Resource Library

When Competition Is Just Right
Published Date: 2018-11-01

"I don't want my child to take part in this contest you've dreamed up," a visiting parent told me on the grounds of my camp. "I don't want him to lose. He's not good at this." She pointed out to the playing field where campers were practicing throwing bamboo spears, hurling rock ‘shot puts,' and leaping over high jump crossbars."

"It's called the 'Primitive Olympics,'" I explained. "Everyone is excited about it. Including your son."

She frowned out at the activity on the field. "But he can't do these things. He'll lose."

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World-Class Career Development
Published Date: 2018-11-01

Imagine a fun college summer working at camp, where, as with any other internship, young adults gain knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience while making important connections for their future. Summers working at camp practicing career-enriching, human performance competencies are more valuable to young people than ever before.

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Why I Hate Parenting Books
Published Date: 2018-11-01

The mother standing next to me was not my own, which was fine. I was seven when I visited the Washington Monument for the first time, with both my parents. The next time, at 43, I was the married parent of two boys, ages five and seven.

"Typical," said the mother, gazing up. Or was she rolling her eyes? "It's totally phallic." The pedantic linguist in me wanted to quip: "None of the other monuments and memorial sculptures in Washington, DC are obelisks. That makes it atypical, lady."

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A Sample of Issues from Camp 2018
Published Date: 2018-11-01

I spend time with camp professionals from May to August consulting with directors on the more perplexing and complicated issues they face with campers, staff, or parents during the camp season. This year I met with or heard from 61 camp directors from around the country. Some of the issues I encountered included a heightened level of anxiety in both campers and staff. Many camp directors reported that they had several staff members who could not complete the season because of anxiety.

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A decade ago, the United States market voluntarily abandoned the long-standing wood preservative and treatment method where an arsenic and copper compound was forced into the fibers of the lumber. When the fluid was removed, this preservative was left behind and was extremely effective at retarding decay. The copper displaced water (and the microbes that cause rot), and the arsenic deterred wood-consuming insects like ants and termites. Contrary to popular belief, there was never any evidence that these chemicals would leach from the product or caused harm from splinters.

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In the middle of last summer, we received an update from our camp insurance agent about one of the biggest challenges facing camps in 2018 — camper and staff mental health issues. At that point in the season, we already had four teenage campers who had discussed suicidal thoughts with their counselors. We'd been conferring with parents, therapists, and social workers at the local hospital to ensure the campers' safety, and ultimately, we were able to navigate each situation successfully. These incidents, however, highlight an alarming and uncomfortable trend.

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Research is more than surveys, interviews, and statistics — it can be a valuable tool to use when designing camp programs, training staff, or in your marketing efforts. But it's also a critical tool for understanding how camp fits into the lives of today's youth. Research suggests that growing up in 2018 can be confusing, difficult, and complex, which means that kids need places where they can experience a different way of being. Summer camps might be the place. Here are findings of three research studies that you can use to make sure your camp is a place apart.

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Camp Includes Me Series

This feature article is part of an ongoing series of articles in Camping Magazine that will focus on inclusion, diversity, and cross-cultural agility to share in our individual communities and out in the world.

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Preparing for Happiness in Career and Life
Published Date: 2018-09-01

Some of the best times of my life have been my carefree summers swimming, exploring, sharing, and making friends as a child at camp. But many of my life’s greatest lessons were learned over six summers working on camp staff. As a newly minted staff member recently graduated from high school, I strived to become part of the model community I found in our camp’s staff culture. Selflessness, servant leadership, and teamwork were encouraged and celebrated. I learned the more you gave of yourself to camp, the more you received in return.

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Natalie, the camp baker, was spontaneously thrust into finishing the meat entrée after Shayla announced that she had a family emergency and ran out the door, leaving the pork loin in the oven. Natalie was ServSafe certified two years ago but suddenly drew a blank trying to remember the cooked temperature requirement for pork loin. The food service manager was away on vacation, as summer camp had ended two weeks ago. In your kitchen, would Natalie have written standard operating procedures (SOPs) where she could find the information needed for the safety of your campers or guests?

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