ACA, St. Louis Spring Gathering Program Highlights

Keynote - Successful Camp Experiences for All

Emily Golinsky
Today, as youth and young adults feel increasingly marginalized and “othered,” success at camp is essential to their wellbeing. And yet, can we truly expect every camp to serve every individual? Or does that potentially put up unintentional barriers that take us further from our goal of successfully “serving all?” Inclusion is often a buzzword with no clear plan for successful implementation – so how do we determine and appropriately communicate our vision of a welcoming camp community that actually delivers on its promise? Join Emily for an engaging, thought-provoking, and solution-focused talk that will leave you energized at the idea of thinking through how we as an industry ensure Successful Camp Experiences for All.  


Breakouts Include:

Let's Talk About Staff: Training, Difficult Conversations, and Scenarios
Emily Golinsky

Staff are hired - but the work in having them as part of your team has only just begun! How you set up and deliver your training, to how you manage difficult supervisory conversations - it all counts towards creating successful, happy staff. We'll share our staff training tips, then discuss tips and practice difficult conversations. Finally, we'll get active going through some scenarios and thinking through "how would I handle this?"


Weddings at Camp
Jason Rose, Wyman Center

Wyman has been hosting an increasing number of weddings every year and the demand has been continuing to grow. We have developed a variety of method for working with couples planning weddings that helps to minimize mistakes and maximizes revenue potential. We will discuss the planning process while working through the details of an actual wedding from the previous year. There will be examples of wedding décor, signage and other specialty item on display for discussion.


Beyond Self-Care Strategies: Self-Awareness for Stressed-Out Staff
Emily Golinsky

Did you know that only 67% of leaders think the level of stress they experience at work is manageable? (Presumably, the other 33% were too stressed out to answer the survey.) Sure, stress is a reality of the camp world. You carry a lot of responsibility that can't simply be delegated or deep-breathed away. But there's a fine line between "needing a break" and simply "breaking." This session won't teach you mindfulness techniques or meditation, but it will help you understand how stress both helps and hurts us in our quest to be amazing camp staff. And, it will help you to formulate a plan for when the stress-monster rears its ugly head.


Wild Edibles
Catrina Adams, Botanical Society of America,

Learn to identify some of the common seasonal wild edibles found in Missouri. This class includes safety tips for foraging plants, some tips for plant identification, a survey of some common edible plants, and a short walk to identify some of these common plants in their environment. We’ll finish the class with a chance to sample a few prepared wild edibles. This class will open your eyes to some useful (though sometimes weedy) plants you see every day. Come prepared for a short walk. 


Camp Communications 101- Social Media on a Shoestring
Tony Vrooman, Camp Ondessonk

Maximize Mission and Brand Awareness Online with Tony Vrooman, Sr. Director of Communications at Camp Ondessonk.   Learn how to maximize digital marketing:  likes, shares, how to schedule posts, and how to combine online resources while raising awareness of your mission on the web.


Use Meetings to Change the Culture
Henry DeHart, American Camp Association

We often underestimate the impact our meetings have on our culture. We view meetings as a necessary evil required to move work forward, but we are missing the opportunity to use a powerful platform to shape our organizational culture. Because meetings are a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, they present a significant opportunity to set the tone and pace of our work. In this session, we will explore some simple but powerful practices for when and how to conduct efficient and effective meetings that can have a dramatic impact on your culture.