Resource Library

When I was a child, in the 1950s, children were far freer than they are today. By the time I was five, I could go anywhere in town, on foot or bicycle, without adult accompaniment. My family moved often, and in every town I found a new, different culture of childhood. In one town, when I was eight and nine, we made and flew crazy-looking kites, and we played endless games of baseball with our own made-up rules to fit the odd-shaped vacant lot and the motley, age-mixed group of players.

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Fighting for Free Play
Published Date: 2014-11-01

It seems a tug-of-war is going on in Canada. On one side are those who, in the name of safety and reducing liability, want to mandate the risk right out of childhood activities and free play time. On the other side are those who believe free play and safe risk-taking are vital to healthy childhood development.

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I love language. The beauty of a poem, the lyricism of a novel, the passion of a political speech, the sentiment of a heartfelt toast, the humor of standup comedy, and the simplicity of a handwritten letter are testaments to the expressive power of words. And although language is not uniquely human, the capacity to create an infinite number of utterances that follow a finite set of rules probably is. Every human language on the planet has a grammar that allows us to combine words in unique ways.

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Over the past 20 years, we’ve been asked often to help buyers and sellers of camps in transition. With very few exceptions in the industry, most will only buy and sell one time in their career, so there’s very little opportunity to put lessons learned to good use. And while camp folks are usually glad to talk about their programs and operations (that are running well), people seem a little reluctant to share their hard-earned “camp buying lessons.” Those lessons are kept highly secret, and each buyer (and seller) is left to repeat everyone else’s stumbles.

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Crises are not new to camps or to the camp movement. Two world wars, the Great Depression of the early 1930s, and a polio epidemic all tested the viability of camps and their camp association. Each crisis demanded an examination of possible approaches and tested the creativity of the movement.

Examination of four problematic periods in the past half-century of organized camps may add perspective to the recent American economic crisis and its long-term effect on camps, as well as the evolution of the American Camp Association (ACA).

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Girls today face a diverse range of challenges that can negatively affect their development. According to a recent report by the Girl Scouts of the USA (2013), such challenges include increased poverty rates and homelessness, physical violence (rape and sexual assault), low self-esteem and body image, bullying or aggression, lack of leadership opportunities, and feelings of depression and suicide. One way to help girls navigate these challenges is to provide opportunities to develop resilience skills.

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Success With Horses = Success With Life
Published Date: 2004-03-01

W.L. Lorimer, founder of Lorimer Family Camps, included the cavalry style of horsemanship along with the athletics, aquatics, and outdoor skills that were the basics for all camps in the early 1900s. More than that, he believed that the responsibility for feeding, grooming, and cleaning — along with the art of handling and communicating with the horses — encouraged positive growth for the campers and influenced their success as adults.

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It is 6:00 p.m. Campers and counselors eat a tailgate cookout dinner at the Trails End Camp field. Excitement is in the air, as kickoff for the championship game will occur in just over an hour.

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Even casual observation reveals the powerful role the summer camp experience plays in accelerating character development in children and teens. The question then becomes "What's next?" The answer, it appears, is emerging leadership — often expressed through entrepreneurship.

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Making Mental Health Matter at Camp
Published Date: 2018-11-01

In 1987, I reported to camp for my first full summer as a counselor. The campers were to arrive only a few days later, but I was confident that I would have no trouble as a staff member with a cabin of six 12-year-old campers. To my dismay, the camp leadership insisted that we attend training sessions during "pre-camp" so we could learn and be more prepared.

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