Resource Library

Introduction

We've all looked into a group of students' eyes, as we share the intricacies of the food chain or the magnificence of the carbon cycle, and asked ourselves, "Are they getting this?" But have you ever looked beyond their eyes and into their hearts as you led them on a nature walk or uncovered critters in a tide pool and wondered how they are connecting with nature?

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Amber, the food service manager, watched anxiously as the small summer campers tried desperately to carry large trays containing plates of food and silverware from serving line to table during lunch at Camp Marcos. Plates full of food slid from side to side, and then, BOOM! Contents crashed to the cafeteria floor — four times during one meal. As kitchen staff rushed from one cleaned-up catastrophe to clean another, Amber had had enough. She marched over to Evan, a college student who was this year’s summer camp director, and reiterated, “This is not working!”

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Embracing the Larger Culture
Published Date: 2009-03-01

At all levels of camp, people of color are dramatically underrepresented: in ownership, directorship, staffing, and as campers. This circumstance is unacceptable, especially because, within a generation, the majority of the U.S. population will be of color. According to U.S. Census projections, "minorities," now roughly one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become the majority in 2042, with the nation projected to be 54 percent "minority" in 2050. By 2023, minorities will comprise more than half of all children.

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Brain Development and Teens
Published Date: 2015-09-01

School had never been a successful place for 13-year-old Manuel. He never felt smart enough or capable enough or emotionally safe enough to do well in school. For one thing, the "neck up" learning style of public school never fit his naturally active, learn-by-doing approach to life. Things got worse after his father was arrested for a minor drug charge that carried a mandatory one-year jail sentence. As a result, his father lost his job and his family became homeless.

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Lessons from Summer 2016
Published Date: 2016-11-01

Camp professionals pride themselves on the social and emotional learning that a quality camp experience can help children master. From my travels to camps this summer in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, and New York, I have selected a few topics that may be useful to directors across the country.

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Leadership Transition: Managing Change
Published Date: 2014-09-01

In the summer of 2013, we faced an exciting and critical challenge at our camp — a major leadership transition. We had the chance to replace our boys' camp director, who had been with us for seven years, with a man named Erec Hillis. Of course, seven years is not a lot compared to the twenty-one my wife Susie and I have been executive directors or the forty-eight years the camp has existed. But seven years is longer than all but a small handful of campers or counselors had even been with us, so the outgoing director was the only one who most of our camp families had ever known.

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Current Challenges in Camp Food Service
Published Date: 2012-09-01

Hesitation gave way to excitement as I unexpectedly grabbed the reigns of food service management, in the dripping, humid heat of a Texas summer camp season. Nine years had passed since I last served in this capacity at camp, but everything was coming back to me — the roar of kids laughing in the dining hall, the buzz of activity as cooks whirled by with fresh-baked yeast rolls, and the mouthwatering scent of fresh-baked chocolate chunk cookies! “Ahhhh,” I thought to myself, “the camp kitchen . . . this will be a breeze. I’ve GOT this!”

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In an increasingly connected world, today’s children experience an ever-decreasing connection to the natural world. As a result of hours of screen time, lengthening school days, and increasing participation in organized out-of-school activities, children are spending less time outside than ever before. Because of this lack of outdoor time, their connection to and understanding of their natural surroundings is startlingly absent.

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From Peg - September 2010
Published Date:

Every day I feel I am reading another article that pontificates about the importance of education and how we need to create year-round education. Don't misunderstand, education throughout the year is imperative; however, I am not sure I always agree with proposals on how we "get there." And, when we talk about summer learning loss, what have we lost and what have we gained? Or, what did we have an opportunity to gain if we just had the chance to have the experience?

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#CAMPCULTURALEXCHANGE
Published Date: 2017-11-01

It's ironic that I've spent this fall encouraging Americans to advocate for the White House not to drastically reduce or eliminate J-1 visas for camp cultural exchange programs while also keynoting at the 3rd China Camp Education Conference (CCEC) and representing ACA at the 11th International Camping Congress (ICC). Camp cultural exchange has been a key component of American diplomacy and deeply enriching summer camp experiences for decades. The J-1 exchange visitor program was introduced under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961).

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