Resource Library

As the face of America continues to evolve with greater diversity, many camp directors search for ways to reach communities that might not yet be familiar with the camp experience. While every child stands to benefit from a quality camp experience, the best recruitment approach might vary from community to community and family to family. ACA recently spoke with Lorena Garza Gonzalez, PhD, to get a better understanding of how to develop messaging for the ever-growing Latino community.

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Specialty camps serve a specific population exclusively. That service can be with regard to need or desire. And while the educational camp programs at the US Space & Rocket Center — Space Camp and Aviation Challenge — are not classic examples of specialty camps, they do provide an educational experience that is deliberately designed to cater to the desires of a most unique population. Despite the fact that more than 500,000 trainees (campers) have graduated our programs, we are a niche camp.

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Did You Know? Update Your Knowledge
Published Date: 2018-11-01

Staying abreast of health-related updates that impact camp practices is challenging but worth the effort, especially for readers who supervise staff providing care to campers and/or other staff. Here are some of those updates.

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Being in that very first supervisory role is hard for everyone — regardless of age. For younger supervisors there are added challenges in building credibility and gaining the respect of others — it’s only natural to be nervous. Those promoted “from within” to a supervisory position after working at camp for multiple seasons must also be prepared to face possible challenges with the change in roles.

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Josh can't keep his hands to himself when waiting in line. Seth seems to act irresponsibly. Megan never completes an arts and crafts project. These campers' behaviors may have a common link - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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Summer camp, unlike any other space or community, is a place where we can actively and comprehensively create culture. Think about some of the traditions at your camp. Simple things like the songs and cheers at a meal or some of the rituals around traditional programs. These are examples of how your camp community intentionally (or sometimes unintentionally) creates a specific culture that you, your campers, and the next generation of both staff and campers will maintain. The same thing happens in our wider society; it is just harder to predict, change, or understand.

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Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an orphan, left to the tender mercies of churchwardens and overseers, perhaps he would have cried the louder.
— from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Big Questions

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The title of this article, “Counselor Judgment — Campers’ Lives Depend on It!” is not in any way written to be frightening to a new counselor, but quite honestly, it is very much written to make the reader anxious. Why? Because parents and guardians of children want them back at the end of each day or the end of the season, alive, well, and in the same physical and emotional condition (if not better) than they sent them to YOU.

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Huck Finn enjoyed a rare opportunity to attend his funeral and hear what folks had to say about him after he faked his death to escape the confines imposed by the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson — not to mention his abusive father, Pap. A recent near-death experience afforded me a similar chance to hear some feedback about my work with youth and families. Especially since it happened smack dab in the middle of the camp season.
 
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In the early ’80s, I graduated from high school and made a simple but life-changing decision. It was May and I hadn’t yet made plans for the summer. My mom encouraged me to call my former camp directors, Herman and Rodger, and inquire about a summer working at camp. I so enjoyed camp as a kid but had missed out on being a counselor-trainee because of other commitments. A summer working outside with kids as a junior counselor sounded great.

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