Resource Library

Across the land, schools and summer camps have embraced a movement to better understand trauma and how it affects a child’s ability to learn and self-regulate their behavior. As that knowledge becomes available to counselors and instructors, camps have a greater ability to move from "trauma-informed" to "trauma-infused."

What does that mean for you? That frontline staff become first responders — a role that carries with it not just a serious responsibility, but also an awesome opportunity to aid young people who are experiencing the aftermath of traumatic events.

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Interrupting Implicit Biases at Camp
Published Date: 2021-05-01

Did you know you’re walking around with a set of lenses that uniquely shape your understanding of the world? Implicit bias is the idea that we view the world through lenses that have been formed by all of our experiences from the time we were born up to today. This includes the way we were raised, our values, our family history, our education, and even our camp experiences. No two people see things the same way — we each have our own lenses.

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A Summer of Kindness: A Lifetime of Impact
Published Date: 2021-05-01

Do you ever wonder if the little things you do for others really make a difference? Many years ago, something amazing happened when I returned to one of my old camps to do some staff training. After dinner, as I was sitting outside on a bench, a staff member walked up and asked, “Do you remember me?”

I looked at her, smiled, and said, “Give me a minute,” followed by, “May I have a hint?” Before I was caught in an obviously awkward moment, she explained that 12 years earlier she’d sat on that very same bench horribly homesick as a first-day, eight-year-old camper.

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Connecting to the Purpose of Camp
Published Date: 2021-05-01

The phrase “now more than ever” has become cliché for good reason this year. After experiencing the many negative impacts of the pandemic, campers and staff have an even deeper need for the benefits of camp. But providing the best outcomes of camp will be more challenging this summer as we work within the restrictions of necessary safety precautions. Now more than ever, we as staff need to connect with the purpose of camp.

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What if I told you that as a camp counselor you are in the position to change a life? That by committing to making your campers feel seen, heard, and valued, you could be an educator, stress reliever, mediator, and role model — all in one. Well, I’m about to tell you how.

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Promoting a Culture of Appreciation
Published Date: 2021-05-01

We all want to feel valued and appreciated. This is especially true in a job situation. We typically are motivated to do our best work when the folks on top notice our efforts and outcomes. In an ideal world, every camp director gives specific praise to each and every counselor and staff member. In a small camp environment, that might be doable. However, in most situations, it is not always logistically possible in a normal summer — let alone during a pandemic. Fortunately, there are no rules about who can show appreciation. Everyone needs it. Anyone can give it!

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Camp has completely influenced the person I am today. It has made me kinder, more patient, open-minded, and optimistic. Camp showed me how much I love being in the beautiful outdoors and how much I appreciate nature and the wonderful planet we live on. Camp is a part of me, a part of me that will forever be there. –Ava

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As the chief marketing officer for the American Camp Association (ACA), I get to serve the field of camp and camp professionals who, in turn, empower the lives of children and youth in countless ways. I really love my job, in large part because of my own years spent at camp. From 1986 to 1999 I spent my summers at Van Buren Youth Camp (VBYC) in Bloomingdale, Michigan. At camp I learned how to folk dance, make pottery, overcome stage fright via mealtime skits, and marvel at the scope of the universe while singing beloved songs around a campfire under millions of sparkling stars.

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Emergent Camp Trends
Published Date: 2021-03-11

Heading into summer 2020, the summer camp industry was flourishing. With close ties to overall economic indicators such as disposable income and leisure time, the robust economy of the last five years had led to substantial industry revenue gains. According to the American Camp Association (ACA)’s 2015 and 2018 Business Operations Study reports, mean profitability increased for both day and overnight camps, and well over half of the respondents to our latest Sites and Facilities Survey reported growth in their enrollment numbers.

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Anytime a group of people gathers together there is an atavistic human instinct to draw closer. Closer to the speaker so to be able to hear what is being said. Closer to friends and family. Close enough to shake hands. Close enough to hug. 

Hopefully, we’ll be able to return to such things in the not-too-distant future, but for the next year or so, maintaining physical distance and wearing appropriate face coverings is going to be the norm for many summer camps, conferences, and group gatherings.

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