Resource Library

Inclusion at Camp
Published Date: 2020-11-01

Welcome to Trail Mixed: Inclusion at Camp. We are happy you are here. The stated mission of the American Camp Association (ACA) is enriching the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience. Our mission is to enrich the camp experience through this ongoing column, which we hope will serve as a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) basecamp for the camp world.

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COVID-19: Decision-Making Amid Uncertainty
Published Date: 2020-11-01

It’s a pandemic. No one knows enough.
They say it may last 12–18 months. Maybe longer.
Information changes day-to-day. Sometimes more frequently.
There’s a pediatric complication that wasn’t anticipated.
COVID-19 changed camp plans — but will the change last forever?
Our economic viability is threatened.
. . . I just want to know what I should do.

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Campers You Can't Serve
Published Date: 2020-11-01

Bob Ditter has faithfully served the camp community for decades — and while he continues to do that, this will be his last In the Trenches column for Camping Magazine. We are so grateful to Bob for sharing his insights, practical advice, and his heart with us. It is that heart and desire to help, without fear of touching on difficult subjects, that has inspired and supported so many. Bob is a champion for camp — and we are better for the words of wisdom he has given us.

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Unsung Heroes
Published Date: 2020-11-01

What a summer 2020 turned out to be! The good, the bad, the ugly — and the grateful.

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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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In 1988, Camp Director Ken O’Kelley developed a leadership program intended to train teenagers in skills utilized at camp, which they could then transition into life skills outside of camp. That first year saw three participants complete a 10-week program. Throughout the years, the program evolved into a highly competitive program called the Advanced Leadership Academy (ALA), with multiple levels of participation.

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We all know that camp is a character-building bonanza for young people, instilling lifelong skills that translate into future careers and perseverance through difficult times — all in a fun outdoor environment. But camp could be even more. John Judge, president and CEO of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), says, “Children and teenagers are also capable of being fantastic outdoor stewards . . ..”

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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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Compromise Can Turn Crisis into Value
Published Date: 2020-09-01

Many camps did not operate this past summer because of COVID-19.

There were serious consequences for all as a result. Children lost the opportunity for summer fun and engagement; parents lost the opportunity for a break — a break so badly needed after months in quarantine and isolation. Camps lost the opportunity to bring in revenue, resulting in catastrophic financial impacts.

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