Texoma Winter Conference Program Highlights

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Conference Schedule


Opening Keynote--"A Meeting of the Minds: Camp Directors, Higher Ed, and College Students"

Kim Aycock Camp 2 Campus Learning Solutions
Camps need staff to run their programs, colleges/universities have various requirements for students, and students are usually pulled between what they WANT to do and what they HAVE to do for school and parent demands.  How can we create a win-win situation for all involved?   Learn initial findings from ACA's Project Real Job Task Force where the three groups came together in a meeting of the minds to voice aspirations, make requirements known and offer ways to collaborate.  Take away ideas for getting the word out and building rapport with students, partnering with colleges and rethinking internships, and positioning camp as the best offer in a world where numerous opportunities are competing for the staff we desperately need.  

Closing Keynote

Tom Rosenberg, ACA President/CEO

Breakout Sessions Including:

Tips and Tricks for Managing User Groups
Jessica Holloway and Sarah Wallace, Camp For All
Managing and exceeding group expectations while staying true to your camp’s values can be tricky water to navigate. Trust us, we get it. With over 4,000 hours of user group management, we have seen it all, so let us be your compass. Join us on a journey through the user group experience to collect the tools necessary to succeed.
Got 10 minutes?: Valuable Leadership Nuggets in Under 1/4 hour
Kim Aycock, Camp 2 Campus Learning Solutions
Ten minutes never seems like enough time to actually get something meaningful done. While every day has the same number of hours, we have to make time vs find time in order to use each minute productively. Ten minutes is the perfect amount to incorporate micro-learning and give your leadership team a valuable mini-lesson on mindfulness, team building, or much needed ongoing training.  See how bite-sized nuggets add up over the summer to help your admin team feel less stressed, more cohesive and better prepared for each day!
50 Shades of Green: Creating an environmentally friendly camp culture
Amy Massingill, YMCA-Collin County Adventure Camp
Today’s on-the- go, convenience driven, disposable society is creating a huge footprint on our world. As camps, we have not only a responsibility but a perfect platform to bring about change through educating our campers and setting an example. Join me in a conversation about how we can make simple changes to our camps that can have a global impact.
Understanding a Culture of Safety from the Inside Out
Dorcas Tomasek, Camp Consultant
A safe organization doesn’t just mean excellent policies and procedures, a solid safety plan, great supervision, transferring risk or eliminating activities, it begins with how strong a culture is created, believed, felt and lived. Every year, camps have the opportunity to intentionally define and redefine their culture. Understanding where participants, staff, and an organization’s mission and values meet is at the heart of every camp’s culture of safety.
Finding the Wow Factor of Summer Camp Programming
Peanut Henderson, Camp Heatwave
Tired of the same old program stuff? Need new ideas for the Summer? Come learn some of the best programming that happened this summer and be ready to share some of your best programing and walk away with resources to help you plan for summer 2019.
Using non-camp resources to make yourself a better Camp Director
Lindsey Sigler, Camp Soliloquy
This session will help camp professional utilize multiple facets of the theatre world to broaden their abilities and resources in various areas of the camp setting. Covering areas such as creativity, public speaking, and making yourself replaceable, camp professionals will learn to expand their programs by utilizing skills obtained through stage management, improvisation, and play direction.
Challenge your Challenge Course: When is the last time you facilitated some new activities, games, or initiatives?
David Griffin, Camp Capers
Do you fall back to facilitating the same ten or so activities, games, or initiaitves? Looking for fun and energetic, and new activities to add to your backpack? Want to WOW your staff with some new games that build community in fun, exciting, and engaging ways? Looking to add some different activities or warm-ups to a board meeting or another upcoming event? Just breaking into the outdoor industry and want some tips on facilitation? Please join us for an active and informative session on bringing in some new or different aspects to your participants and staffs challenge course/cooperation course experience. Let’s practice what we preach…keep challenging yourself and grow this part of your programs!
Ticks and Lyme Disease in Texas: What Camps Need to Know
Dr. Sarah Maxwell and Claire Maxwell, Global Lyme Alliance & the University of Texas at Dallas
Claire Maxwell developed Lyme Disease and numerous co-infections from a tick bite that was mis-diagnosed. She and her mother, a professor and assistant provost at the University of Texas at Dallas launched the Texans & Ticks grant-funded Facebook page to inform Texans about Lyme disease. As a result of that education campaign, numerous parents called with very ill children, who had attended camp and were bitten by a tick during camp. This presentation will cover everything a camp counselor, director, or nurse needs to know about ticks and Lyme in Texas. We are willing to share many materials from the Global Lyme Alliance to guide you as you train new counselors and communicate with families.
Crafting with a Purpose
Mary Jo Boney, Collin County Adventure Camp
I am often asked how I have been able to accumulate as many skills as I have (seamstress, plumber, painter, etc.) and the answer is in part due to crafting. I want to share this perspective and experience to help others better equip campers. I will choose a small craft that will help emphasize these points.
Using Technology in Camp for Facilities Control, to Reduce Costs, and to Improve the Guest Experience
Bill McKelvie, Camp Cho-Yeh
Technology is all around us and has seemingly endless uses. How can we harness this wave of new devices to help us run our camps better? Let’s look at opportunities to improve our facilities, reduce costs, and improve the guest experience with technology. This session will be presented in case study format talking about things that have worked well and things that haven’t worked at Camp Cho-Yeh and other camps. While the cloud of technology can seem hugely confusing and expensive, the goal of this session is to identify some pretty simple and reasonably priced changes that can make a big difference at your camp.
Meaningful Staff Appreciation Is Not “One Size Fits All”
Kim Aycock, Camp 2 Campus Learning Solutions
Showing gratitude to staff is not “one size fits all” as not all people want to be appreciated in the same ways.  Learn to speak a variety of dialects for appreciation and give meaningful and authentic recognition to staff for the valuable work they do without the cookie cutter. A long list of budget-friendly ideas for expressing gratitude will be shared and added to by participant contribution.  Increase engagement and create a more positive environment for your staff this summer! 
Kids Who Own You
Dorcas Tomasek, Camp Consultant
Children who begin to run out of or have never learned safe and rational ways of coping as their behavior escalates, need our best when they are giving us their worst. Come ready to participate in this learning workshop as we share tools and techniques that can assist in providing a safe and consistent approach before kids own us.
Decoding Special Diets
Taylor Terrell, Camp For All
What food allergies are and what they aren’t. Creating an allergen and special diet form for you kitchen based on what your staff and facility are capable of accommodating. Also opening up the floor, giving you the opportunity to ask questions, or fears that you may have concerning the growing number of people with special diets attending camps and how to adapt.
Tech Responsibly
Sarah Wallace, Camp For All
Let’s face it, technology at camp can be terrifying, especially when you picture hundreds of campers spending their summer session glued to cell phones and tablets. IT feels like the only way campers are able to experience the true magic of camp is to unplug and prohibit electronics. Well, welcome to 2019. It’s time to break the shackles of “traditional” tech-restricted camping and sprinkle in some technology, From concept creation to activity premiers, this session will give you the tools necessary for creating new tech-based activities and how to integrate technology into your current activities. We’ll talk brain storming, budgeting, pitching your concepts, and how best succeed in 2019.
There’s and App for That: iNaturalist and the Texas Nature Trackers Program
Tania Homayoun, Texas Parks and Wildlife
Texas Parks & Wildlife’s Texas Nature Trackers program engages naturalists of all interests and abilities in tracking the status of wild populations of plants and animals throughout the state. This presentation will introduce the Texas Nature Trackers program and how it uses the free iNaturalist platform to support the agency’s conservation work on Species of Greatest Conservation Need across the state. We’ll discuss some TNT projects, look at how iNaturalist works, and potential ways your camp can engage with these resources in your programming and camp management.
Thanks! But What I Could Really Use Help With Is...
Brandon Briery, Ph.D., Camp CAMP
Have you ever had potential volunteers or donors approach you with a lot of enthusiasm about some great service or product they want to give you–absolutely free–only you find yourself inwardly questioning exactly how that gift will fit within your organization’s mission, programs, or facilities? It is often tempting to accept any gift that is offered–because, hey, it’s free, right? “Yes” is not always the right answer. Everyone benefits when we learn to say, “would you consider this instead?”
Working at camp – it’s a lifestyle!
Kevin Spaeth, Mustang Island Conference Center
This presentation will include group discussion, personal reflection, and practice using some of the time management tools presented.
Watch Your Language: Improving Camp Culture through Intentional Word Choice
Katie “PJ” Sweeney, Girl Scouts of Central Texas: Camp Texlake
Watching your language at camp is more than just cutting out those “special” 4-letter words when working with youth. How often do we REALLY stop to think about what we’re saying, not just the words used but also the meaning and message behind them? During this session, we’ll explore how evaluating our language, intentional word choice and making little changes to what we say can all add up to help boost your camp’s positivity and inclusivity.
Customer Service: The power of yes…And
Kurt Podeszwa, Camp For All
The customer is not always right. Staff who are customer focused will find out what the real issue is and make the customer feel heard. We will focus on how to teach our staff what good customer service feels like.
The Leadership Challenge: Increasing our effectiveness while teaching our staff to be leaders
Kurt Podeszwa, Camp For All
Whether you are leading campers, or leading staff, camp is the place to learn leadership. This session will explore leadership concepts and give concrete activities to take back and use with your staff.