Resource Library

Moving Forward Together: September 2020
Published Date: 2020-09-01

It has been an extraordinary six months for us all. Throughout the history of American camp experiences, our field has weathered many epidemics and pandemics — including Influenza, Polio, Spanish Flu, Smallpox, Asian Flu, Mumps, H1N1 Swine Flu, and Measles — but COVID-19 has certainly had a catastrophic financial impact on camps. Preliminary estimates are that day and overnight camps lost a combined $16 billion this summer, with 19.5 million youth missing out on camp experiences they would have otherwise enjoyed.

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In March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic was declared a US national emergency, demanding new state regulations throughout the country, an array of CDC and WHO cautions and guidelines, and procedural changes around the most prevalent methods of disease spread and people groups with more propensity to be affected.

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One Novel Coronavirus, Two Afflictions
Published Date: 2020-07-01
As I write this article, the summer is just beginning. From my current vantage point, whatever knowledge we may have gleaned from the summer is still unknown to me. Whatever the various state opening plans currently are, I have no idea how they may impact new cases of COVID-19, or the hospitalizations and deaths related to it. In other words, I don’t know what shape “the curve” will be in by September 2020. I don’t know how things will go for the camps that did decide to open, in whatever fashion that may have been.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed life for many of us, and nearly everyone is experiencing some form of loss this summer — loss that may continue into the foreseeable future. We recently sat down for a frank discussion about kids and grieving and how camps can offer support and compassion during this difficult time.

Discussion Participants

Vicki Jay, CEO of the National Alliance for Grieving Children

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Are Apps a Game Changer for Camps?
Published Date: 2020-07-01

Running a summer camp is no easy feat. Demands on camp administrators are unrelenting. Attention gets divided among children, staff, budgets, supplies, transportation, and other operational logistics. Factor in parents’ insatiable appetite for photos, videos, and updates (but lack of attention to emails), and you surely know firsthand why camps are struggling to keep everyone in sync.

In fact, an American Camp Association survey identified “parent communication” as one of the top issues facing camps.

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Each year, ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that epitomize the spirit of the award’s namesake through their efforts to provide sterling programming that effectively and innovatively addresses the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We applaud the 2020 recipients. They are all definitive proof of the right camp program’s capacity to equip campers of all abilities and backgrounds with the resiliency and conviction to build better futures for themselves and their communities.

 

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Weak Board vs. Strong Board: Why Care?
Published Date: 2020-07-01
What happens when the purpose, focus, talent, and emotional strength of a board of directors goes haywire? Chaos, confusion, frustration, heartache, and spiraling negativity are just some of the side effects that can accompany this avoidable situation. Most importantly, the agency itself suffers and relationships are stretched to the point where they often irreparably break. This is the story of a weak board versus a strong one. Does this sound familiar? If not, based on working with and for many nonprofits and for-profit camps, chances are it will at some point.
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In the summers of 2017 and 2018, the West Virginia 4-H camp program experienced multiple incidents where camps were locked down due to armed suspects in the area. In one incident, a man stole a truck and shot at a family’s home within a mile of a 4-H camp in session. In another incident, an armed suspect resurfaced near the camp facility area where he was ultimately captured.

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Dear friends,

Our world has changed in unimaginable ways. This pandemic has presented incredible challenges to all of us. Those camps that have opened this season have faced tremendous obstacles, with capacity limits and operational hardships never experienced before. You have become frontline workers, putting yourselves on the line to care for your campers, your staff, and their families.

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Moving Forward Together: July 2020
Published Date: 2020-07-01

Dear Colleagues,

I wish to express deep gratitude to all of ACA’s volunteers, leaders, donors, sponsors, partners, and members for your generous leadership and support over the past year and especially during this cataclysmic pandemic. Your generosity of wealth, time, and talent has helped ACA provide leadership and support in many ways to camps across the country facing precarious and unprecedented challenges.

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