Want to Improve Your Response to Mental Health Challenges?

Camp professionals often ask what they might do to more effectively respond to staff and camper mental, emotional and social health (MESH) needs. This often arises from a desire to be as inclusive as possible while also recognizing that most camps are not therapeutic settings. The Healthy Camps III committee, a group of ACA and ACN professionals working to address that concern, offer the following ideas:

Moderating Childhood Stress Through Camp

Exposure to adverse childhood events (ACE) can lead children to drinking alcohol, smoking, illicit drug use, overeating, and other maladaptive behaviors (Stevens, 2015). These children can experience depression, anxiety, and a variety of other psychological problems. In 2013, the Center for Disease Control reported 17% of students considered attempting suicide and 113 actual suicides occurred each day (one every thirteen minutes).

MESH Health Fair Series

Mental Health! A State of Well-Being

Mental health is not a "dirty phrase" and creating positive conversations will ensure its acceptance as a measure of one’s health. Learn more by watching one or more of the presentations in our MESH Series

With that In Mind, Part II: What Staff Need to Know about Their Own Mental Health

Think, for a minute, about the adults to whom you were most strongly attached as a child. Can you see their faces and remember how they treated you? Perhaps you see parents, teachers, coaches, clergy, or youth leaders, such as camp staff members. Resilient adults can all think of at least one warm, reliable person who served as a defining caregiver and mentor. Their warmth and reliability are what created that resilience, that ability to bounce back from adversity. They brought us joy and boosted our confidence.

With That In Mind, Part 1: What Directors Need to Know About Staff Mental Health

Hiring young adults to care for other people’s children seems like folly, from a neurodevelopmental perspective. Nobody’s brain is fully developed, many activities are dangerous, the weather can be violent, kids’ behavior is unpredictable, and all staff could use more training than directors have time to give. Pepper that risk and lack of preparation with a few mental health problems, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, the right prevention, training, and support can help you thwart catastrophe and create a formative experience for your young participants.

Mental Wellness for Campers and Staff: Tips for the Camp Professional

While many of us have an image of childhood as carefree, many children and youth experience adversity that puts them at increased risk for physical and mental health problems.  However, developing caring relationships and healthy habits early in life can help to reduce the impact of negative experiences.  Camps provide a unique experience for young people to develop relationships with peers and caring adults and to acquire skills that will set them on a path to leading a healthy and productive life.  In this webinar, participants will learn more about how adversity affects youth and will id

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