Resource Library

“To you much has been given, and from you much is required.” Beyond their Biblical roots, these are certainly words for everyone to live by. Whether part of the year-round or seasonal staff, everyone at camp has a vested interest and shares in its smooth function and safe operation. Unfortunately, people tend to get tunnel vision, approaching their assigned camp tasks with blinders, either unaware or unwilling to step outside their routine to help things work better.

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I’ve been sorting through the piles of “stuff” on my desk. One of these was a stack of camp health ideas, incidents, and resources pertaining to topics that occasionally come up. These aren’t everyday matters; rather, they are situations that, when they occur, are definitely impactful. They typically receive limited planning consideration because they occur so infrequently. Perhaps it’s time to change that. With this in mind, read the following and address one or two topics with the appropriate people in your camp operation. Your effort now may result in better sleep when things happen.

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By the time Charles W. Eliot, former president of Harvard University, reportedly claimed in 1922, “the organized summer camp is the most important step in education that America has given the world,” camping in America already had a long history of embracing the educational value of the camp experience (Sharman, 1938). Now, almost a century later, the camp experience is once again at the precipice of education reform, standing at the crosssection of experiential learning and institutional schools.

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Sex is a topic that elicits such strong emotions in people that it often becomes difficult to have a clear, calm, rational conversation about it. When that conversation concerns the sexual behavior of children and teens, things get even more emotional. Lynn Ponton, a well-known adolescent psychiatrist in San Francisco who wrote the popular book The Romance of Risk (Basic Books, 1997) on adolescent risk-taking behavior, once told me how she unwittingly stepped into a maelstrom of controversy and criticism when she followed her best seller with another book titled The Sex Lives of Teenagers.

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Patience
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When I sat down to write this article, I could still hear Axl Rose (lead singer of the ’80s rock band Guns N’ Roses) whistling the opening of the group’s hit song “Patience” like it was yesterday. The chorus of the song went like this: “I need a little patience, yeeaaahhhh . . . Come on patience, yeeaahhhh.” As I processed that song and focused more intently on the word “patience,” I realized it is one of the most important words you will hear, learn, and, hopefully, put into practice this summer.

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Camp administration can influence the behavior of its staff, but it cannot control it. One of the most problematic emotions to occur in the camp setting is anger — an emotion that affects people in a multitude of ways. An impulsive action by a staff member can result in an injury to another person and even possibly damage the reputation of your camp.

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Since the outbreak of H1N1 during the summer of 2009, camps have been diligently updating their health and safety protocols and practices for the management of communicable diseases. By accessing and integrating information from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Camp Association® (ACA), the Association of Camp Nurses, and other related resources, camps are improving their health practices by incorporating new knowledge into their day-to-day health center operations.

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I once worked with cat. Not a “meow” cat, although that’s how she identified herself to me. She was a thirteen-year-old girl who insisted she was a cat. You can imagine how hard it was for her at summer camp, in a cabin full of very typical thirteen-year-old girls, being anything but typical (meow). As I worked through the various expressions of her cat-ness — complaints about the food, the bathroom, the waterfront, the lack of a scratching pole, etc. — it became pretty clear that she felt different and she didn’t know how to express it in any other way. So she was a cat.

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From Peg - May 2010
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At this time of year, the "Letter from Peg" is directed to camp staff and counselors as you prepare to enter the summer season. This year is no different.

During camp training and orientation, you will receive a great deal of content knowledge. This information will be very important to ensure you have a productive summer. But to be successful, it takes more than content knowledge. This is true of everything in our world today. We all need twenty-first century skills to be successful. John Dewey, a twentieth century educator said, "knowledge is no longer an immobile solid."

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