Resource Library

Your Field of Dreams?
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There is no "great camp" without "great programming." And while there are many great programs that require almost no facility support at all (what do you really need for a campfire sing-along?), the right property improvements can surely enhance campers' experiences. Yet far too often, those supporting facilities — even very fancy and expensive ones — seem mismatched to the programs that they're intended to support. Too large, too small, too sophisticated, and even too remote are all descriptions of fields, buildings, and activity areas that simply do not match the programs that they host.

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A camp director is stumped by negative changes observed in a veteran camper. Juan first came to camp as an energetic and enthusiastic eight-year-old. This year, at age fifteen, he walks away from opening campfire, telling his counselors that his mother made him come to camp. He would have preferred hanging out with his friends and wants to go home. Juan is furious when his cell phone is taken away from him according to camp policy. For the next few days he mopes around camp, disengaged and unenthusiastic.

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In the Trenches
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Dear Bob,
 
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Camp professionals know that camp provides the opportunity to teach life-long skills, such as creative thinking, decision making, and getting along with others. By developing goals for your program and anticipated outcomes for your campers, you can ensure that your camp program will give kids a world of good.

The seven life skills that follow have been identified by the 4-H program as being essential for productive and happy lives. Consider how these life skills might have a place in your camp program.

Creative Thinking

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Introduction

Nationally, 4‑H camp programs often utilize the leadership and energy of teenage camp counselors (ages fourteen to eighteen) to plan and conduct local and area 4‑H camp programs. Since the value of camp to campers has been well documented in Missouri and elsewhere (University of Missouri, 2007), one must ask the next logical question: What value does serving as a 4‑H camp counselor hold for teens?

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Last summer, I was hanging out with a group of our oldest campers, many of whom have attended since they were four or five years old. As I’m constantly thinking of program improvement, I asked these camp veterans what suggestions they would make for the upcoming summer. After many clever ideas, one quieter young man spoke up: “Whatever you do, don’t change it too much. It always feels like home, and you can’t do anything to mess that up!”

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Social skills and self-efficacy are fundamental processes and necessary for individuals in everyday life. Seeking employment, living independently, making friends, and trying new activities
all require social skills and self-efficacy. Empirical studies have found that outdoor residential camps improve these areas of development in children and youth because of the social encounters, new activities, independence, and leadership opportunities provided by enthusiastic and supportive staff (Thurber, Scanlin, Scheuler, and Henderson 2007).

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Dear Bob,

We are a coed resident camp operating in the mountains. It seems that every summer we have campers who aren’t really ready for the demands of group living in what is the intense social and physical environment that is our camp. We have found that some parents want to send their children because they believe we can help them make the friends they’ve never been able to make at home.

Without being too confrontational and scaring away what might otherwise be great campers, how do we determine whether a child is truly ready for the community living that is our camp?

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Campers and staff have equal opportunity to be injured at camp because they spend their days, (and in resident camps, their nights) engaged in the same activities of camp life. Since they are exposed to the same risks, they experience similar patterns of injury. The exceptions of course are kitchen and maintenance staff members, who are engaged in other risky activities.

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Homesickness is something that every counselor, activity instructor, nurse, administrative staff, and director will deal with at camp. It’s an inevitable phenomenon. What are the best ways to deal with homesickness or, more importantly, to prevent the onset?

Prevention Is the Best Medicine

Planning activities that help campers get to know other campers and showing them around the camp grounds helps campers get familiar with the facility and the people and makes them feel more at home. Often such activities can help prevent homesickness.

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Pages

E.g., 2019-08-26
E.g., 2019-08-26