Resource Library

I remember when it occurred to me that working as a camp counselor was more than just having fun with campers. I was a first-year counselor at a boys' resident sailing camp on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. One of the boys in my cabin had the unfortunate luck of being both impulsive and having a temper. I say "unfortunate" because whenever "TJ" got into trouble—and because of his impulsivity that was much of the time—he had a temper outburst. Certainly TJ, I, and the other boys were having a lot of fun learning new skills in sailing and other activity areas.

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Keeping Staff Training Relevant
Published Date: 2015-03-01

The world of camp is responsible for creating timeless change through temporary communities. It is a chaotic utopia enabling healthy risks and creating lifelong friendships through positive peer pressure. Adults who care about changing lives give up their summers to role model a passion of courage and vulnerability, while intentionally creating safe environments and portals of nondistracted learning for students to engage in life and be loved for who they are. Camp is fun.

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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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Wildfire!
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Since moving to Montana from Pennsylvania several years ago, I’ve become much more attuned to the threat of wildfires, and have begun to learn more about what can be done to safeguard the people inside structures and limit damage at the same time. Our home is now at the very edge of the service area for a fine volunteer fire department, but there are surely limits to how quickly they can respond. Just last October, fire took our neighbors’ home, and it reminded us that living on the prairie has hazards and risks along with the wonders it brings.

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Camp Leadership for the 21st Century
Published Date: 2016-01-01

Michael Yeh is standing in front of an audience of over 1,000 health care and mental health professionals telling a story about a recent surgical procedure he led at the UCLA Endocrine Surgical Unit, which he directs. An Associate Professor of Surgery and Medicine at UCLA, Dr. Yeh is describing the delicate surgical procedure while an actual videotape of the operation is being shown to the audience. What we see unfolding before us is a medical drama that rivals any reality TV show one could imagine. A few minutes into the procedure it is clear that the surgical team is losing the patient.

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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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Camp operates as a business, when we all know it is more. In order to focus on what matters at camp, it is crucial that camp operations run without friction. That means adopting the best business practices possible, which will allow you to focus on serving campers and staff in a way that promotes your camp's mission.

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Addiction, recovery, and summer camp — four words that don't often appear together. Nevertheless, addictions of all kinds, perhaps especially to alcohol and other drugs, remain hugely problematic at individual, familial, institutional, and societal levels. They beg the question, "If camp experiences are transformative in so many ways, might they also result in easier, faster recovery from addiction?"

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Session length may not be as vital to the accomplishment of developmental outcomes as directors are anecdotally sharing. Interestingly, no empirical support exists for the conventional wisdom that longer sessions have better outcomes than shorter sessions for campers. Dimock and Hendry (1929) found that campers’ level of development in general did not significantly vary whether they were at camp one or two months. They cautioned that this finding might not appropriately represent the actual effect of camp due to limitations in the measurement tool.

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Making Camp Possible for Others
Published Date: 2019-07-01

Three summers ago, I stepped onto a bus as a small, shy, eight-year-old not knowing what to expect at Camp Canadensis. With tears in my eyes, I said goodbye to my mom, my dad, and my baby sister. What I didn’t realize at this point was that those seven weeks would change my life and my character forever.

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