Resource Library

Tom Peters, the author and business management guru, suggested several years ago we should thrive on chaos, but most people and businesses don't. Most of us would like to have events take place routinely without too many changes, variations, or problems. This is natural. Unfortunately, the experience we gain from living our lives and running our businesses is proof that events don't always go routinely, as planned. This is because of risk.

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It was seven years ago when I attended my first ACA National Conference in sunny Orlando. Seven years ago when I showed up not even knowing what region/section I belonged to. Seven years since I was the wide-eyed "newbie" who didn't know a soul. Well, I've come a long way since then, and I can say without any doubt that my first conference experience is why I am so involved in ACA today.

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July 2015. Camp was in full swing with little time to devote to the Internet, but the news feed picked up an item that caught my attention. It was an article published by the national news outlet of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). It was a provocative item about the mimicry of indigenous practices and ceremonies at a couple of summer camps in Ontario, Canada (APTN, 2015).

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Imagine a world where every child benefits from a camp experience . . .

This is the goal of camps across the country as we continue to strive for ACA's 20/20 Vision — to serve 20 million children through the camp experience by the year 2020. In the following interviews, ACA's 2013 Eleanor Eells Award winners share how they bring their camps' missions to life through innovative programming and partnerships.

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Roughly thirty years ago, I packed in an urban-based career and founded a summer camp in central Ontario just north of the city of Toronto. Still, I continue to seek a fuller understanding of camp phenomena through an ongoing commitment to academic research. I was an itinerant camper and attended a variety of camps in both Canada and the U.S. In those days, summer vacation meant summer camp, and every July and August for ten consecutive years, that’s where I was. I might be riding in the Rockies or snorkeling in Lake Champlain.

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Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Are Just Mean
Published Date: 2019-05-01

So you are working at a children's camp this summer. Your role as a counselor is perhaps the most important role at camp. Not only are you there to ensure the kids have a great time, but also to keep them safe.

What does "keep safe" mean? It means to protect from danger, care for their well-being. You already know the obvious safety risks posed by swimming, boating, transportation, and food/water contamination.

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For nine months of the year, children spend most of the day in school, and when the bell rings for the final time in June, most cannot wait for summer to start. During the summer, children are free from daily class schedules and get to spend most of their time just having fun. Some get to spend the summer hanging out with neighborhood friends, others might play on a community sports team, and many even get the chance to go to summer camp.

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Challenging children are not out to get you — they are out to get their needs met. While there will be moments when it may seem precisely as if they are out to get you, more often than not, campers' challenging behavior serves a function, and understanding that function is instrumental in your efforts to deal with them effectively. What are those functions and needs? Research, common sense, and observations suggest some common answers: power, attention, security, and love.

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If I had the choice of spending a whole year in Hawaii or one hour with my brother and sisters, I would choose my siblings. — Luke (camper)

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Religious education directors of al l branches of organized religions struggle to develop programs that truly affect the inner life of children. Many exist with the main purpose of offering a Sunday/Saturday religious education program for children during religious services, so that parents can join other adults in religious worship. Some are committed to teaching religious doctrine and customs leading up to some sort of confirmation or rite of passage into adult life.

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