Resource Library

As I’m sure is true with many camps, we spent several weeks last October and November recruiting and visiting families in the major cities from which we draw campers. It is a fun and sometimes exhausting time of year — late nights, many new faces, camp events, reunions, and time away from home. Throughout the trip, I was struck by a pattern that has always been present but had escaped the focus of my attention: Many parents don’t know why they want to send their children to camp or what they expect their kids to get out of it.
 
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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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Dreams for Our Children
Published Date: 2016-05-01

Every parent dreams for their child.

In the training of camp staff over the years, one of the most challenging assignments that we have as directors is to share with our staff what it is like to be a parent. While it can never truly be taught until it is experienced, the goal is always to make sure staff are aware of the importance of the role they have undertaken.

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Our Nation is at risk.

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In a grove of trees by the edge of a field, campers gather with their Bibles open. In the corner of the dining room, a small group of campers prepare for the Shabbat celebration. Under a starry canopy of night sky, campers raise their voices in praise to God as the firelight brightens the community of their faces. Is it 1911 or 2011? While much has changed in the long history of religious camping, some traditions are enduring. At faith-based camps, the inspira¬tion of the outdoor experience enriches learning about God and practicing the faith’s tradi¬tions in a temporary community.

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So Many Reasons to Attend Conference
Published Date: 2019-01-01

I admit it, I love a camp conference! The energy, the ideas, the networking, and catching up with old friends — it's an extroverted camp-lover's dream.

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Nature is everywhere at camp, and we sometimes walk right past it. Whether your camp is in a city or the country, there is nature. It might be roly-polys in the leaves, mosquitoes buzzing past, or owls hooting late at night. Yet, we too often only think about it if we are working as part of a camp nature program. Simple ideas can allow you to take advantage of teachable moments in nature without being an expert in biology. Likely, the campers will catch on to your excitement and be curious about what might be next.

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Imagine a camp program with the power to improve the academic and social behavior of participants and to positively impact participants’ readiness for work, social development, and lifelong learning. All camp administrators herald this program vision for campers, but what about for staff? Camp can positively impact young staff as well. It happens through a program otherwise known as a seasonal job.

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“Leaders lead. Period.” That truism — while straight and simple — reflects a cornerstone of the leadership training and consulting I do in business, higher education, nonprofit administration, and camping.

What does it mean?

Regardless of your title, rank, or years (seasons) of service, you have an opportunity to be a leader at your camp this summer.

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Big Questions

If someone told you that you had a "retrospective, unidirectional bias" and had contracted the "availability heuristic," you might think you need to visit a doctor right away. Actually, you'd be right. But you wouldn't need a medical doctor. You'd need a research psychologist — someone with expertise in statistics and child development. Someone who could explain to you that your bias and heuristic — although unhealthy — were common and easily removed. Once cured, you could see more nuances in your campers' behaviors.

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