Resource Library

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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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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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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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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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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