Resource Library

For years sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists have mourned the loss of traditions marking important childhood "rites of passage." In earlier American culture, movement toward adulthood was accompanied by more ritualistic, meaningful celebrations of transition to newfound independence and responsibility to the family and community.

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There was a day when it was thought that being an American and having "gumption" went hand in hand. As Dennis R. Rader writes in Learning Redefined: Changing the Images that Guide the Process, "America used to be a community alive with the unspoken motto: Gumption Grown Here" (p. 274). What is gumption? Gumption is toughness. Not tough in a stereotypical way (e.g. like suggesting attitudes and actions that are hard, cold, insensitive, or even brutal), but tough meaning emotionally, mentally, and physically f lexible, strong, and resilient.

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If at First You Don’t Succeed . . .
Published Date: 2016-09-01

When I was six or seven, my parents decided I needed to do something structured a couple days a week during the day in the summertime. They ended up sending me to a gym camp, a local day camp that focused on outdoor physical activity — archery, horseback riding, swimming, etc. — something they thought would wear me out a little and make me less of a handful at home.

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“The gluten-free cinnamon rolls are amazing!” Those emphatic words are emblazoned in my brain, stamped into my memory. As tears began to well in her eyes, Annalise, one of our counselors, looked around as if sharing a secret and said, “I haven’t eaten a cinnamon roll in five years! Could I please have your recipe?”

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The mounting pressure to forego a summer at camp in favor of an internship is higher than ever. Many of you may already be thinking that this is your last summer. The pull is strong to look elsewhere to find experience and name recognition that will look good on your resume and help you land the dream job you are hoping for upon graduation. If it is your first summer, perhaps it took an act of Congress to convince your parents, professors, and friends that working at camp is a good idea. The truth is, there has never been a better time to work at camp!

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What's stopping your camp from improving its existing programs or introducing new ones? At the same time, what's standing between your organization and "going green?" Each to its own extent, cost, culture, and commitment drive the decisions that shape camp whether you're considering programs, facilities, administration, or being greener. This month we're going to see that camps can tackle green initiatives the very same way that they've overcome program obstacles for years and years and years.

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The Myth of Middle Management
Published Date: 2017-09-01

There’s an interesting trend happening in the camp profession: If your program director, assistant director, or other full-time middle management employee has not recently left your organization, they may soon, leaving a large staffing hole to fill. Likely, this wasn’t something that you were planning to devote your time and energy toward over the next few months or years. What a waste! These individuals came into these middle management jobs prepared for the long haul, and now they are burned out and want to move on. Why?

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Camp "Whatever" Letter
Published Date: 2012-03-01

Camp Hancock’s director Bill Young and I conceived the “Camp Whatever Letter,” originally written more than a decade ago, as a response to our observations and frustrations about the changing culture of parents and children. Many (not all) young people of all ages had an agenda that included drugs, sex, alcohol, and a fascination with violence. In addition, consulting parents many times about their child’s troubling behavior at camp proved unsuccessful. “That’s the way they are today” was a response heard one too many times.

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I would like to tell you a story about what it means to be a “finder” and a “funder.” At 12:00 p.m. the bell would ring to signal the start of my freshman world history class. John, Sam, and Tim would walk in less than excited to learn about history for the next ninety minutes, but very excited to visit with their friends and hang out. They were each uniquely charming and charismatic. They were the life of the party, despite the fact that my history class was not supposed to be a party.

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