Resource Library

Wildfire!
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Since moving to Montana from Pennsylvania several years ago, I’ve become much more attuned to the threat of wildfires, and have begun to learn more about what can be done to safeguard the people inside structures and limit damage at the same time. Our home is now at the very edge of the service area for a fine volunteer fire department, but there are surely limits to how quickly they can respond. Just last October, fire took our neighbors’ home, and it reminded us that living on the prairie has hazards and risks along with the wonders it brings.

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Did you know that two out of every three adults have experienced at least one adverse childhood event (ACE) by the time they reach 18 years of age? In addition, one in eight adults reports experiencing four or more ACEs by age 18 (CDC, 2018). What are ACEs? They include experiencing emotional, sexual, and/or physical abuse; chronically feeling unloved or unwanted; the divorce or separation of one’s care-givers; and living with substance abuse or other mental health issues in the home.

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"Smile"
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Dear Bob:

I am a camp director at a sleepaway camp in the Midwest. We have multiple sessions of two weeks each throughout the summer. At the start of each session I notice that our staff almost seem like the proverbial deer in the headlights when the new campers arrive. After all we cover during staff training they almost don’t know how to connect comfortably with their new crop of campers. Do you have any ideas that might help?

Muddled in Michigan

Dear Muddled,

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In 2005, the American Camp Association (ACA) published the first large-scale national research project assessing the youth development outcomes of children who attend day and resident camps in the summer. Children between the ages of eight and 14 from 80 ACA-accredited day and resident camps participated in the study. Results indicated the camp experience was a positive influence on youth development in four domains: positive identity, physical and thinking skills, social skills, and positive values and spirituality.

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Each year, ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that embody the award’s namesake by developing superior programming that effectively and creatively addresses the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We commend the 2018 winners. They are all definitive proof of the might of camp programs to equip campers of all abilities with the resiliency and belief to build better futures for themselves and their communities.

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Safe Haven for Learning
Published Date: 2018-07-01

A decade ago, an awkward, uncertain bus ride took me somewhere I never expected to go. My physical destination was camp, where a throng of excited kids would gather for outdoor adventure and adolescent experiences. But what I hadn’t anticipated was the other ride I was about to take — the journey.

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Fires are a potential hazard for camps located in wooded areas and urban areas alike. How camps respond and communicate to camp families and the community when a fire does occur can go a long way to alleviating any safety fears or panic, especially if a fire occurs while camp is in session.

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Evaluating Bereavement Camps
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Spending time in nature is often therapeutic and provides many benefits, such as improving cognitive functioning (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008) and improving memory (Berto, 2005). Spending time in a camp setting can cultivate honesty, respect, and trust (American Camp Association, 2005). No wonder, then, that several specialty camps have been developed over the past decades. Camps now exist for children with diabetes, cancer, and attention deficit disorder, just to mention a few.

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The culture of camps is deeply rooted in being places where kids not only have fun, but where they connect socially. Today, camps are taking on greater importance and many are focused on specialized programs such as academic, athletic, musical, or the performing arts. Each type of specialized camp has great effect on the development of young bodies and minds. Looking at the whole child and growth opportunities may bring families to a decision tailored to their children’s specific interests when it comes to choosing a camp program.

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Congratulations! You committed to working at camp this summer, and the director and/or team who hired you have been anticipating your arrival since you signed on the dotted line! It is completely normal to have cold feet and wonder if you made the right decision to spend your summer at camp, similar to the feelings of the campers you will soon meet who will be embarking on this adventure as well. Before the butterflies in your stomach get the best of you, know that commitment is a two-way street.

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