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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For many camps, the benefits of partnering with an existing nonprofit for the purpose of scholarship fundraising far outweigh the extensive challenges of starting their own nonprofit. If your camp is ACA-accredited, you don’t have to look any further than the ACA to fill this role!

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Seven Emerging Issues Today's Camps Face
Published Date: 2017-09-01

Results of the 2017 Emerging Issues Survey are in and suggest that camps face a variety of challenges, such as staff and camper health, staff training, parent communication, diversity, revenue generation, marketing, and evaluation. Compared to previous years, these current issues are consistent with past trends. One interesting difference from previous years involves staff training; many camps have indicated a need for LGBT resources where before it was not a main priority for training.

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There are times when general camp staff respond to injury-illness events. These staff are not the camp's officially designated healthcare providers, but rather the staff who, by happenstance, are closest when an incident occurs. They must "do something." There are also times when general staff make decisions about seemingly minor injuries and illnesses that campers may show or talk about: a scraped knee, a scratchy throat, a bruise from a fall.

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In the bottom drawer of my rather cavernous, and somewhat dusty, file cabinet—wedged between a pile of discarded Cape Cod souvenirs and an assortment of T-shirts—sits the treasure of a life's work with children: letters from my campers. Each one is different. Some are written carefully by hand, others hastily scrawled on pieces of scrap paper; some are typed, some are in pencil, and others bear the bright, and alternating, imprint of crayon. Although not one has likely seen the light of day since its receipt, I know they are there and what they represent . . .

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Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, will be delivering the opening keynote address at the 2014 ACA National Conference. Bryson is the coauthor (with Dan Siegel) of the bestselling The Whole-Brain Child, which is now in seventeen languages. She’s a pediatric and adolescent psychotherapist who speaks to parents, educators, clinicians, and camp leadership all over the world. She is a school counselor and the child development director for Lantern Camps.

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Running a camp is challenging. Running a camp in the United States, where violent events occupy the 24-hour news cycle, is even more difficult. There are so many risks and expectations to manage.

The emotional, physical, and financial impacts of violent events, such as the recent attacks in Parkland, Santa Fe, and the YouTube Headquarters, make the exposure top of mind for camp owners, directors, staff, and parents.

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Kevin

Kevin was nine years old when his parents sent him to summer camp in Minnesota. He was overweight, not athletic, not very confident — and more than anything, not wanting to be there!

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How many of these sentences have you heard from inexperienced leadership staff?

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Staff play an important role in your camp operation. After all, it is your staff who are in day-to-day contact with campers, facilitating the positive experiences of camp. Therefore, your staff must share your camp’s philosophy and be aware of the values that make your program unique. Collaborating effectively with your summer staff is a critical element in achieving your organization’s goals and objectives.

The Philosophy Behind the Mission

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