Resource Library

Staff training? Check. Nametags ready? Check. Ready to do a great job? Check. Campers are here? Check. It is my first day of camp and I am ready to put everything they taught us into action. I will be the hero and the campers will love me. I am their role model, right? I am older. I know more. I am mature, and I am ready!

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A camp director is stumped by negative changes observed in a veteran camper. Juan first came to camp as an energetic and enthusiastic eight-year-old. This year, at age fifteen, he walks away from opening campfire, telling his counselors that his mother made him come to camp. He would have preferred hanging out with his friends and wants to go home. Juan is furious when his cell phone is taken away from him according to camp policy. For the next few days he mopes around camp, disengaged and unenthusiastic.

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Having spent the better part of the last thirteen years in summer camps and school classrooms, I have observed the benefits of year-round learning, although not necessarily in the form of year-round school. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan put school vacations on notice with talk about "fighting the status quo," and calling summer "an inexplicable, counterproductive anachronism that takes youths out of an educational setting for two to three months every year" (Duncan 3/5/2009).

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A look in any rearview mirror will tell you a lot about where you have been, but little about where you are going. Unless, that is, you are driving at summer camp — where a quick look back can be an important, even lifesaving, reminder of the responsibilities that come with driving kids, counselors, or oneself.

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In the first article in the Historical Series that appeared in the January/February 2010 issue of Camping Magazine, we traced some of the key individuals who have shaped the 100-year history of the American Camp Association® (ACA). Here, we will probe more deeply into one of those actors and her role in a key event that has had a lasting impact on the professional development of the camp movement in the United States.

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In today's tough, competitive environment, it seems the only thing a camp director can be certain of is uncertainty. Everywhere around us, change is occurring — changes that have forced many camp professionals to rethink the way we look at our business in an effort to ensure our own camps remain a viable and relevant experience for children in the year 2020 and beyond.

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Since the outbreak of H1N1 during the summer of 2009, camps have been diligently updating their health and safety protocols and practices for the management of communicable diseases. By accessing and integrating information from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Camp Association® (ACA), the Association of Camp Nurses, and other related resources, camps are improving their health practices by incorporating new knowledge into their day-to-day health center operations.

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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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Sam gushed about the fun he had at camp, but his mother (Mrs. Jones) was distressed about his chapped lips. In fact, it upset her so much that she marked "needs improvement" on the "Health & Hygiene" section of her parent evaluation and included the comment listed above. What kind of follow-up would most camp directors do with Mrs. Jones? For many camp directors, the answer is none. We read her parent evaluation, and dismiss her negative comments as a minor complaint.

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In the 2009 November/December issue of Camping Magazine, we discussed sales and marketing tips to help run a better camp business. But, like any well-run business, camps need to be concerned about more than just sales and marketing. Serious consideration should also be given to the following tips on operations, maintenance, capital expenditures, purchasing, and leadership. Not all tips apply to every camp; however, the principles behind them are helpful and worth considering.

Operations

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E.g., 2018-06-22