Resource Library

One amenity you’ll find on just about every camp, regardless of its overall focus or theme, is a ball field. Beyond baseball and softball, that open space lends itself to a dozen or more other activities. With just a little bit of planning and forethought, it can deliver even more bang for your capital buck. This month, we’re going to look at a couple of the most basic elements to make the most of the space.

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"You learn about things that you do not learn about in school. It's actual reality and not sugar-coated. We learned how to work together. In school, they tell you to work together. I learned that when you work in a team, you have your own rights. If you have a good idea and another person has a good idea, you can actually accomplish what you want to do instead of it crashing."
— Mabel, Camp Fiver camper, age thirteen

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2011: A Year in Review
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As a community of youth development and camp professionals, our work will never be done. Each day, we strive to reach children and youth with intentional, life-changing camp experiences — and to make those camp experiences the best they can possibly be.

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Doing good work with and for youth has been a hallmark of the camp experience since its inception. Very quickly, there was recognition that the place and space of camp was also "good" for the staff leading and supporting the experience. As we celebrate the past and look toward the future, it is important to reflect on the educational partners and integral influences on the camp profession. This article reminds us of some forerunners in recreation and outdoor education, showcases reciprocal connections, and explores ways to raise the bar in future educational offerings.
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Rain doesn't have to be an unwelcome guest at your camp. It can be an inspiration for camp activities. Rainy days offer an opportunity to teach campers more about weather and for them to see firsthand how rain affects plants, animals, and the environment.

Though you may be undaunted, you should not be oblivious to the weather conditions. Staff training should include sessions on recognizing storm conditions, reviewing emergency plans, and planning all-camp program alternatives. Remember never to go outdoors during a severe thunderstorm or when there is lightning.

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As you consider the future of your camp, it’s easy to focus on the external factors that are likely to affect its operation, the demographic influences that shape your markets, the impact of technology on your operations and programming, and on the challenges of an increasingly diverse clientele. Certainly all of the factors identified by your futuring exercises are worth considering. However, the most significant variable that will shape the twenty-first century is the human response to these factors. In other words, the future is you.

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Christine Carter, PhD, will be giving a keynote address at the 2012 ACA National Conference. Carter is the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents and a sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. In an interview with Camping Magazine, Carter explains why happiness is integral to success and how we can promote positive emotions in campers.

The basic premise of Raising Happiness is that happiness is a skill we can teach kids. Why is happiness so important?

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Not Just Another Summer!
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As you are working at camp, here are three thoughts to help you make sure you are getting the most out of your experience as a camp counselor.

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Since the outbreak of H1N1 during the summer of 2009, camps have been diligently updating their health and safety protocols and practices for the management of communicable diseases. By accessing and integrating information from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Camp Association® (ACA), the Association of Camp Nurses, and other related resources, camps are improving their health practices by incorporating new knowledge into their day-to-day health center operations.

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I once worked with cat. Not a “meow” cat, although that’s how she identified herself to me. She was a thirteen-year-old girl who insisted she was a cat. You can imagine how hard it was for her at summer camp, in a cabin full of very typical thirteen-year-old girls, being anything but typical (meow). As I worked through the various expressions of her cat-ness — complaints about the food, the bathroom, the waterfront, the lack of a scratching pole, etc. — it became pretty clear that she felt different and she didn’t know how to express it in any other way. So she was a cat.

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