Resource Library

Building an Army of Asking Ants
Published Date: 2018-01-01

Ant colonies have been used throughout history as models of industry. As a collective, ants are efficient, surprisingly intelligent, and are among the very few animals that organize themselves to collectively carry loads far heavier than an individual member of their species. Ants working together have an astonishing ability to mix collective muscle with individual initiative, and can adjust their course and outcomes based on intelligence provided by a single ant joining the effort.

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Dear Bob,

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Working Your Plan

After outlining the basic elements of a strategic plan and discussing a process that engages your key stakeholder groups, we now concentrate on the tools necessary to assist you in the implementation of your plan. As my father told me, "plan your work and work your plan." Now it’s time to create a process to "work your plan."

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Staff training? Check. Nametags ready? Check. Ready to do a great job? Check. Campers are here? Check. It is my first day of camp and I am ready to put everything they taught us into action. I will be the hero and the campers will love me. I am their role model, right? I am older. I know more. I am mature, and I am ready!

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I run two different camps for kids with different needs, including a resident camp for kids with autism. A concerned parent called to talk about how she wanted her son to be “mainstreamed” in the camp environment. By definition, there is no mainstreaming at my camp; they are all living with similar challenges.

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It started with a camp director’s speech. You know, one of those impassioned, are-you-ready-for-this; get-your-stoke-on; you-can-do-it; don’t-be-scared-but-it’s-OK-to- be-nervous speeches the night before the kids arrived:

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Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, delivered a keynote speech on Thursday, February 14th, at the 2013 ACA National Conference. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and has been featured on television and radio stations like PBS, MSNBC, and NPR, and in TIME Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times.

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Creating the Exceptional
Published Date: 2017-07-01

The plane climbed steeply, banking left, headed south and east. The early morning hues of brown and beige marked the desert Southwest's approach to the Sandia Mountains, a fault block range on the eastern edge of the Rio Grande Rift.

Beautiful.

But my sense of awe was less about the scenery below than the experience I'd just left behind.

What was it? The 2017 ACA National Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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When confronted by newspapermen who had reported incorrectly, humorist Mark Twain replied, "Reports of my death have been exaggerated." In much the same way, the recent furor over a new federal requirement concerning lead paint has been blown out of proportion for most camps and their operations. This month, we're going to look at some of the imperatives of that regulation, and extract the important elements for you to use when you face the next renovation or painting project.

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Don't think that these things just happen — campers don't grow and mature passively; what they get from their camp experiences depends on you.

I'll let you in on a secret. I went to camp as a child, all kinds of camps, and I never really understood what I got out of it until I worked as a counselor one summer when I was in college. It was then that I finally realized what I had learned as a camper — because of what I saw my campers learn.

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