Resource Library

It started with a camp director’s speech. You know, one of those impassioned, are-you-ready-for-this; get-your-stoke-on; you-can-do-it; don’t-be-scared-but-it’s-OK-to- be-nervous speeches the night before the kids arrived:

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So Many Reasons to Attend Conference
Published Date: 2019-01-01

I admit it, I love a camp conference! The energy, the ideas, the networking, and catching up with old friends — it's an extroverted camp-lover's dream.

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Brandon Briery on the Ability Experience at Camp CAMP

"What did you do last summer?" For most of you, this question conjures images of campfires, canoes, horses, swimming, and lots of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement from smiling and eager campers. If you asked most people, "What do you think a bunch of fraternity brothers did last summer?" they might tend to picture other images in their minds. Those images, however, would be very wrong for the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brothers who are part of the group’s national philanthropy the Ability Experience.

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World-Class Career Development
Published Date: 2018-11-01

Imagine a fun college summer working at camp, where, as with any other internship, young adults gain knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience while making important connections for their future. Summers working at camp practicing career-enriching, human performance competencies are more valuable to young people than ever before.

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Why I Hate Parenting Books
Published Date: 2018-11-01

The mother standing next to me was not my own, which was fine. I was seven when I visited the Washington Monument for the first time, with both my parents. The next time, at 43, I was the married parent of two boys, ages five and seven.

"Typical," said the mother, gazing up. Or was she rolling her eyes? "It's totally phallic." The pedantic linguist in me wanted to quip: "None of the other monuments and memorial sculptures in Washington, DC are obelisks. That makes it atypical, lady."

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A Sample of Issues from Camp 2018
Published Date: 2018-11-01

I spend time with camp professionals from May to August consulting with directors on the more perplexing and complicated issues they face with campers, staff, or parents during the camp season. This year I met with or heard from 61 camp directors from around the country. Some of the issues I encountered included a heightened level of anxiety in both campers and staff. Many camp directors reported that they had several staff members who could not complete the season because of anxiety.

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A decade ago, the United States market voluntarily abandoned the long-standing wood preservative and treatment method where an arsenic and copper compound was forced into the fibers of the lumber. When the fluid was removed, this preservative was left behind and was extremely effective at retarding decay. The copper displaced water (and the microbes that cause rot), and the arsenic deterred wood-consuming insects like ants and termites. Contrary to popular belief, there was never any evidence that these chemicals would leach from the product or caused harm from splinters.

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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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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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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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