Resource Library

As we celebrate the third anniversary of the 20/20 Toolbox series in Camping Magazine and start a new publication year, we are given not only a chance to pause and reflect on what we have accomplished, but an opportunity to reinvent, re-imagine, and recommit ourselves to the purpose and intent of this very important article series.

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Most people can handle — or tolerate — a certain degree of risk. The edginess provided by risk adds verve to being human, and often gives us that gentle kick in the seat of our pants needed to prod us along in life. Risk tolerance, however, exists on a continuum. There are times when a person is more comfortable with risk than at other times. In addition, risk tolerance varies from person to person. Some thrive on the thrill associated with it, while others may be paralyzed.

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For most camp professionals, imagining a camp without trees would be hard to fathom. Especially since for the past century, you and other American Camp Association® (ACA) camp professionals have worked to preserve the camp experience for both children and adults. Unfortunately, there is an insect that threatens the camp experience for all of us.

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The power grid has gone down.
Forest fire is threatening the camp property.
The water supply is contaminated.
There's been an industrial spill, and camp must be evacuated.
Critical computer systems have been hacked into.

These crises — all stemming from sources outside camp — are getting more attention from camp professionals. We used to focus most on incidents that were camp-bound, incidents such as a lost camper, a waterfront emergency, or a building fire. But in today's world, we must also attend to events arising from the external community.

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As camp professionals become more effective risk managers, the need to periodically review camper and staff injury and illness events is a given. One of the best sources of this information is a health center’s log. Knowing why people seek healthcare not only provides an indicator about the effectiveness of risk management strategies, but can also inform incoming nurses about anticipated camper and staff needs, help determine if medical protocols cover anticipated injuries and illnesses, and inform decisions about what supplies are needed in the health center.

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Campers and staff have equal opportunity to be injured at camp because they spend their days, (and in resident camps, their nights) engaged in the same activities of camp life. Since they are exposed to the same risks, they experience similar patterns of injury. The exceptions of course are kitchen and maintenance staff members, who are engaged in other risky activities.

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The Healthy Camp Study has been completed. As a result, the camp community now has an initial understanding of camp injury/illness events founded on evidence. This understanding is already making an important difference in the quest to make camp an even healthier experience. The good news is that, based on data, camp is as safe as or safer than many other youth activities (see Table 1). Attention to risk management, thorough staff training coupled with effective supervision, and rigorous incident analysis all contribute to improving a given camp's risk profile.
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Homesickness is something that every counselor, activity instructor, nurse, administrative staff, and director will deal with at camp. It’s an inevitable phenomenon. What are the best ways to deal with homesickness or, more importantly, to prevent the onset?

Prevention Is the Best Medicine

Planning activities that help campers get to know other campers and showing them around the camp grounds helps campers get familiar with the facility and the people and makes them feel more at home. Often such activities can help prevent homesickness.

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Camp as Vital Engagement
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More and more children are trading true engagement for electronic connection. What are the costs and how does camp counter this trend?

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Thirty Feet in the Air
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"Amanda, I know you can do this." The counselor Ashley held out both hands to the girl in front of me on the ropes course, looking her directly in the eye. It was good that Ashley had so much faith in her, but I was coming to the opinion that, in fact, Amanda could not do this. We were thirty feet from the ground and I, still tight in my harness, had long since sat down on the wooden platform between elements. Despite the wait, I wasn't particularly impatient to get down from the sky.

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E.g., 2020-06-01