Resource Library

As summer begins and all those carefully recruited campers begin to arrive, camp professionals often revisit orientation to assess if they've adequately prepared staff to handle various aspects of camp life. Based on what was presented during last February's Healthy Camp Symposium at the 2011 ACA National Conference, there are several strategies that staff can routinely use to support and maintain the health (wellness) of camper groups.

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A Translation of Norms
Published Date: 2016-09-01

The dining hall area is filled with families playing Loteria (like Bingo except pictures are called out instead of numbers). Loteria is the Spanish word for lottery. The excitement builds with the anticipation of one of the 54 different images appearing on one’s own tabla, a board with a randomly created 4 x 4 grid of pictures with their corresponding name and picture. Players choose what tabla they want to play with and settle in for several rounds of conversation and adrenalin.

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Camp professionals generate many documents. While some documents aren’t retained very long, others are preserved because they contain critical information. It’s these critical records that deserve attention; do they contain sufficient information presented in an appropriate manner? In other words, how does one “write right”?

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When Staff MESH Impacts Camp
Published Date: 2015-03-01
Everyone has a mental, emotional, social health (MESH) profile. For most of us, our MESH profile is within a “normal” range. Some days are better than others. Some things push our buttons, others don’t. Some days we have a higher tolerance for situations that, on another day, put us on edge. We can be chuckling with mirth in the morning and grumpy by the time supper rolls around. Regardless of our minute-to-minute MESH profile, we typically maintain a fairly predictable profile, one that others come to know as “us” and with which others can effectively interface.
 
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Congratulations! If you are reading this, it means that you have decided to be a camp counselor for at least a part of this summer! Now that you have landed the plum job, allow me to tell you the great news and the less-than-great news about what is in store for you.

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What I Learned in the Woods
Published Date:

I spent the las t four summers of my life hidden behind a mass of trees and rolling hills. Separated from civilization by mere miles, I entered a world that sent my imagination whirling and my sense of reality to a screeching halt. As I woke every morning to the reminder of hundreds of trees waving and undulating over the expanse of nettles and clovers, I somehow had to convince myself that this place really existed. My heart still owns much of those 200 acres, where even the smell of rotting forest only serves to remind me of what it will become.

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Imagine a camp program staff is preparing an experiential game of Hawks and Squirrels to demonstrate the predator-prey relationship and role of resources in the natural environment. The campers who are squirrels scurry across the field picking up colored balls that represent food and water while the campers who are hawks tag the squirrels that can’t find the necessary resources, transforming them into hawks.

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It’s 6:27 a.m. on a sunny Tuesday morning. There you are, comfortably seated at your desk, ready for another great day, when you are called for assistance by a counselor to the health center. Upon arrival to the center, you observe a camper and your health center nurse. Instantly you can sense that something is wrong and there is a situation to deal with. And, that’s when you learn that, for the first time ever, you’ll have to be dealing with the unspeakable — bed bugs.

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Another summer season is ending. With that comes the time when many camp profes¬sionals not only relax but also review systems with an eye toward change, improvement, and growth. To that end, the Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) recently updated their “Hallmarks of a Healthy Camp Community” (2013). Originally developed by a task force during the 1999 International Camp Health Congress and revised in 2005, the most recent hallmarks not only complement the Healthy Camps initiative but also give direction to the future.

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A Place to Share: Global Giving
Published Date: 2013-03-01

Giving has always been a critical lesson that we teach campers and staff as part of the camp experience. Living and learning together, campers must give respect to their peers and camp staff. In creating a great camp experience, staff members must give freely of themselves and their time. Each and every person learns to give their best effort and strengths in each activity, opportunity, and interaction.

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