Resource Library

Everybody’s In, Nobody’s Out!
Published Date: 2009-05-01

As a camp counselor this summer, you are about to meet campers from all walks of life. Just a casual look at the changing demographics in the United States suggests that your chances of having an ethnically or racially diverse group of campers is, and will continue to be, greater than ever before. For example, the United States Census Bureau predicts that the number of Hispanics in the United States will almost double in the next twenty years, while Blacks will remain about the same.

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Even in today’s globalized world, many camps and youth-serving organizations still value local connections. While embracing technology to keep in touch with camp alumni or reach a broader audience, the leg work of many youth-serving organizations still gets done the “old fashioned” way — on a person-to-person, mentor-to-child basis.

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On Being a Mentor
Published Date: 2019-09-01

Two of my professional mentors recently passed away after horrific battles with cancer. Their funerals gave me pause to reflect on the deeply profound impact they each had on who I am today, both personally and professionally. One of these mentors was responsible for inviting me into the camp profession and encouraged me to build my professional camp education and become an active American Camp Association (ACA) volunteer leader. He shared many insights that I wouldn’t have otherwise known and helped me recognize and understand my blind spots.

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"Emily" is a six-year-old camper in the "Jellyfish" group at an East Coast day camp. She is a new camper this year, coming into a group where about 70 percent of the campers are returning. She comes from an upwardly mobile, well-off family who values education and personal achievement. As a consequence, during the school year, Emily is heavily "programmed." As highly successful professionals, both of her parents have demanding work schedules.

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The Restorative Powers of Nature
Published Date: 2018-01-01

An Interview with Florence Williams

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So you did it! All your planning and intentionality in working to make connections to nature a cornerstone of your program are paying off. You watch happily as, in those glorious days of camp, children play enthusiastically and freely in the woods near their cabins, finding lucky stones, or making mini-dams in the brook. Or maybe they cleared a vacant lot and planted cucumbers and tomatoes. Perhaps they managed the recycling on their own or worked to conserve water. They learned all the local trees and enthusiastically studied bugs on their way to rest hour.

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In the Trenches: In the Weeds
Published Date: 2014-11-01

At first I didn't see the call. It came to my cell phone from an unfamiliar number at 6:30 one morning in late July. I had been driving since 5:30 on my way to a camp where I was going to be consulting with the head staff. When I listened to the voicemail I could hear the distress in the camp director's voice. "If you have any time today, can you please call me as soon as possible? I'm going to give you my cell. Call any time."

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Decade after decade since the mid-1800s, summer residential and day camps have been a barometer for social change, often acting as catalysts for change themselves. What started out as a retreat from city life for white, urban children would become an experiential learning opportunity for “boys and girls, recent immigrants and the native-born; the children of union activists, socialists, and progressive educators; Protestants, Jews, and Catholics; and children of all races and classes,” wrote Leslie Paris in her book Children’s Nature — The Rise of the American Summer Camp (2008, p. 7).

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Empowering Communities
Published Date: 2019-01-01

Nashville, Tennessee, is home to country music, hot chicken, Johnny Cash, and the upcoming 2019 ACA National Conference, "Empowering Communities." I am pleased to invite you to join hundreds of other camp professionals as we learn and are inspired through the variety of keynotes, excellent workshops, professional gatherings, and casual hallway discussions. We will take home fresh ideas and a renewed focus that will help lead all of our camp programs.

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Camp is a special environment that can benefit children and adults of all backgrounds and abilities, including children with disabilities or special needs; gay, lesbian, or bisexual youth or families; at-risk youth; or minorities. By working to create an accepting and tolerant camp environment, campers from all walks of life can learn to better appreciate the differences and similarities they bring to camp.

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E.g., 2019-10-23