Resource Library

End-of-Summer Check-Up
Published Date: 2016-06-30

Just as one has an annual check-up with a personal physician, so too would our camps benefit from an end-of-summer review of their health status. Granted, the last two or three weeks of a summer season can be busy, but that busyness is less frantic when one can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In anticipation of summer’s end, we start enjoying the laid-back moments tucked into those final weeks.

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The Invisible Link
Published Date:

Summer camp was initially established as a “back to nature” retreat for the children of wealthy New Englanders. It was a respite from the degradation of urban life. Over the years, with the help of myriad religious, educational, and social professionals, summer camps evolved into the blueprint for modern childhood. It became an evolving articulation of what our society deemed most beneficial for the growth and well-being of our children; a place where the values of self-reliance, respect, personal responsibility, fun, and camaraderie are instilled.

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Following the lead of educators in school communities, recreation professionals across the United States are opening their doors to increasingly diverse participants. There has been a particular focus on the inclusion of participants with disabilities to provide opportunities for these children and youth to attend day and resident camp programs alongside their peers without disabilities (Jaha-Echols, 2017).

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Creating Community through Nature
Published Date: 2011-09-01

From a young age, author Joseph Cornell felt the awe and wonder of nature. For nearly forty years, Cornell has shared his passion for nature with the world, notably in the widely read and translated Sharing Nature with Children. His book inspired two more volumes of Sharing Nature activities: Sharing Nature with Children, Volume II and Listening to Nature, Volume III, and was recently updated for its twentieth anniversary.

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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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We can't really define it, but we know it when we see it. We lament the loss of it to our friends and neighbors as we continually look for new ways to build it. What is IT? It is a sense of community! Within organized camps, professionals have long advocated the link between sending a kid to camp and learning the skills necessary to be a part of, as well as give back to, a community.

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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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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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Few children's issues have drawn more attention, or been more controversial, than those involving their mental health. For example, in the past twenty years, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become a household term; depression has attained the status of a "real" illness; and the use of medications to treat children with emotional problems has become commonplace. As these issues permeate the public domain, intense debate has followed regarding the assumed dangers of assigning diagnostic labels to children, as well as giving them powerful drugs for treatment.

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This feature article is the first of an ongoing series of articles in Camping Magazine that will focus on inclusion, diversity, and cross-cultural agility to share in our individual communities and out in the world.

This past February, many of us were able to participate in a new educational track at our ACA National Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico — Camp Includes Me. It was a phenomenal and timely experience as camp professionals from across the country, and the world, came together to focus on diversity, inclusion, and cross-cultural agility.

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