Resource Library

For almost 150 years the camp community has had a secret. Not a well-kept secret, mind you, because you can see it in your neighborhoods, in your office buildings, on your favorite TV shows — you can see it at sporting events and hear it on your radios. But just in case it's still a secret to you, it's time for the camp community to shout it from the rooftops. When your kids come home energized from their summer camp experiences with that confident, exuberant, knowing smile you've never quite seen before broad across their faces, it's because camp has given them more than happy memories.

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As wonderful as the cherished traditions and programmatic aspects of a camp may be, what we teach campers may not be the most important part of their summer experience. The most crucial and unexpected moments of a summer may be when children are left alone to engage in free, undirected play. For many campers, the experience of playing outside “alone” or with a group of friends may be a truly new and joyful one. The loss of time for free, undirected play in everyday life is one of the saddest facts of modern childhood.
 

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A Field Guide to Preserving Childhood
Published Date: 2009-03-01

It is commonly said that it takes an entire village to raise strong, healthy children. Yes, it takes a village of people to raise a child, but it also takes the village itself.

A hundred years ago, homes were in villages or cabins in the woods. People were surrounded by wide-open spaces with green as far as the eye could see. That is not the case now, the "village" has changed.

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All parents have hopes and desires for their children. I'll bet high on your list of wishes is that your children grow up to be well-adjusted adults who have healthy, nurturing relationships of their own. The example you set for them at home is vital, but so is the experience and advice they can get from other caring adults.

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When They Come Home
Published Date: 2008-05-01

It is probably difficult to imagine, as you scan the "packing list," count socks, get the trunk out, and make sure your child's name is on everything they are taking, what your son or daughter might be like when they come home from the summer adventure at camp—the adventure for which you are working so hard to get them ready.  Indeed, for many parents the send off requires enough emotional and logistical effort that there is no time to think about where all this work might lead.

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The Power of Play
Published Date: 2015-10-20

Dr. David Elkind Urges Parents to Add More Play to their Children's Lives

"The traditional summer camp recognizes that play is a powerful form of learning that contributes mightily to the child's healthy physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development."

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Maybe it starts with Thanksgiving — the turkey, the stuffing, mashed potatoes swimming in gravy, Aunt Gertie's Jell-O® Surprise, and pumpkin pie buried in whipped cream. Then the holiday steam train is rolling, and every time you turn around there are get-togethers complete with a smorgasbord of calorie-laden, but oh-so-tasty, treats. And if it ended with ringing in the New Year, and everyone actually stuck to their resolutions to drop a few pounds and get some exercise on a regular basis, everything would be fine.

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If you went to camp, you probably didn't serve yourself lunch from a salad bar. Times have changed! Now the majority of camps offer salad bars—just one sign that camps' menus are reflecting all our families' changing tastes. This is one of many updated ways camps are encouraging the longstanding tradition of healthy behavior—in the dining hall as well as on the playing field or at the swimming pool.

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So-called "helicopter parents" have been recently criticized in the popular press for hovering over their adolescent children, hyper-involving themselves in young lives more in need of independence than nurturing. Such recriminations follow on the heels of studies suggesting that parents are not paying enough attention to teens, thus spawning an epidemic of destructive behavior.

So, who's a parent to believe?

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High school seniors everywhere will soon embrace a graduation season marked by pomp and circumstance, risk and reward.  Staying safe means balancing freedom with responsibility and communicating honestly with parents.  For many teens, those aren't easy assignments.

Young people venturing closer to true independence yearn for the freedom that parents extend based on assurances that nurture trust.  But, something funny often happens on the way to commencement. 

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E.g., 2019-09-20