Resource Library

Throughout this past fall, reports have been flowing in confirming what many parents, teachers, and camp directors already intuitively knew — the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on our youths’ mental health (Leeb, Bitsko, Radhakrishnan, Martinez, Njai, & Holland, 2020). During this time, mental health providers have documented increases in both anxiety and depression. All this angst and uncertainty is affecting young people differently than adults.

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The Privilege of Polite
Published Date: 2021-01-01

That doesn't happen at camp. But what if it did? Grounded in their beginnings as a means of preserving youth and innocence, many camps shy away from holding space for difficult conversations, erring on the side of being polite. In this instance, politeness equates to avoidance. But we know that camp is not magical because it is utopian (see the inaugural Trail Mixed column in the November/December issue for a discussion about why that thinking is perilous).

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The passion of many former campers, staff, and other individuals associated with camp is undeniable. The ability to harness that passion toward efforts that can support camp — through active participation in communication, events, financial support, and community advocacy — is a goal for countless camp directors. But circumstances seem to be keeping some camps from achieving this goal. In the camp world of recruiting staff, running programs, and just keeping the lights on, developing a robust, sustainable alumni program tends to take a back seat. However, it doesn’t have to.

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We love to talk about resiliency and grit in the camp industry, and as this difficult year comes to a close, our entire industry is living those values in real time as we attempt to dust ourselves off and prepare for what 2021 may bring. If there’s any group of people who can adapt on the fly and come up with creative solutions, it’s camp professionals. While our focus is already trained on the upcoming summer, the off-season is an important time to also reflect on what was and how that may shape what will be.

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It was the spring of 2016 when I received a call from the current director of Many Point Camp in Minnesota. Having been the director of Many Point for 25 years, I was used to a call inviting me to the camp staff’s opening banquet. But this call was different, as current Many Point Director Evan Yingst reminded me that this was the year camp was scheduled to open the 40th anniversary time capsule that I had buried in 1986. He wanted me to be there when they dug it up and then make a presentation at the banquet.

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Succession at summer camp can mean many things: succession of ownership, of leadership, or of culture. Of course, these may happen separately, in close proximity, or all at once. In any case, each can represent healthy change or unwanted conflict.

Succession Defined

While the term succession may suggest movement or action, the venerable Merriam-Webster dictionary reminds us it is a noun: person, place, or thing, such as the following (Merriam-Webster, 2020).

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Across the country, summer camps are an integral part of children’s traditional summer experiences. Unfortunately, the same may not be true for children with disabilities. Representing only 3 percent of campers in one study of overnight summer camps across the United States (Laszlo Strategies, 2013), children with disabilities, just like their peers, should have opportunities to gain positive physical, emotional, and social outcomes from an inclusive camp experience (Schleien, Miller, Walton, Roth, & Tobin, 2017).

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Es una pandemia. Nadie sabe lo suficiente.
Dicen que puede durar de 12 a 18 meses. Quizás más.
La información cambia día a día. A veces más rápido.
Hay una complicación pediátrica que no se anticipó.
COVID cambió los planes del campamento, pero ¿será un cambio permanente?
Nuestra viabilidad económica está amenazada.
. . . Solo quiero saber qué debo hacer.

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What’s Next? The Future of Facilitation
Published Date: 2020-11-01

Predicting the future isn’t in my job description, but then neither was converting everything I knew about real-world facilitation then transferring it to virtual space. If I’m right, years from now people will say I was clairvoyant, perhaps even a genius. If I’m wrong, well, nothing wrong with obscurity, I guess. So, knowing the risks and fully embracing them, I’d like to share my thoughts and predictions about the future of virtual facilitation.

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Don't Be a Donkey
Published Date: 2020-11-01

That’s always good advice, but this past summer we had to be reminded of it repeatedly. For us it meant spending a little time thinking about Buridan’s donkey.

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