Resource Library

One amenity you’ll find on just about every camp, regardless of its overall focus or theme, is a ball field. Beyond baseball and softball, that open space lends itself to a dozen or more other activities. With just a little bit of planning and forethought, it can deliver even more bang for your capital buck. This month, we’re going to look at a couple of the most basic elements to make the most of the space.

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"You learn about things that you do not learn about in school. It's actual reality and not sugar-coated. We learned how to work together. In school, they tell you to work together. I learned that when you work in a team, you have your own rights. If you have a good idea and another person has a good idea, you can actually accomplish what you want to do instead of it crashing."
— Mabel, Camp Fiver camper, age thirteen

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2011: A Year in Review
Published Date:

As a community of youth development and camp professionals, our work will never be done. Each day, we strive to reach children and youth with intentional, life-changing camp experiences — and to make those camp experiences the best they can possibly be.

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The year 2020 seems so distant, and yet our goal as a collection of camp professionals is to serve 20 million campers by that year. So how do we get there? I have long been a proponent that programs sell camps — not Web sites, not brochures, and certainly not e-mail blasts (all of which are still important marketing tools). Anywhere from 60–80 percent of your campers came to you in their first year because they heard from someone else about your amazing program, how fun it was, or how many friends they made.
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As a camp counselor, your job is among the most important responsibilities anywhere - parents have entrusted their children to you. You have the charge of not only making sure they are safe, but of nurturing their development.

Nurturing campers' development includes having clear ideas of the kinds of behaviors you want to encourage. Some positive behaviors that can be taught at camp are:

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Every child is unique. Every camp is unique. So, unique approaches when responding to the needs of children in camps are essential. Summer camps were started to support children during out-of-school time (Ozier, n. d.) and to offer survival skills for children to thrive in the real world, outside of the immediate relationship of their families. Summer camps are a valuable resource for all children, especially those who have a learning disability and have experienced trauma or situational factors such as homesickness and bullying.

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When you decided to be a summer camp counselor this summer, you made a great choice. Few summer jobs offer as many opportunities for personal growth and leadership development, or allow you to have such a meaningful, positive impact on a child’s life. Being a camp counselor won’t be as easy as some summer jobs, but it has the potential to be much more rewarding. Even before the season starts, you will be inundated with information about everything from camp policy guidelines to camper behavior management strategies. It might seem overwhelming, and it probably will be at times.

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The benefits to youth from camping are well known by former campers, their parents, and camp directors. However, little research is available on the influence that an organized camping experience has on youth, mainly because there seems to be general agreement that camp is good for kids. A recent meta-analysis of the available research determined the state of knowledge on the influence that the organized camping experience has on the self-constructs: self-esteem, self-confidence, and other aspects of self. The results are good news for camping.

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In today's tough, competitive environment, it seems the only thing a camp director can be certain of is uncertainty. Everywhere around us, change is occurring — changes that have forced many camp professionals to rethink the way we look at our business in an effort to ensure our own camps remain a viable and relevant experience for children in the year 2020 and beyond.

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Since the outbreak of H1N1 during the summer of 2009, camps have been diligently updating their health and safety protocols and practices for the management of communicable diseases. By accessing and integrating information from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Camp Association® (ACA), the Association of Camp Nurses, and other related resources, camps are improving their health practices by incorporating new knowledge into their day-to-day health center operations.

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