Resource Library

Staff orientation training is a jam-packed period of time that can last anywhere from a few hours to a week or more. Ice breakers, camper development, activity training, and health and safety are just a few of the topics that will be covered in some form or fashion prior to the arrival of the first group of campers for this year's summer season.

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My mother never told me there’d be days like these. Challenging? Yes. Difficult? For sure. But nearly impossible? Not so much.

The last full day of camp is always one filled with emotion. But on this day — a day made especially gloomy by unrelenting rain and wind — the emotions went beyond those typically attached to packing up and saying goodbye. They also accompanied the rare, and unlikely, suspension of five outstanding teen leaders just hours shy of our closing ceremonies — and their graduation.

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Show Us the Money
Published Date: 2015-09-01

All camp administrators want their business operations expenses to end up on the positive side of the budget ledger. However, many directors are unaware of how their expenses and revenues compare to other camps' business operations. Every three years the American Camp Association (ACA) collects this information in the ACA Camp Business Operations Survey. In the fall of 2014, we asked a 75-percent random sample of our ACA-accredited camps to share their business data for revenues, expenses, weekly registration costs, scholarships and discounts, and marketing techniques.

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The quiet, final weeks of August find camp directors exhaling and peering out over empty fields — luckier ones are on a beach somewhere preparing meticulously crafted reenrollment letters. Agonizing over price increases to the tenths of a percent, directors know that other than a handful of summer sign-ups, many camps actually have no enrollment for the coming year. That dilemma may be resolved within days for some, but others, especially those serving teens and many nonprofit camps, must start from scratch every fall.

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The year 2020 seems so distant, and yet our goal as a collection of camp professionals is to serve 20 million campers by that year. So how do we get there? I have long been a proponent that programs sell camps — not Web sites, not brochures, and certainly not e-mail blasts (all of which are still important marketing tools). Anywhere from 60–80 percent of your campers came to you in their first year because they heard from someone else about your amazing program, how fun it was, or how many friends they made.
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“The number-one reason I found that parents don’t send their children to summer camp is that parents fear their child will be sexually abused while at camp,” said writer Allison Slater Tate. The gasp was audible as she finished her sentence. A room full of camp directors at the Tristate Camp Conference in 2015 shook their heads and began to murmur. Tate quieted the room and continued to explain how she conducted an informal poll among her friends and acquaintances and shared direct quotes of their responses of fear to her questions about camp.

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More Than an Art Camp - The Bauen Story
Published Date: 2008-11-01

Terence

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The Case of the Melted Fingerprints
Published Date: 2015-05-01

My first time working at summer camp, in fact during my first week, I melted off every one of my fingerprints. I was only 16 at the time, and I remember feeling shocked that this could actually happen. I also remember shamelessly considering what shenanigans I could get away with as a super cool, Justin Bieber-haired, imminently clever teenage boy without fingerprints. (The answer: not much.)

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End-of-Summer Check-Up
Published Date: 2016-06-30

Just as one has an annual check-up with a personal physician, so too would our camps benefit from an end-of-summer review of their health status. Granted, the last two or three weeks of a summer season can be busy, but that busyness is less frantic when one can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In anticipation of summer’s end, we start enjoying the laid-back moments tucked into those final weeks.

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I have recently had the privilege of working closely with a newly established day camp called Boston Explorers. This urban day camp has a number of features that make it a unique experience for children. Boston Explorers has a small “base camp” that it uses as a launching site for explorations throughout the city — places that many of its younger residents seldom visit in their everyday lives.

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