Resource Library

Next to national, state, and municipal parks, camps manage some of our most important natural resources. Camp settings not only introduce children to natural resources, build their skills to recreate in those resources, but can also act as a model for sustainable practices. In the 2009 and 2011 surveys of camp directors, the American Camp Association (ACA) highlighted sustainability practices as a key emerging issue (ACA, 2012). As an issue on camp directors' minds, we must first start with defining this concept.

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Imagine finding a jar full of old coins buried in the yard, and tossing them out because Italy (Rome) doesn't issue denarii anymore! I bet that you didn't know that you, too, have a treasure. It's probably closer than you think, and you won't have to use a shovel. Remember that avalanche of rolled-up drawings that attacks from the back of the storage closet? There's your irreplaceable treasure, chock full of knowledge and information. If they're not where they can work for you, you just don't know what a treasure they are.

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Shimi Kang, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, researcher, author, and speaker who specializes in adolescence and addiction. She is the author of The Self-Motivated Kid: How to Raise Happy, Healthy Children Who Know What They Want and Go After It (Without Being Told) (2015) and The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids (2014), which is a national best-seller and reflects her drive to promote essential health and wellness information relevant to our daily personal and professional lives in an accessible way.

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Change is often difficult for the thousands of camps and conference centers across the country to embrace, partly because many camps are steeped in tradition, and partly because of fear. The camp food service industry has been serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets, bug juice, cake mixes, pre-baked breads, and, of course, s'mores for too long. Now is the time for camp directors and food service directors to embrace the movement toward healthier food options.

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Risk Management: A Camp Director’s Wish
Published Date: 2013-05-01

Soon hundreds of children and camp staff from all over the world will be joining me here at my camp. This is the beginning of the much anticipated and long-awaited summer of 2013. My wish is that this will be the best summer ever!

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Over the last 30 years, I have not only been a camp director and owner but have also worked in the role of providing professional risk management education within the camp, youth development, and education fields. My clients have included universities, municipalities, private schools, camps, recreation, and nonprofit organizations. In addition to writing, providing educational workshops, training camp staff, etc., I am often hired to evaluate policies and procedures, as well as advise and provide an expert opinion for insurance and legal professionals when accidents happen at camps.

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"My sometime is now," the tune continues. In 1964, crooner Dean Martin knocked the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night" from their number one pop chart perch with that bit of wisdom. Almost fifty years later, it still rings true. In workshops and articles, I've said that relationships with consultants are marriages of convenience. The successful ones have many of the same phases and facets, including courting, sharing of private information, and cooperation.

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Positive Futures
Published Date: 2018-01-01

I have been blessed by a wonderful career as a camp director and educator in our field. It has been gratifying to see the lives of generations of campers and staff members transformed over the years. I know how deeply impactful camp experiences can be, but I’m always looking for new expert evidence to help the field communicate why camp experiences are essential for all American children and youth.

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Yes, You Need to Be a Grownup Every Day
Published Date: 2009-05-01

What did I get myself into, or why did I come back? These unspoken questions go through the minds of many staff during the first hour of orientation. Yes, camp is an awesome place to spend the summer, but day one of orientation can be frightening, intimidating, refreshing, or even adventurous. Even though you will be in the same physical place, returning staff and new hires have very different agendas. One group is excited, crying, hugging, animated, and screaming while the other is patient, perplexed, anxious, and a little scared.

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Writing a Letter of Reference
Published Date: 2013-11-01

One of the challenges of working at a summer camp is communicating to the outside world what it means to work at a summer camp. When we were young camp counselors, my dear friend Brienne carefully taped this common quote on the inside wall of her cabin: “From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it.” Brienne, melancholy with the thought of leaving camp for the year, was probably thinking about returning to college and boring her roommates with camp stories that did not make sense to anyone who wasn’t there.

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