Resource Library

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.

Read More
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.

Read More

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."

Read More

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.

Read More
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.

Read More

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.

Read More
Foundations for Brighter Tomorrows
Published Date: 2015-07-01

Each year, ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that embody the award’s namesake by creating exceptional programming and developing effective, creative responses to the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We celebrate the 2014 winners, as well as the first Eleanor Eells Award-winner for Excellence in Research in Practice.

Read More
"Smile"
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Dear Bob:

I am a camp director at a sleepaway camp in the Midwest. We have multiple sessions of two weeks each throughout the summer. At the start of each session I notice that our staff almost seem like the proverbial deer in the headlights when the new campers arrive. After all we cover during staff training they almost don’t know how to connect comfortably with their new crop of campers. Do you have any ideas that might help?

Muddled in Michigan

Dear Muddled,

Read More

In the November/December 2015 issue of Camping Magazine, I wrote about a phenomenon I called Noticing Deficit Disorder (NDD), a culturally induced form of vision loss and nature blindness, which I believe camp can help cure. Those with NDD will frequently walk down a street and completely fail to notice, much less appreciate, the beauty of the natural world around them. Invariably, they are too distracted by their hand-held digital devices.

Read More

As a camp professional, I, like you, have literally thousands of affirming anecdotal stories — the camp experience is not discretionary. And, if anyone needs more evidence, ACA's outcomes research confirms what each of us already knows. Our CEO, Peg Smith*, has been telling the world that opportunities for growth and development exist in natural settings that promote experiential learning, improve social skills and physical fitness, teach children to take calculated risks in a safe environment, and expand the creative mind.

Read More

Pages

E.g., 2019-03-23
E.g., 2019-03-23