If at First You Don’t Succeed . . .

When I was six or seven, my parents decided I needed to do something structured a couple days a week during the day in the summertime. They ended up sending me to a gym camp, a local day camp that focused on outdoor physical activity — archery, horseback riding, swimming, etc. — something they thought would wear me out a little and make me less of a handful at home.

Programs Designed to Let Campers Shine — 2016 Eleanor Eells Award Winners

Each year, ACA's Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that epitomize the award's namesake by developing exemplary programming that effectively and creatively responds to the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We celebrate the 2016 winners. They are all powerful examples of programs actively seeking to unlock the potential of the campers they serve by building the self-esteem, belief in themselves, and skills needed to let their inner lights shine.

Because of Camp. . .The possibilities are endless

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.

The Role of Nonprofit Organizations in the History of Camp

Decade after decade since the mid-1800s, summer residential and day camps have been a barometer for social change, often acting as catalysts for change themselves. What started out as a retreat from city life for white, urban children would become an experiential learning opportunity for “boys and girls, recent immigrants and the native-born; the children of union activists, socialists, and progressive educators; Protestants, Jews, and Catholics; and children of all races and classes,” wrote Leslie Paris in her book Children’s Nature — The Rise of the American Summer Camp (2008, p. 7).