Resource Library

Happy Camping, Y'all!
Published Date: 2018-05-01

Being a camp counselor is hard, but it’s the best and most rewarding work you’ll ever do. As someone who spent 17 summers at camp as a camper, counselor-in-training, cabin counselor, lifeguard, horseback wrangler, arts and crafts coordinator, and an assistant director, I can promise your time at camp will be well worth it. There will be early mornings, rainy days, and long nights, but the summers you spend as a camp counselor will stay with you forever and provide countless stories that will always make you want to go back.

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Working Your Plan

After outlining the basic elements of a strategic plan and discussing a process that engages your key stakeholder groups, we now concentrate on the tools necessary to assist you in the implementation of your plan. As my father told me, "plan your work and work your plan." Now it’s time to create a process to "work your plan."

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Staff training? Check. Nametags ready? Check. Ready to do a great job? Check. Campers are here? Check. It is my first day of camp and I am ready to put everything they taught us into action. I will be the hero and the campers will love me. I am their role model, right? I am older. I know more. I am mature, and I am ready!

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Camp: An Antidote to Stress?
Published Date: 2016-11-01

At a recent gathering, a group of camp professionals were talking about stress. They mentioned how it seemed fairly pervasive among campers and staff, sometimes at debilitating levels. Then they said that for some youth, especially returning campers and staff, camp arrival triggered a huge sigh of relief and seemingly low stress levels. Exuberant comments like "I'm back!" and behaviors such as running pell-mell around camp provided solid testimony to their delight, a freeing of their spirit and a drop in their stress level. It took new people more time to experience that.

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I run two different camps for kids with different needs, including a resident camp for kids with autism. A concerned parent called to talk about how she wanted her son to be “mainstreamed” in the camp environment. By definition, there is no mainstreaming at my camp; they are all living with similar challenges.

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Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, delivered a keynote speech on Thursday, February 14th, at the 2013 ACA National Conference. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and has been featured on television and radio stations like PBS, MSNBC, and NPR, and in TIME Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times.

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“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Ralphie Parker’s mother, teacher, and even Santa Claus uttered five words of warning in the 1983 classic movie A Christmas Story. All Ralphie wanted for Christmas was “an official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle with a special sight and a compass in the stock with a sundial!” The perfect gun for “pranging ducks . . . and getting off spectacular hip shots” (Shepherd, Clark, & Brown, 1982).

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When confronted by newspapermen who had reported incorrectly, humorist Mark Twain replied, "Reports of my death have been exaggerated." In much the same way, the recent furor over a new federal requirement concerning lead paint has been blown out of proportion for most camps and their operations. This month, we're going to look at some of the imperatives of that regulation, and extract the important elements for you to use when you face the next renovation or painting project.

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For 24 years, I have been a camp professional. Most of that time, I have led nonprofit camps that serve the Jewish community. For less than three years in between two camp directing positions, my job shifted to a more global role with the North American Jewish community, but I kept my hands in the camp world. I have in some way — whether directly or indirectly — impacted the experiences of more than 300,000 campers and staff members during the 24 summers that I have been a camp or camping movement leader.

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Don't think that these things just happen — campers don't grow and mature passively; what they get from their camp experiences depends on you.

I'll let you in on a secret. I went to camp as a child, all kinds of camps, and I never really understood what I got out of it until I worked as a counselor one summer when I was in college. It was then that I finally realized what I had learned as a camper — because of what I saw my campers learn.

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E.g., 2019-11-21