Resource Library

Research is more than surveys, interviews, and statistics — it can be a valuable tool to use when designing camp programs, training staff, or in your marketing efforts. But it's also a critical tool for understanding how camp fits into the lives of today's youth. Research suggests that growing up in 2018 can be confusing, difficult, and complex, which means that kids need places where they can experience a different way of being. Summer camps might be the place. Here are findings of three research studies that you can use to make sure your camp is a place apart.

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What It Means to Be a Buddy
Published Date: 2018-11-01

Extra Special People (ESP) is a nonprofit located in Watkinsville, Georgia, that serves people with all types of special needs by providing them with ways to engage, connect, and thrive through year-round programs. Then, during the months of June and July, something magical happens — ESP Summer Camp! We host eight wonderful, wacky weeks of camp programs, including four weeks of engaging day camp at our building, two weeks of field trips, and two weeks of overnight camp.

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Did You Know? Update Your Knowledge
Published Date: 2018-11-01

Staying abreast of health-related updates that impact camp practices is challenging but worth the effort, especially for readers who supervise staff providing care to campers and/or other staff. Here are some of those updates.

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In the middle of last summer, we received an update from our camp insurance agent about one of the biggest challenges facing camps in 2018 — camper and staff mental health issues. At that point in the season, we already had four teenage campers who had discussed suicidal thoughts with their counselors. We'd been conferring with parents, therapists, and social workers at the local hospital to ensure the campers' safety, and ultimately, we were able to navigate each situation successfully. These incidents, however, highlight an alarming and uncomfortable trend.

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Video Games at Camp? Are You Kidding Me?
Published Date: 2018-11-01

No, in fact, I'm completely serious.

For the record, my 40-year career has been spent entirely within the camp, sports, and community center worlds, and has included positions as coach, athletic director, resident camp director, and day camp CEO. Along the way I have served on the United States Olympic Committee.

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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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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2016), 8.5 percent of school-aged children are receiving specialized education services, not including those students with specific learning disabilities. Yet, in 2012, campers with disabilities represented only 3 percent of campers attending Jewish overnight camps (Laszlo Strategies, 2013). This implies that a large number of children are not benefiting from the life-enriching and joyful experience of overnight camp.

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Building Community through Camp
Published Date: 2018-09-01

For children and families who feel isolated or misunderstood, camp can offer the connectivity and support needed to finally feel like part of a community.

It takes a village.

No man is an island.

Better together.

There is no shortage of sentiments about the power of community — and there is no place where that is more evident than at camp. Around the world, camps are creating communities of support for children and young adults who feel sidelined or isolated because of a personal condition, challenge, or circumstance.

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Camp Legends: For Love of Camp and Country
Published Date: 2018-09-01

A Personal Perspective by Jay Jacobs

My world is like a collision of two parallel universes — my camp world and my political world. It’s like people see me as Superman and Clark Kent at the same time. Superman — not because I’m in any way “super,” but because in my camp life I run around daily doing ridiculous things always dressed in the exact same outfit. And Clark Kent, because in my political life I walk around like the stiff that most people think I am. But I thought now would be a good opportunity to debunk that image with a story about what I really do at camp.

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Positive Discipline
Published Date: 2018-09-01

Camp has changed significantly since my first year as a counselor in 1989. Advancements include: online registration, drones shooting video footage, cool water trampolines and climbing devices, overnight camps with shorter sessions, and day camp programs growing in numbers every summer. But some of the biggest advancements across the industry are not as obvious. Focusing on child development has become the priority for camps that want to have a long-term positive impact on children’s lives.

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