Resource Library

In one of her 2010 commentaries in Camping Magazine, former American Camp Association CEO Peg Smith reflected on her conversations with award-winning researcher Marge Scanlin nearly a decade earlier about establishing a strong research tradition in the ACA). She said, “We wanted to find a way to create a culture that could not only say, ‘Camp Gives Kids a World of Good,’ but demonstrate science-based evidence of such” (Smith, 2010). This contrasting desire for both anecdotes and evidence resonates with me.

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July 2015. Camp was in full swing with little time to devote to the Internet, but the news feed picked up an item that caught my attention. It was an article published by the national news outlet of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). It was a provocative item about the mimicry of indigenous practices and ceremonies at a couple of summer camps in Ontario, Canada (APTN, 2015).

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“Successful leadership is not about being tough or soft, sensitive or assertive, but about a set of attributes. First and foremost is character.” — Warren Bennis, American scholar, organizational consultant, and author

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Returning from the 2011 ACA National Conference in San Diego, I began to reflect on how camps can impact a student's education. For the past forty years, my school district has sent fifth graders to camp to enhance their science education. Our fifth grade students participate in a three-day, two-night program. During this time, the students get to experience science at a school without walls. The hands on classes have a great impact on student comprehension. More camps should increase their involvement in this type of school year endeavor.

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Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Are Just Mean
Published Date: 2019-05-01

So you are working at a children's camp this summer. Your role as a counselor is perhaps the most important role at camp. Not only are you there to ensure the kids have a great time, but also to keep them safe.

What does "keep safe" mean? It means to protect from danger, care for their well-being. You already know the obvious safety risks posed by swimming, boating, transportation, and food/water contamination.

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Many residential and day camps are experiencing their older and most experienced counselors aging out because they now need full-time employment and can no longer remain at camp for the summer. College students who used to return each summer have graduated and now wait for alumni activities and events to continue their relationship with their camps. Those senior staff played a very significant and essential role during their tenure at camp. They were the “culture carriers” who taught new and inexperienced staff what is special about your intentional community.

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In preparation for the 2010 camp season, the American Camp Association® (ACA) enlisted the expertise of Rachel Simmons and Dr. Michael Thompson, best-selling authors and specialists on the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of childhood. Both professionals offer insight into why camp is so valuable to kids today and how the mentoring nature of the camp counselor-camper relationship can provide the positive role models kids need in building self-awareness and figuring out who they are and who they want to be.

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Challenging children are not out to get you — they are out to get their needs met. While there will be moments when it may seem precisely as if they are out to get you, more often than not, campers' challenging behavior serves a function, and understanding that function is instrumental in your efforts to deal with them effectively. What are those functions and needs? Research, common sense, and observations suggest some common answers: power, attention, security, and love.

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So You Got Promoted: Now What?
Published Date: 2014-05-01

The camp experience is a very powerful learning process, which is both personal and challenging. It provides children the chance to grow in a protected environment controlled by caring, knowledgeable staff responsible for setting acceptable limits of risk management. Philosophically this is a great premise, but what happens to this construct if staff are inexperienced and not ready to assume the complexities of their job?

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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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