Resource Library

Let's start with a riddle. As a camp counselor, you carry a powerful reward for campers with you wherever you go. Whether your realize it or not, you will distribute this reward to campers throughout the day. You'll tend to give this reward most often when campers are acting out, which could lead them to misbehave more. While all children crave this reward, they develop different strategies to acquire it: some have learned to be helpful and respectful, while others have learned to whine, complain, and stir up trouble. What is this mysterious and potent reward?

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From the very beginning, the camp experience has been unique — teaching lessons and creating community in a way that reaches almost everyone, and touches a camper's soul. Camp memories last a lifetime, and often grow stronger with time.

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Camp's Role in Social Media Wellness
Published Date: 2017-09-01

Several years ago, I visited an overnight camp in the Berkshires during its annual family day. I watched quietly as parents poured out of their cars to meet their children, who in turn were semi-excited to see their parents after nearly a month of separation. I was especially interested because this camp went to great lengths to be technology-free, so campers were not texting, messaging, photo-sharing, or video-sending with their families while they were away.

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Strong interest in promoting the concept of a healthy camp continues. Supported by data from ACA’s five-year Healthy Camps Study from 2006 through 2010, improved understanding about camp injuries and illnesses triggered more effort among camp professionals to minimize — if not eliminate — these injuries and illnesses. Promising practices were identified, parent materials became more robust, and a variety of online courses for staff training appeared.

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“Success of an organization is measured in terms of its contribution to society.” — Viljoen, 1944

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As the busyness of summer gives way to a more laidback autumn, many camp professionals find themselves considering changes and adaptations to make the next camp season even better. Part of that consideration is an assessment of your camp's health services.

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I was at the end of a full day of training 300 group leaders (GLs) at the San Diego YMCA in early May 2018. I ended with a story that I hoped would portray a deeper sense of friendship that campers can develop in the emotionally safe, tech-free space of a typical camp. I was also trying to give those eager GLs a glimpse of the kind of impact they could have on some of the over 10,000 campers who would be coming through the San Diego County Y day and resident camp programs in the next several months.

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Campers with Food Allergies
Published Date: 2004-07-01

Summer camp is a time for children to have nonstop fun indulging in their favorite activities. For children with food allergies, going away to camp is not a simple decision, yet many parents have worked successfully to enable their children with food allergies to have these enriching experiences. Janet Erlich, whose two children are severely allergic to milk products and eggs, admits to feeling anxiety when they go away to camp but, she says, "My children love camp. It's the highlight of their year."

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Fred Miller has more than three decades of experience as a senior executive and consultant working in the areas of governance, strategy, and organizational effectiveness. With a long camp history that includes attending camp as a child; working at camps as a counselor, program director, and assistant camp director; and serving as chair of the American Camping Foundation and on the American Camp Association (ACA) National Board, he is a strong advocate of the camp experience and a long-time valued friend of ACA.

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Creating Exceptional Experiences
Published Date: 2017-01-01

Have you heard the theme song "Try Everything" from Disney's animated film, Zootopia? Musical artist Shakira performs the song and voices a character named Gazelle, a pop star from the city of Zootopia who holds a peaceful protest and publicly asks for the harmonious Zootopia she loves and cherishes to be restored. The upbeat lyrics are inspiring and could easily serve as an anthem for exceptional camp experiences that transform millions of young lives every year.

"Birds don't just fly, they fall down and get up, Nobody learns without getting it wrong."

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