Resource Library

Campers You Can't Serve
Published Date: 2020-11-01

Bob Ditter has faithfully served the camp community for decades — and while he continues to do that, this will be his last In the Trenches column for Camping Magazine. We are so grateful to Bob for sharing his insights, practical advice, and his heart with us. It is that heart and desire to help, without fear of touching on difficult subjects, that has inspired and supported so many. Bob is a champion for camp — and we are better for the words of wisdom he has given us.

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Unsung Heroes
Published Date: 2020-11-01

What a summer 2020 turned out to be! The good, the bad, the ugly — and the grateful.

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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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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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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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Moving Forward Together: September 2020
Published Date: 2020-09-01

It has been an extraordinary six months for us all. Throughout the history of American camp experiences, our field has weathered many epidemics and pandemics — including Influenza, Polio, Spanish Flu, Smallpox, Asian Flu, Mumps, H1N1 Swine Flu, and Measles — but COVID-19 has certainly had a catastrophic financial impact on camps. Preliminary estimates are that day and overnight camps lost a combined $16 billion this summer, with 19.5 million youth missing out on camp experiences they would have otherwise enjoyed.

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In March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic was declared a US national emergency, demanding new state regulations throughout the country, an array of CDC and WHO cautions and guidelines, and procedural changes around the most prevalent methods of disease spread and people groups with more propensity to be affected.

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Compromise Can Turn Crisis into Value
Published Date: 2020-09-01

Many camps did not operate this past summer because of COVID-19.

There were serious consequences for all as a result. Children lost the opportunity for summer fun and engagement; parents lost the opportunity for a break — a break so badly needed after months in quarantine and isolation. Camps lost the opportunity to bring in revenue, resulting in catastrophic financial impacts.

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Early Camp Program Planning Amid COVID-19
Published Date: 2020-09-01

The past months have been tumultuous across the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with widespread stay-at-home orders and school closures occurring amid typically intense program planning for summer camps. As a result, this summer looked remarkably different from previous camp seasons. All programs had to make incredibly difficult decisions about how to best serve their campers, families, and staff, with alternatives running the gamut of session adjustments, virtual camp, rescheduling for 2021, blended programs, and more. 

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