Resource Library

Since the first days of organized camp for children over 150 years ago, camp administrators have been challenged to respond to emerging issues that impact the camp experience. Although the value of camp has changed little over the years, the ways that camps are organized and administered has continued to evolve, often in response to these issues.

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Each camper will be different. They will come from different backgrounds, different family structures, and different socio-economic classes. However, just as they are different, they are the same. All children develop in basically the same way and share certain developmental traits with other children their age. If you understand the typical behavior for an age group, you may be able to determine what is appropriate behavior and then chart your best course of interaction with them.

The Elementary Years

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Healthcare costs are out of control in our society, driven largely by Americans' lifestyles, attitudes regarding exercise, and unhealthy eating habits. These costs are exacerbated by our litigation-minded society, which forces medical professionals to practice defensive medicine. Add the expense of advances in medical science and technology, and costs will continue to spiral out of control for the foreseeable future.

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That Hollow Feeling

How do you distract yourself from that hollow feeling that looms in your gut the day after camp ends? Most camp professionals reset camp and brace themselves for the first post-season user group. Others take a vacation. Some participate in fall professional development conferences. And a few wander the property imagining improvements for next season. Whatever group you belong to, an essential postseason task for all camp owners and directors is to provide feedback to your staff.

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From Peter - January 2011
Published Date:

"Changing Lives — Enriching the World": These are simple words with challenging implications.

I thought of the words above, and how poignant this concept is for ACA at this time — especially as recent transitions remind us to recognize the work and accomplishments of our predecessors, and how we need to honor their pioneering spirit in order to stay present and relevant in the next 150 years.

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“That’s what camp’s all about” — a clever statement often heard around Camp Holiday Trails (CHT) in response to one of many daily moments of personal triumph. CHT means so many things to so many people; it is almost impossible to encapsulate all of what camp is about in any one event. Or so I thought before last summer, before I met Nile.

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Over the past few years, the scope of crisis response plans for many camp programs has expanded as camps share specific crisis experiences and network with other industries, such as schools and law enforcement agencies, to find solutions. In the past, crisis response plans at camps focused on child abuse; drownings or other activity-related deaths; vehicle wrecks; and environmental disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or fires.

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As a camp professional, I, like you, have literally thousands of affirming anecdotal stories — the camp experience is not discretionary. And, if anyone needs more evidence, ACA's outcomes research confirms what each of us already knows. Our CEO, Peg Smith*, has been telling the world that opportunities for growth and development exist in natural settings that promote experiential learning, improve social skills and physical fitness, teach children to take calculated risks in a safe environment, and expand the creative mind.

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From Peg - November 2010
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Message discipline is difficult. Yet, in a complex association such as ACA, the demand for clarity is paramount. For an organization to grow, it must learn how to walk that thin line between chaos and order — because it is along that thin veil that true growth takes place. Even with clarity, we often find times when messages compete — where one message may take greater prominence than another due to frequency, volume, or the cacophony.

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E.g., 2020-02-21