Resource Library

Dear Bob,
I had a run in with a camper parent last summer that made me very uncomfortable. We have a visiting day for parents once each session, which, as you might imagine, is a stressful day for campers, parents, and staff all around. During the early afternoon, I was accosted by a parent who was demanding to know why her fifteen-year-old son wanted to go home. I tried to reason with her, but she caught me off guard, and I felt awkward discussing this in the open with other parents and campers around.

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Hero's Journey is a free-of-charge, wilderness-based summer camp program for youth living with serious illness. As a developmentally appropriate and challenging extension of the traditional camp program at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (Ashford, Connecticut), in 2013, Hero's Journey served sixty-seven adolescents ages sixteen through eighteen in groups of eleven to seventeen over five sessions of seven days each, including one sibling session. One nurse, five counselors, two program administrators, and two or three volunteers supervised each session of Hero's Journey.

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The Challenges of Chinese Camp Education
Published Date: 2016-07-01

In the summer of 2015, we partnered with a talented group of Chinese educators called Initiate Development for Education and Service (IDEAS) to operate a resident camp and a day camp in China. The resident camp had been operating for several years while the day camp would be the first of its kind in Beijing. The IDEAS team wanted to bring some expertise and personnel from the U.S. to help improve the training, programming, and developmental outcomes of their camps.

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What Were You Thinking?

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We live in an era of experiences and community. What does that mean? Camp directors and staff just spent the past months creating memorable experiences for their campers, ensuring that every child felt welcome, engaged, safe, and inspired at camp. Parents were reassured that their children were having fun and were well cared for — and they were entertained during visiting days. Relationships were forged, and memories were made.

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The Art of Noticing
Published Date: 2019-03-01

A strong focus on mental, emotional, social health (MESH) elements within the camp community has triggered both strategies to cope with MESH concerns and an emphasis on making camp a more MESH-resilient experience for campers and staff. In support of this, the following information is provided by Cori Miller of URJ Camp Harlam in Pennsylvania. A social worker by profession, Miller works full-time for her camp and focuses on MESH concerns.

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Author's note: The names and certain identifying characteristics of the campers on which this article is based have been changed to protect their privacy. The resulting thoughts, conclusions, and practical suggestions are just the beginning of finding a deeper and more effective understanding of the problem of girls hurting other girls.

July 2009

"The counselors don't really know what's going on," Lori said in all seriousness. "I mean, they're nice and they want to help us, but they don't really know how."

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When I first met Ed, I did not notice that he had no legs.

He sat straight up in a wheelchair with long pants that hung down over the edge. I did not, at the time, find the absence of shoes or feet at the ends of his trousers, remarkable. I did, however, stare, somewhat self-consciously, at the stumps that protruded from the short sleeves of his fire engine red shirt. They were the size of a child's football and had no digits. He used them to propel his wheelchair by leaning forward and pushing on the rubber tires of the big wheels that rose above his seat.

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Essential Staff Training Activities
Published Date: 2009-03-01

You expect your staff to think on their feet — so why not train them on their feet?

For more than three decades, I've been assisting camps, outdoor education centers, youth development agencies, and park and recreation organizations with their summer camp staff trainings. Over the years, I've created, collected, and shared hundreds of activities that I think make a significant difference in the unity, community, connection, and culture of a camp.

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The Boston Nature Center (BNC), an urban Mass Audubon sanctuary, offers public programs year-round. Located in the Boston neighborhood of Mattapan, two miles of trails and boardwalks traverse meadows and wetlands where wildlife abounds, including coyotes and many species of migratory birds. The sanctuary’s George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center is one of the “greenest” buildings in Boston, teaching environmentally sustainable design by example.

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