Resource Library

"Smile"
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Dear Bob:

I am a camp director at a sleepaway camp in the Midwest. We have multiple sessions of two weeks each throughout the summer. At the start of each session I notice that our staff almost seem like the proverbial deer in the headlights when the new campers arrive. After all we cover during staff training they almost don’t know how to connect comfortably with their new crop of campers. Do you have any ideas that might help?

Muddled in Michigan

Dear Muddled,

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The Making of a Lifelong Camper
Published Date: 2018-07-02

I started going to camp when I was six, or more accurately, I was sent to camp at six years old. I was dropped off on the shores of Lake George for two weeks without any prep, and let’s just say it was not the most enjoyable transition. What I didn’t know as a small child was that my mom sent me to camp to keep me out of the house during a divorce proceeding at home. Camp was meant to protect me.

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In 2005, the American Camp Association (ACA) published the first large-scale national research project assessing the youth development outcomes of children who attend day and resident camps in the summer. Children between the ages of eight and 14 from 80 ACA-accredited day and resident camps participated in the study. Results indicated the camp experience was a positive influence on youth development in four domains: positive identity, physical and thinking skills, social skills, and positive values and spirituality.

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Safe Haven for Learning
Published Date: 2018-07-01

A decade ago, an awkward, uncertain bus ride took me somewhere I never expected to go. My physical destination was camp, where a throng of excited kids would gather for outdoor adventure and adolescent experiences. But what I hadn’t anticipated was the other ride I was about to take — the journey.

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Having managed hundreds of camp crises, we have come to realize that the majority of events that cause harm to people and reputations fall into four major categories: waterfront accidents, transportation accidents, communicable illness, and sexual misconduct. Camps, similar to the one you call home, have fallen victim to crises in all four categories.

As a staff member, it is your duty and responsibility to prevent as many injuries, accidents, and crises as possible during the camp season. You may be thinking a few things:

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Sending a child to camp, whether it's a day or resident camp, can be a scary proposition for parents. After all, they are entrusting us with their most precious possessions. They want assurance that we are as concerned for their children as they are themselves - that we will keep them safe under any circumstances. Communication is an invaluable tool to assure parents that their children are safe.

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Camp–parent partnerships reach beyond customer satisfaction; they are at the core of parent–camp loyalty. In most Hispanic communities, the camp-parent partnership becomes a critical alliance that often originates at the camp and is based on the mutual fulfillment of needs. This is especially true for nonprofit camps serving underprivileged minority clienteles where partnerships are crucial for the mere existence of the camp.

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Embracing and Empowering Gen Z
Published Date: 2018-09-01

David Bryfman, PhD

As summer comes to an end, we bid farewell to our campers and counselors for another year. Without hesitation we tell them that we can’t wait to see them next summer. It is tragic to contemplate that some of our campers will not return next year because of senseless gun violence that permeates our country’s schools — and yet that is what many American youth claim is what scares them most in this world (Graf, 2018).

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An Interview with Nancy Cheever, PhD

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As camp professionals we've got a lock on how to plan for, organize, and deliver high-quality summer learning programs for children and young adults. Amidst the rush of preparing our staff to be effective counselors of youth, establish meaningful mentoring relationships, and model such important constructs as sensitivity, positive risk-taking, conflict resolution, and leadership, we may unwittingly lose sight of the fact that one of the most seminal achievements of our work is creating communities — year after year.

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