Resource Library

Inclusion at Camp
Published Date: 2020-11-01

Welcome to Trail Mixed: Inclusion at Camp. We are happy you are here. The stated mission of the American Camp Association (ACA) is enriching the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience. Our mission is to enrich the camp experience through this ongoing column, which we hope will serve as a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) basecamp for the camp world.

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COVID-19: Decision-Making Amid Uncertainty
Published Date: 2020-11-01

It’s a pandemic. No one knows enough.
They say it may last 12–18 months. Maybe longer.
Information changes day-to-day. Sometimes more frequently.
There’s a pediatric complication that wasn’t anticipated.
COVID-19 changed camp plans — but will the change last forever?
Our economic viability is threatened.
. . . I just want to know what I should do.

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Campers You Can't Serve
Published Date: 2020-11-01

Bob Ditter has faithfully served the camp community for decades — and while he continues to do that, this will be his last In the Trenches column for Camping Magazine. We are so grateful to Bob for sharing his insights, practical advice, and his heart with us. It is that heart and desire to help, without fear of touching on difficult subjects, that has inspired and supported so many. Bob is a champion for camp — and we are better for the words of wisdom he has given us.

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Unsung Heroes
Published Date: 2020-11-01

What a summer 2020 turned out to be! The good, the bad, the ugly — and the grateful.

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The passion of many former campers, staff, and other individuals associated with camp is undeniable. The ability to harness that passion toward efforts that can support camp — through active participation in communication, events, financial support, and community advocacy — is a goal for countless camp directors. But circumstances seem to be keeping some camps from achieving this goal. In the camp world of recruiting staff, running programs, and just keeping the lights on, developing a robust, sustainable alumni program tends to take a back seat. However, it doesn’t have to.

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We love to talk about resiliency and grit in the camp industry, and as this difficult year comes to a close, our entire industry is living those values in real time as we attempt to dust ourselves off and prepare for what 2021 may bring. If there’s any group of people who can adapt on the fly and come up with creative solutions, it’s camp professionals. While our focus is already trained on the upcoming summer, the off-season is an important time to also reflect on what was and how that may shape what will be.

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It was the spring of 2016 when I received a call from the current director of Many Point Camp in Minnesota. Having been the director of Many Point for 25 years, I was used to a call inviting me to the camp staff’s opening banquet. But this call was different, as current Many Point Director Evan Yingst reminded me that this was the year camp was scheduled to open the 40th anniversary time capsule that I had buried in 1986. He wanted me to be there when they dug it up and then make a presentation at the banquet.

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Succession at summer camp can mean many things: succession of ownership, of leadership, or of culture. Of course, these may happen separately, in close proximity, or all at once. In any case, each can represent healthy change or unwanted conflict.

Succession Defined

While the term succession may suggest movement or action, the venerable Merriam-Webster dictionary reminds us it is a noun: person, place, or thing, such as the following (Merriam-Webster, 2020).

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Across the country, summer camps are an integral part of children’s traditional summer experiences. Unfortunately, the same may not be true for children with disabilities. Representing only 3 percent of campers in one study of overnight summer camps across the United States (Laszlo Strategies, 2013), children with disabilities, just like their peers, should have opportunities to gain positive physical, emotional, and social outcomes from an inclusive camp experience (Schleien, Miller, Walton, Roth, & Tobin, 2017).

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What’s Next? The Future of Facilitation
Published Date: 2020-11-01

Predicting the future isn’t in my job description, but then neither was converting everything I knew about real-world facilitation then transferring it to virtual space. If I’m right, years from now people will say I was clairvoyant, perhaps even a genius. If I’m wrong, well, nothing wrong with obscurity, I guess. So, knowing the risks and fully embracing them, I’d like to share my thoughts and predictions about the future of virtual facilitation.

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