Resource Library

Influencing Green Behavior at Your Camp
Published Date: 2020-05-01

Two summers ago, I led a staff training workshop with 180 camp staff from Blue Star Camps in Hendersonville, North Carolina. They had recently spent around $30,000 to replace their lights with more energy-efficient LED bulbs and fixtures. But while these kinds of upgrades can make a huge impact on reducing energy consumption, camp leaders found that the lights were being left on in unoccupied buildings.

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Mariana and Jessica are exasperated with one another. Mariana thinks the girls they share responsibility for as co-counselors are way too noisy and messy. She is always the one who gets these rambunctious fifth graders to quiet down or finish their cabin cleanup chores. Because she is typically the counselor who speaks up first, the girls have begun to favor Jessica, whom they see as "nicer." Jessica, who went to camp here as a camper, thinks that Mariana is too strict.

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As former camp directors, we've both had experiences where we pushed ourselves to the point where we weren't safe. Imagine this scenario:

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Energy & Enthusiasm: Find Your Sweet Spot
Published Date: 2020-05-01

As you can probably imagine and were most likely told in your interview, working at camp requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm. This is 110 percent true. Camp is, without a doubt, a place where these two attributes can be found at very high levels. You may be wondering just how much of them are needed on an individual or daily basis. Chances are, you will hear on multiple occasions throughout the summer from camp leadership that staff are lacking energy and enthusiasm. But high levels of both are neither realistic nor sustainable (or desirable) all the time.

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Most accidents involving campers occur in program, living, and common areas — typically when campers are (or were supposed to be) under the supervision of frontline camp staff such as cabin counselors, program staff, and activity-area supervisors. If this describes your role, this makes sense because you spend the most time directly with campers, including during program activities, mealtimes, and over night. As such, your day-to-day decision-making and supervision is a primary control for managing risk.
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The Impact of Community
Published Date: 2020-05-01

I have been so deeply inspired by the way many summer camps across America came together virtually as a community online to sing, play, and connect during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. It was as if the summer of 2020 began in March this year. These virtual camp programs rekindled the spirit of connection and belonging for thousands of children, teens, and adults who were confined to their homes and, like many of us, filled with anxiety and fear. With everyone emotionally starving for human connection, these programs were tremendously therapeutic and restorative.

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Anxiety — It Isn't Just a Camper Thing
Published Date: 2020-05-01

While you may be called upon to help one or more campers in the throes of anxiety this summer, chances are they aren't the only ones feeling anxious. Whether it's graduating from one phase of your life to the next, starting a new job, experiencing a new environment, or the worldwide spread of a new virus, this year has held plenty of causes for anxiety. Unchecked, anxiety has a way of taking on a life of its own, which can have serious health and life consequences for sufferers. 

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Sesame: The Fastest Growing Allergy Threat
Published Date: 2020-05-01

Fifteen-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and her father were flying from London to France on a British Airways jet in July of 2016. Natasha was eating a baguette purchased before boarding from the Pret a Manger bakery at London’s Heathrow airport, when she suddenly had difficulty breathing. Her father quickly injected her with two EpiPens, but Natasha succumbed to anaphylaxis, tragically dying in flight. Natasha’s cause of death: sesame seeds. These food allergens were not listed on the baguette packaging ingredient list (Doward, 2018).

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Moving Forward Together — March 2020
Published Date: 2020-03-06

Another exciting summer season of adventurous fun and learning at camp is just ahead. I hope you will take every opportunity available to ardently articulate the considerable educational and developmental advantages of camp with your prospective and longtime camp parents and staff members. Social-emotional learning is more important now than ever before, and findings from decades of camp research suggest that camp is an optimal context for practicing these skills.

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Safe, Sanitary Water
Published Date: 2020-03-06

It's been years since we talked about potable water systems in Building Principles, and with opening camp just around the corner, this seems like an ideal time to revisit some of the key points that your county sanitarian expects you to know to run a safe, healthy water system at camp. So, let's look at some basic whys and hows of disinfection.

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