Resource Library

Preparing for Happiness in Career and Life
Published Date: 2018-09-01

Some of the best times of my life have been my carefree summers swimming, exploring, sharing, and making friends as a child at camp. But many of my life’s greatest lessons were learned over six summers working on camp staff. As a newly minted staff member recently graduated from high school, I strived to become part of the model community I found in our camp’s staff culture. Selflessness, servant leadership, and teamwork were encouraged and celebrated. I learned the more you gave of yourself to camp, the more you received in return.

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Moving about confidently, two cooks snatched the garlic bread from the oven, prepped the salad bar, whipped up chocolate pudding, and a meal was complete. As the new food service director at Camp Gilmont, I marveled at the vigorous activity around me in the camp kitchen. From the outside looking in, it appeared as if an intentional routine had been established, as if the employees’ activity was magically orchestrated. However, as I scrutinized the routine over the next few days, I realized that serious change needed to happen in this kitchen.

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A return to camp reminds our writer how it feels to be home.

A school teacher in Pinckney, Michigan, Jeff Miner had been a camp counselor or program director for just about every summer for the past fourteen years. But this summer was his last. He had plans on actually taking summers off, playing golf, and eating steak on his back patio. He was going into summer camp retirement.

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A Family Conference
Published Date: 2017-01-01

To be able to go to ACA's National Conference and feel so many people focused on the same goals that drive you, a group of people working toward a mission — it encourages so much growth. To be around so many driven people who say, "Yes, I care about education and our youth, and it starts with us," and to identify with this entire industry that is, simply put, a big family, is so rich and important. It is something not a lot of people my age, all of 22, have an opportunity to be a part of and feel. It is something I have trouble explaining, so bear with me.

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Recent events like Hurricane Sandy and the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary hit us hard. Across the country, we became consumed by news reports of these events and wondered how the lives of those affected would ever go on. The good news, if we can find any from these tragedies, is that people do fi nd a way to move on. However, life is more than dealing with tragedy — it is about facing challenges of all types, and learning how to deal with them builds resilience. Facing challenges successfully paves the way in our brain for new pathways as we face new challenges.

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Can you relate to this situation?

Something happens that is upsetting, difficult, and/or problematic. You talk to a friend or your parents about it, and they offer rational, useful advice. Even though what they are offering is useful, you almost automatically come up with all sorts of reasons why it won’t work. You are not even open to the possibility that the advice being offered to you might resolve your problem.

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Joe EhrmannJoe Ehrmann is an accomplished man, but not just because he was an All-American football player at Syracuse University and the tenth overall draft pick in the 1973 NFL Draft — or because of his impressive professional football career. Ehrmann has committed his life to building an extraordinary resume in the areas of youth and human development and community service.

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The age-old question of “What do you do the rest of the year?” is inevitable. Every camp director we know has heard it, often many times. Summer is an intense and busy time, and we have worked hard to make sure that we, and our campers, have the appropriate support. When August comes around, all that hands-on energy and youthful compassion go back to school. Camp directors are left to fill in on the front line for our programs that continue deep into the fall and resume soon after the New Year.

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Sunday afternoon. The weekend groups have gone home; the kitchen is clean; the heat turned down. For the moment, camp is quiet. The question for you, and many other camp leaders, is whether the camp will remain quiet all week until the next weekend group arrives or whether when Monday morning comes the camp will be busy and filled with weekday users.

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You’re the head of baseball and softball at a prestigious summer camp in New England. It’s week four of the seven-week session and one of your counselors, Jason, is still struggling to connect with the campers. That’s not to say he’s not a great employee: He’s your first staff member to show up at the baseball fields every day, he doesn’t complain about the heat, and as far as you know he has been in bed well before curfew almost every night. He even plays baseball for a Division II school, so you know his technical baseball knowledge is second to none at camp.

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