Resource Library

Every spring, the American Camp Association® (ACA) takes the pulse on enrollment trends followed by a fall survey that determines how enrollments actually went for that summer. In the spring of 2009, directors were nervous about the impact of the economic downturn in the U.S. on enrollments. Our early snapshot showed a camp community that was braced for a severe decrease in campers (48 percent anticipating lower enrollments).

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Giving of Your Time
Published Date: 2017-07-01

Investing my personal time as an American Camp Association volunteer has always been fun and rewarding for me throughout my career as a camp professional. I remember well the day — over 25 years ago — when I first raised my hand to help on a local ACA committee. It was towards the end of the regional conference that I was attending as a relative ACA newcomer. A handful of western North Carolina camp professionals had gathered for a "district" meeting and we had recently learned that we were slated to host the next year's conference.

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Addiction, recovery, and summer camp — four words that don't often appear together. Nevertheless, addictions of all kinds, perhaps especially to alcohol and other drugs, remain hugely problematic at individual, familial, institutional, and societal levels. They beg the question, "If camp experiences are transformative in so many ways, might they also result in easier, faster recovery from addiction?"

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Session length may not be as vital to the accomplishment of developmental outcomes as directors are anecdotally sharing. Interestingly, no empirical support exists for the conventional wisdom that longer sessions have better outcomes than shorter sessions for campers. Dimock and Hendry (1929) found that campers’ level of development in general did not significantly vary whether they were at camp one or two months. They cautioned that this finding might not appropriately represent the actual effect of camp due to limitations in the measurement tool.

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The Globalization of the Camp Movement
Published Date: 2010-09-01

In American history books, 1987 will be remembered as the "dark year" of the Reagan administration, with shadows cast by the Iran- Contra affair, the Unabomber, and detonation of an atomic weapon in Nevada. But in the annals of the American Camp Association (ACA), the National Conference in Washington, DC, proved to be like no other in the organization's history.

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Why are kids at camp so darn happy? It’s a relevant question as we embark upon another camp season. Of course, an important part of your job this summer will be to promote and enhance that happiness and to create a pathway for successful camper outcomes.

What do those outcomes look like?

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So you have decided to spend your summer working with children, and living with them, too. While presenting more challenges than your typical summer job, you can have a powerful impact on the lives of your campers. Before the campers arrive, you are bombarded with information, ranging from your staff employee handbook to research on child development. Between the excitement of the summer and the potential information overload of staff training, it is easy to overlook a critical element of your training: you.

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Every camp director has been there. In fact, if you’re like most camp leaders, you’re there right now. If asked, you could immediately name two or three people with whom you should have a crucial conversation about some topic, but you haven’t. Perhaps you’ve even brought it up, but you danced around the real issue and never laid all your cards on the table. When you think about facing it again, your mouth gets dry, your head aches, and your muscles start to twitch.

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A primary challenge for any business is recruiting and maintaining customers. In 2012, 27.2 percent of camps surveyed reported camper enrollment that was lower or at its lowest point compared to the previous five years (American Camp Association, 2013). While 59.7 percent of surveyed camps developed budgets expecting to operate below capacity in 2012 (American Camp Association, 2013), 31.7 percent reported that their enrollment was still less than 90 percent of their target.

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E.g., 2019-10-21