Resource Library

The year 2020 seems so distant, and yet our goal as a collection of camp professionals is to serve 20 million campers by that year. So how do we get there? I have long been a proponent that programs sell camps — not Web sites, not brochures, and certainly not e-mail blasts (all of which are still important marketing tools). Anywhere from 60–80 percent of your campers came to you in their first year because they heard from someone else about your amazing program, how fun it was, or how many friends they made.
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As a camp counselor, your job is among the most important responsibilities anywhere - parents have entrusted their children to you. You have the charge of not only making sure they are safe, but of nurturing their development.

Nurturing campers' development includes having clear ideas of the kinds of behaviors you want to encourage. Some positive behaviors that can be taught at camp are:

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Every child is unique. Every camp is unique. So, unique approaches when responding to the needs of children in camps are essential. Summer camps were started to support children during out-of-school time (Ozier, n. d.) and to offer survival skills for children to thrive in the real world, outside of the immediate relationship of their families. Summer camps are a valuable resource for all children, especially those who have a learning disability and have experienced trauma or situational factors such as homesickness and bullying.

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When you decided to be a summer camp counselor this summer, you made a great choice. Few summer jobs offer as many opportunities for personal growth and leadership development, or allow you to have such a meaningful, positive impact on a child’s life. Being a camp counselor won’t be as easy as some summer jobs, but it has the potential to be much more rewarding. Even before the season starts, you will be inundated with information about everything from camp policy guidelines to camper behavior management strategies. It might seem overwhelming, and it probably will be at times.

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The benefits to youth from camping are well known by former campers, their parents, and camp directors. However, little research is available on the influence that an organized camping experience has on youth, mainly because there seems to be general agreement that camp is good for kids. A recent meta-analysis of the available research determined the state of knowledge on the influence that the organized camping experience has on the self-constructs: self-esteem, self-confidence, and other aspects of self. The results are good news for camping.

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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!
Published Date:

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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As we celebrate the third anniversary of the 20/20 Toolbox series in Camping Magazine and start a new publication year, we are given not only a chance to pause and reflect on what we have accomplished, but an opportunity to reinvent, re-imagine, and recommit ourselves to the purpose and intent of this very important article series.

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E.g., 2020-07-08