Resource Library

A 2004 American Camp Association poll of its members found that the one area camp administrators wanted more information on was personal leadership development. It is evident that there is a quest in the camp field for enhancement of leadership. As camp directors plan for the new season, your experiences from the previous summer should help you recognize and acknowledge some of your leadership strengths and weaknesses. Yes, we all do indeed have positive and negative leadership qualities.

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Rewind to the time in your life when you were seven, ten, or thirteen (or any other desired childhood age). Who was your best friend at that age? What style clothing did you wear? What did you like to do in your free time? What music do you recall from that age? What was your favorite toy? What book did you enjoy reading? What device could you hardly wait to get because it was the “in” thing to have? What is your worst memory of that time in your life? What is your best memory of being that particular age?

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“Yes, a reading program fits into camp. Sherwood [Forest] Camp is a lot more than camping, mosquitoes, and swimming — it’s aimed at the whole child.” — Parent of a 2011 reading program participant

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This column is different from what I usually provide. It poses a vision for the future of our camp community’s health profile. As you read, ask if the ideas reflect your desire for improving our health profile, improvement that has the potential to impact both your camp’s initiatives as well as our national profile. The content flows from the United States’ framework for Healthy People 2030.

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A Platform for Growth
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Day camps. Resident camps. Camps for girls only. Camps for boys only. Burn-victim camps. Camps for kids with cancer. Camps for kids who want to lose weight. Faith-based camps. Activity- or sports-specific camps. For-profit camps. Nonprofit camps. Truth be known, the list of different types of camps is virtually endless.

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Camps need staff to run their programs; colleges/universities have various requirements for students regarding coursework and internships; and students are usually pulled between what they want to do and what they have to do to meet school and parent demands. How can we create a win-win situation for all involved?

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If this is your first year receiving a paycheck at camp (no matter how small) instead of paying tuition, then this article is for you. New and veteran staff will also benefit from having a better understanding of the transition that occurs from coming to camp as a camper to becoming a vital part of the staff team. There are different names for this group of staff — ranging from junior counselors to assistant counselors to counselors-in-training (CIT).
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It was June 2006. I had been conducting staff training at a coed camp in the Northeast. I had already spoken to the entire staff about the “real work” of camp, which I see as helping campers use the activities and their relationships with one another and with staff to grow into more mature, well-rounded people — to develop character. As I typically do, I had spoken about the incredible impact staff can have on a young person and how children look up to staff in ways they might not always make obvious to us.

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With five generations actively involved in camp, it seems like the communication gap is widening. According to family physician Deborah Gilboa, MD, "The range of what is considered normal is wider now. That's going to mean some people fall behind and feel less comfortable." While having so many generations together can present some significant communication challenges within camp — as well as in communicating out from the camp community — Gilboa says it also represents a far richer experience for campers (and staff).

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E.g., 2019-12-05