Resource Library

This article is the first in a two-part series on fund-raising, and to learn even more about this subject, be sure to attend Ann Sheets and Posie Taylor’s session, The Development Doctors Are In, at the 2018 ACA National Conference in Orlando, Florida.

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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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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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As I’m sure is true with many camps, we spent several weeks last October and November recruiting and visiting families in the major cities from which we draw campers. It is a fun and sometimes exhausting time of year — late nights, many new faces, camp events, reunions, and time away from home. Throughout the trip, I was struck by a pattern that has always been present but had escaped the focus of my attention: Many parents don’t know why they want to send their children to camp or what they expect their kids to get out of it.
 
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When Competition Is Just Right
Published Date: 2018-11-01

"I don't want my child to take part in this contest you've dreamed up," a visiting parent told me on the grounds of my camp. "I don't want him to lose. He's not good at this." She pointed out to the playing field where campers were practicing throwing bamboo spears, hurling rock ‘shot puts,' and leaping over high jump crossbars."

"It's called the 'Primitive Olympics,'" I explained. "Everyone is excited about it. Including your son."

She frowned out at the activity on the field. "But he can't do these things. He'll lose."

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Dreams for Our Children
Published Date: 2016-05-01

Every parent dreams for their child.

In the training of camp staff over the years, one of the most challenging assignments that we have as directors is to share with our staff what it is like to be a parent. While it can never truly be taught until it is experienced, the goal is always to make sure staff are aware of the importance of the role they have undertaken.

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The power grid has gone down.
Forest fire is threatening the camp property.
The water supply is contaminated.
There's been an industrial spill, and camp must be evacuated.
Critical computer systems have been hacked into.

These crises — all stemming from sources outside camp — are getting more attention from camp professionals. We used to focus most on incidents that were camp-bound, incidents such as a lost camper, a waterfront emergency, or a building fire. But in today's world, we must also attend to events arising from the external community.

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The Sound of Music
Published Date: 2008-11-02

Each summer at Morry's Camp, the summer component of Project Morry, the tents are alive with the sound of music. The Music Ascension Program (MAP) is designed to help young people believe in themselves and their own creativity. Each summer, more than three hundred children take full advantage of the rare, hands-on opportunity to write, record, and help engineer an album containing their original lyrics, music, and artwork. The reality of MAP all began with a dream.

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In the dedication of my book, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, I wrote, "Summer is like childhood. It passes too fast. But if you're lucky, it gives you warm memories from which you take strength in the cold days ahead. As camp professionals, we all want children to feel loved, to be happy now, and to grow into responsible, caring, content adults in their own right. But that isn't always as easy as we'd hope.

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As camp professionals become more effective risk managers, the need to periodically review camper and staff injury and illness events is a given. One of the best sources of this information is a health center’s log. Knowing why people seek healthcare not only provides an indicator about the effectiveness of risk management strategies, but can also inform incoming nurses about anticipated camper and staff needs, help determine if medical protocols cover anticipated injuries and illnesses, and inform decisions about what supplies are needed in the health center.

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E.g., 2019-07-22