Resource Library

Develop Your Skills at Camp
Published Date: 2020-05-03

I am going to take a stab in the dark and guess that you are not planning on becoming a professional camp counselor. True, some of you will fall in love with camp this summer and may end up changing your major so that camp becomes your career path. And for those of you who grew up going to camp, perhaps you are already on this professional summer camp path. After all, the owner of Camp Robindel, where I work, knew as a 12-year-old camper he wanted to be a camp director, so certainly that is possible.

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A Different Kind of Mentor
Published Date: 2020-05-03

Mentors come in all types, shapes, and sizes. There are loud ones, quiet ones; short ones, tall ones; young ones, old ones.

The common denominator is “one” — as in “Be one!” While there are many things each of us cannot do, there is one thing we must do: mentor our youth.

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2020 Golden Quill and Golden Lens Winners
Published Date: 2020-05-03

2020 Golden Quill Award Winner

Elizabeth Marable and Ariella Randle Rogge

“Where Are Their Adult Pants? Tools, Catchphrases, and Understanding for Choosing Today’s Staff Members” (January/February 2019)

Photo of Elizabeth Rundle-MarablePhoto of Ariella Rogge

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Regardless of the camp where you have chosen to spend your summer, many campers you’ll work with will be “differently wired.” In fact, one in five kids have ADHD, dyslexia, giftedness, autism, anxiety, or some other type of neurodifference. The exceptional kids you’ll lead this summer may have unique challenges that can impact their experience at camp both positively and negatively.

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Light shed on any situation makes it look different. It follows that the tone we set, both internally and externally, casts shadows and highlights different points of view. As a new supervisor, the most important “lights” to shine allow us to know self (to understand our reaction to circumstances), to be able to separate self-worth from the work produced (because work will not always go smoothly), and to foster self-development in the workplace (by reaching out to role models while not mimicking them).

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Influencing Green Behavior at Your Camp
Published Date: 2020-05-01

Two summers ago, I led a staff training workshop with 180 camp staff from Blue Star Camps in Hendersonville, North Carolina. They had recently spent around $30,000 to replace their lights with more energy-efficient LED bulbs and fixtures. But while these kinds of upgrades can make a huge impact on reducing energy consumption, camp leaders found that the lights were being left on in unoccupied buildings.

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Mariana and Jessica are exasperated with one another. Mariana thinks the girls they share responsibility for as co-counselors are way too noisy and messy. She is always the one who gets these rambunctious fifth graders to quiet down or finish their cabin cleanup chores. Because she is typically the counselor who speaks up first, the girls have begun to favor Jessica, whom they see as "nicer." Jessica, who went to camp here as a camper, thinks that Mariana is too strict.

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As former camp directors, we've both had experiences where we pushed ourselves to the point where we weren't safe. Imagine this scenario:

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Energy & Enthusiasm: Find Your Sweet Spot
Published Date: 2020-05-01

As you can probably imagine and were most likely told in your interview, working at camp requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm. This is 110 percent true. Camp is, without a doubt, a place where these two attributes can be found at very high levels. You may be wondering just how much of them are needed on an individual or daily basis. Chances are, you will hear on multiple occasions throughout the summer from camp leadership that staff are lacking energy and enthusiasm. But high levels of both are neither realistic nor sustainable (or desirable) all the time.

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Most accidents involving campers occur in program, living, and common areas — typically when campers are (or were supposed to be) under the supervision of frontline camp staff such as cabin counselors, program staff, and activity-area supervisors. If this describes your role, this makes sense because you spend the most time directly with campers, including during program activities, mealtimes, and over night. As such, your day-to-day decision-making and supervision is a primary control for managing risk.
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