Resource Library

In Pursuit of Belonging
Published Date: 2021-01-01

One year ago, I was writing an article for the January/February edition of Camping Magazine called “Building Belonging in the Age of Anxiety.” My goal was to shine a spotlight on a facet of what we do as summer camp professionals, and to make the case that belonging is the greatest of all the outcomes we offer to the children we serve. I believe this with all my heart, and yet I had not fully understood the broad and very personal benefits of focusing on, and striving to deliver, belonging to others.

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With a traveler’s soul and an innovator’s mind, venture capitalist Terry Jones has worn many hats over the years. He’s founded five startups, including Travelocity and Kayak.com (as founding chairman), served on 19 public and private company boards, written two books about management (On Innovation and Disruption Off) — and he even taught IBM’s Watson about travel.

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Thirty-year-old African American Jamal Stroud exudes positivity and light. Not necessarily an intuitive state of being for someone who started life in New York City’s foster care system. Like many who have experienced the kind of adversity he faced as a child, Stroud could have embraced the mean streets. Instead, he has focused his energy on helping today’s young men of color rise above similar hardships. He founded Big Homie Lil Homie (BHLH), a nonprofit, volunteer mentoring organization, in 2017 in Columbia, South Carolina, where he now lives with his wife and two children.

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Camp and the Loneliness Crisis
Published Date: 2021-01-01

Let me start by sounding uncharacteristically negative. Loneliness was a crisis before the pandemic. And by now, just about everyone in our community is suffering from it.

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Summer 2020 impacted every aspect of camp, and regardless of how things played out — with various scenarios of camp running in some form or not at all — building next summer’s staff team weighs heavily on our minds. All our default systems and timelines seem useless right now, prompting so many questions and very few answers. For instance:

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Are you coming up on an anniversary or milestone in your camp’s history? Have you considered how this celebration can help you connect with alumni and maybe even raise some money? Whether you have a strong financial development history or you would like to build one, an alumni event celebrating significant milestones is an excellent way to turn fond memories into a deeper connection with the future of your camp.

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Children’s Association for Maximum Potential’s (CAMP) mission is to strengthen and inspire individuals with special needs — and those who care for them — through recreation, respite, and education. That mission is both very specific and, at the same time, quite broad. Its breadth lies in the fact that the “individuals with special needs” we serve span a wide array of abilities and challenges. Campers may face one or a combination of the following:

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January 1, 2020, I was on a cruise ship in the Gulf, toasting to what I believed would be an amazing year ahead. But this past year was not what I was expecting it to look like. For the first time in over 25 years, I did not run an in-person summer camp. Closing camp was obviously not among my goals for the year; nor was figuring out how to offer the kind of virtual experience our campers needed. Now that we have campers back, we are figuring out screening, personal protective equipment (PPE), when to wear masks, and how to be social at a physical distance.

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In their New York Times best-selling book An Invisible Thread, Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski give life to an ancient Chinese proverb that inspired the book's title. They document the story of an 11-year-old panhandler, Maurice, and a busy sales executive (author Schroff), whose unplanned stewardship of the young boy's life offers dramatic and compelling evidence of the power of connection (Schroff and Tresniowski, 2012). 

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Effective storytelling has long been a cherished campfire activity. Likewise, storytelling is recognized in the broader community as an essential element of both marketing and communication. How can we tell our story and convey our message so that others hear it? Once we have their ears, what can we say to help them understand why they should care about camp?

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