Resource Library

In January 2016, I decided to bring my assistant to the ACA National Conference in Atlanta. We both agreed it would be a way for her to gain a deeper understanding of my work with camp professionals. Not only would she help me organize my presentations and handouts, but she would get to see me in action and develop a greater sense of my “audience” and what people were looking for from my work.

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As a school counselor and national educator on bullying prevention, I am privileged to meet with youth development professionals, parents, and young people from across the United States and Canada who generously share their personal experiences related to bullying. I have been brought to tears more times than I can count listening to adults and kids alike talk about their sense of powerlessness in peer situations or their feelings of humiliation at the hands of others.

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More than 20 years ago, Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king,” referring to the future of the internet. That’s never been truer than today in the social media realm. Creating good social content is critical to getting visitors to your website and campers in your cabins. A single, simple image can reach thousands of parents, alumni, and campers with just a click or tap.

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Peggy Orenstein’s recent Atlantic article on “The Miseducation of the American Boy” — which pulls from her 2020 book Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity — is a good reminder that the topic of toxic masculinity is still front-page news, but it has left me frustrated. To be clear, this is not a knock on Orenstein. I wouldn’t take on that publication record, and her new book is fantastic, but I do intend to push the metaphorical envelope.

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Best Friends Forever Thanks to Camp
Published Date: 2020-09-01

“This is my friend Maya, and she goes to smart school.” For years, this is the slightly obnoxious way I introduced my hardworking, kind, perceptive best friend, and it always guaranteed a blush from Maya. To begin this story any other way would be a missed opportunity. She’s probably blushing as she reads this.

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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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One Novel Coronavirus, Two Afflictions
Published Date: 2020-07-01
As I write this article, the summer is just beginning. From my current vantage point, whatever knowledge we may have gleaned from the summer is still unknown to me. Whatever the various state opening plans currently are, I have no idea how they may impact new cases of COVID-19, or the hospitalizations and deaths related to it. In other words, I don’t know what shape “the curve” will be in by September 2020. I don’t know how things will go for the camps that did decide to open, in whatever fashion that may have been.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed life for many of us, and nearly everyone is experiencing some form of loss this summer — loss that may continue into the foreseeable future. We recently sat down for a frank discussion about kids and grieving and how camps can offer support and compassion during this difficult time.

Discussion Participants

Vicki Jay, CEO of the National Alliance for Grieving Children

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Are Apps a Game Changer for Camps?
Published Date: 2020-07-01

Running a summer camp is no easy feat. Demands on camp administrators are unrelenting. Attention gets divided among children, staff, budgets, supplies, transportation, and other operational logistics. Factor in parents’ insatiable appetite for photos, videos, and updates (but lack of attention to emails), and you surely know firsthand why camps are struggling to keep everyone in sync.

In fact, an American Camp Association survey identified “parent communication” as one of the top issues facing camps.

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