Resource Library

The Cool Counselor: For the Right Reasons
Published Date: 2013-05-01

When I first began teaching and working with kids, I began by thinking, “We are all going to get along. I am going to be the best teacher these kids have ever had, and we are going to be friends.” I actually thought so highly of this “we’re all in this together; we’re going to be friends” mentality that I put my teaching desk directly in the center of my classroom. I was surrounded by my twenty-five seventh-grade students, whose desks were all facing me in a giant circle. “We were one” . . . or so I thought.

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Sex is a topic that elicits such strong emotions in people that it often becomes difficult to have a clear, calm, rational conversation about it. When that conversation concerns the sexual behavior of children and teens, things get even more emotional. Lynn Ponton, a well-known adolescent psychiatrist in San Francisco who wrote the popular book The Romance of Risk (Basic Books, 1997) on adolescent risk-taking behavior, once told me how she unwittingly stepped into a maelstrom of controversy and criticism when she followed her best seller with another book titled The Sex Lives of Teenagers.

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This article is part of Camping Magazine’s series on inclusion, identifying and exploring both big picture and on-the-ground actionable pathways for application through participant reflection, discussion, and active engagement. Contact Niambi Jaha-Echols (njechols@gmail.com) if you would like to participate or contribute to this series.

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When it comes to providing safe experiences for children, knowledge is often the most powerful tool an organization possesses. Knowledge about safe conditions and practices and the ability to identify areas for improvement are keys to ensuring the health and safety of program participants and staff and decreasing the likelihood of adverse health events. An important key to developing a sound knowledge base about health and safety conditions is careful monitoring of the factors that cause significant injury and illness events in camps.

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Almost everyone who has ever been to camp can quickly tell a story about something they did, learned, or observed that had a profound impact on their life. How do these experiences happen? Who creates them? Sometimes, through the magic of the camp, situations that create a lasting memory just happen. Occasionally a series of events build to a dramatic conclusion, which can lead to a truly life-changing experience. So how can you be more intentional in creating inspirational memories?

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Patience
Published Date:

When I sat down to write this article, I could still hear Axl Rose (lead singer of the ’80s rock band Guns N’ Roses) whistling the opening of the group’s hit song “Patience” like it was yesterday. The chorus of the song went like this: “I need a little patience, yeeaaahhhh . . . Come on patience, yeeaahhhh.” As I processed that song and focused more intently on the word “patience,” I realized it is one of the most important words you will hear, learn, and, hopefully, put into practice this summer.

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What happened throughout one’s generational history influences current views and perspectives, and camp directors carry those perceptions with them in their thoughts and actions — including those that affect their expectations about the recruitment of staff. Thus, it can be helpful to understand where we’ve been and what today looks like to better understand the future needs of staff recruitment.

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Camp administration can influence the behavior of its staff, but it cannot control it. One of the most problematic emotions to occur in the camp setting is anger — an emotion that affects people in a multitude of ways. An impulsive action by a staff member can result in an injury to another person and even possibly damage the reputation of your camp.

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In 2015, ACA, with the help of the Committee for the Advancement of Research and Evaluation (CARE), created the Eleanor P. Eells Award for Excellence in Research in Practice. This award is designed to honor camp programs that:

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I spent a few months earlier this year visiting camps throughout New England. One of my stops was Camp Watitoh, a sleepaway camp in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, where a college classmate and friend of mine is now a co-director. While Camp Watitoh is coed, it has separate campus areas for boys and girls. I arrived a bit worn out from a red-eye flight and the subsequent drive, but became immediately energized by lush green playing fields filled with enthusiastic campers.

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