Resource Library

Camp as Vital Engagement
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More and more children are trading true engagement for electronic connection. What are the costs and how does camp counter this trend?

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Thirty Feet in the Air
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"Amanda, I know you can do this." The counselor Ashley held out both hands to the girl in front of me on the ropes course, looking her directly in the eye. It was good that Ashley had so much faith in her, but I was coming to the opinion that, in fact, Amanda could not do this. We were thirty feet from the ground and I, still tight in my harness, had long since sat down on the wooden platform between elements. Despite the wait, I wasn't particularly impatient to get down from the sky.

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Ty, an eleven-year-old returning camper, is sitting on the porch of your cabin. You have brought him out away from the other boys, just as you were trained to do, because he has been relentlessly annoying another boy in the group named Chad. During staff training, you were told to address bullying behavior as soon as you see it so that you not only stop it before it intensifies, but also send a clear message that such behavior is "not okay" at camp. Ty is just the kind of boy who would influence the rest of the group in the wrong direction.

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Why would the University of Denver require that every graduate business student go to camp? What possible good would derive from forcing predominantly urban dwelling professionals to go off in the mountains to work in teams in outdoor activities?

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What can we do to get more campers? How is our camp perceived by youth, parents, and staff? What do we need to do to stay competitive with other camps?

Camp administrators around the country are exam¬ining their facilities and asking themselves questions like these. The resulting list of items that need to be addressed can prove daunting and even overwhelming! Sometimes, this kind of self-analysis will point to the need for major capital improvements, under the notion: “If we build it, they will come.” But this idea can often be misguided.

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From Peg - July 2010
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In today's world, relevance and added value are important to everyone. Being essential in a world that often must eliminate discretionary expenses is of paramount importance. And, the ability to articulate worth is equally imperative.

Over the last three years, the American Camp Association® (ACA) has focused on five outcomes for children and youth as they relate to our mission to enrich the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience.

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Every spring, the American Camp Association® (ACA) takes the pulse on enrollment trends followed by a fall survey that determines how enrollments actually went for that summer. In the spring of 2009, directors were nervous about the impact of the economic downturn in the U.S. on enrollments. Our early snapshot showed a camp community that was braced for a severe decrease in campers (48 percent anticipating lower enrollments).

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The Edge: The View Ahead
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At my camp we have a special ceremony for the campers who will be aging out of the camp program. Many of those campers have been attending Camp Broadstone for the past six years, and the thoughts of not being able to return weigh heavily on them. These are fifteen-year-olds who are in the midst of much transition: being seen more and more as an adult and less as a child, moving through high school into the exploration of the next academic possibilities, and taking the exciting steps that bring them more independence.

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Have you ever received multiple phone calls from a parent who is seeking reassurance that his or her child’s camp experience will go smoothly? Have you noticed parents or children who look worried when arriving for camp? Or, have you overheard parents talking with their children about the things that could go wrong during camp? As a camp staff member, you have most likely observed these behaviors, which can be risk factors for homesickness.

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The Dig and Discovery: Can We Tell the Story?

So, what is new? What is old? What is the same? Maybe everything; maybe nothing. Many times in the past, I have shared the concepts you will find in this article. You, as camp professionals, have argued these points for many more years. We, as a camp community, have been advocating for children, youth, and families for 150 years. Yet, what is our narrative? We all seem to be talking, but what are we really saying?

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E.g., 2020-07-08