Resource Library

Each year, ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that epitomize the spirit of the award’s namesake through their efforts to provide sterling programming that effectively and innovatively addresses the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We applaud the 2019 recipients. They are all definitive proof of the might of camp programs to equip campers of all abilities and backgrounds with the resiliency and conviction to build better futures for themselves and their communities.

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The mounting pressure to forego a summer at camp in favor of an internship is higher than ever. Many of you may already be thinking that this is your last summer. The pull is strong to look elsewhere to find experience and name recognition that will look good on your resume and help you land the dream job you are hoping for upon graduation. If it is your first summer, perhaps it took an act of Congress to convince your parents, professors, and friends that working at camp is a good idea. The truth is, there has never been a better time to work at camp!

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Dear Camp Counselor:

This summer you will join, figuratively, with more than 320,000 staff working at some 2,400 accredited camps serving more than 7.4 million children nationwide (ACA, 2013). And, suffice it to say, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Why? Because you will greatly influence young lives. And, in my opinion, there’s no greater gift than that.

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When you agreed to work at camp, you immediately made the decision to have fun, challenge yourself, and change lives. While the format to accomplish this will be provided for you by your camp, the implementation will not. This will come from you in the form of dedication and effort. How much commitment you choose to give is important because campers don’t always come to camp knowing how to succeed.

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Thank you for your deep devotion to engaging children, teens, and young adults in fun, high-quality camp experiences. You have a vital role in youth development and the American Camp Association is pleased to offer this issue of Camping Magazine to you as a staff training resource to help you create lasting impacts on the lives of those you serve.

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Calming Camper Conflicts
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Conflicts between kids at camp can arise for a wide variety of reasons — from being upset by relationships with peers or learning to adjust to new and different situations, to being frustrated with their progress in an activity or simply being tired, hot, or hungry — making campers restless, irritable, and/or inattentive. The list of what might trigger conflicts between campers is exhaustive — and can be exhausting!

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Dutch Oven Cooking Tools and Tips
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Gabe, now a fifth grader, was pumped that he had graduated prerequisite camp programs required to experience Adventure Camp for the first time. Gabe conquered the zip line, sailed on the lake, and last summer, he and his fellow Adventure campers slept in tents in the wilderness for a whole week! A favorite delight that week surprised him — being sous chef to his counselors while Dutch oven cooking, especially when searing fajitas. Here are some pointers for your outdoor campers.

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What do campers need from the counselors who work with them? They need caring relationships with adults they can trust. They need clear limits, high expectations, and healthy challenges. Campers need to be accepted for who they are. They need counselors to support them in taking positive risks and avoiding negative ones. In short, they need you to be the very best you can be.

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Summer Lovin'
Published Date: 2019-05-01

"Summer lovin' had me a blast, summer lovin' happened so fast" is how the classic song from the musical Grease goes. If you have attended camp as a camper or are returning camp staff at a resident or day camp, you know very well that some of your campers will fall in love with this summer. And why wouldn't they? There is nothing like puppy love, those awkward gazes across the dining hall and a kiss or two (if they're lucky). For campers who attend same-sex or co-ed camps, it is a time for them to explore and test out relationships.

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Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Are Just Mean
Published Date: 2019-05-01

So you are working at a children's camp this summer. Your role as a counselor is perhaps the most important role at camp. Not only are you there to ensure the kids have a great time, but also to keep them safe.

What does "keep safe" mean? It means to protect from danger, care for their well-being. You already know the obvious safety risks posed by swimming, boating, transportation, and food/water contamination.

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