this program vision for campers, but what about for staff? Camp can positively impact young staff as well. It happens through a program otherwise known as a seasonal job.

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Our uncertain economic times serve as a reminder that the business of camp is full of change. When society, environments, and circumstances change, camp directors and owners are challenged to identify how the changes impact the risk in their camp community.
 

Managing Change and Evolving Risk

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This may seem like an unusual subject for an article on camp counseling, but as you read on, I think you'll find it actually is a most relevant topic. Consider this: Anyone can perform well when things are going his or her way and circumstances make it easy. It is a rare person, though, who can continue to perform at his or her best, even when things aren't going their way.

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E.g., 2019-10-21
E.g., 2019-10-21