Project-Based Learning in Summer Camps: An Opportunity to Enrich Your Camp

It’s Friday afternoon at the Belle Isle Summer Nature Camp, a day camp in Detroit, Michigan. As parents and younger siblings mill around the auditorium, a happy murmur of conversation is heard as campers proudly display the work they’ve done over the week of summer camp. Students show off the ceramic tiles they created earlier that week, now glazed and fired. Student journals, drawings, and other art cover the tables. One group of campers plays a video they created encouraging people to plant milkweed and native flowers for monarch butterflies.

5-Year Impact Study Phase 2 Findings: Being Present in the Moment

ACA’s Impact Study is a multiyear research project designed to identify the lasting impacts of camp from the perspectives of campers, staff, and parents. In the earliest stages of the project, we asked former campers, who are now between the ages of 18 and 25 years old, what they learned at camp and how they are using what they learned in their lives today, specifically at school and in their jobs. The research team identified 18 distinct outcomes from these conversations, each of which transfers to school and work in unique ways.

Making Camp Possible for Others

Three summers ago, I stepped onto a bus as a small, shy, eight-year-old not knowing what to expect at Camp Canadensis. With tears in my eyes, I said goodbye to my mom, my dad, and my baby sister. What I didn’t realize at this point was that those seven weeks would change my life and my character forever.

By the Book: Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters
John Doerr

About the Author

Legendary investor John Doerr is chairman of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which he joined in 1980. He has invested in some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and companies, including Amazon, Google, Intuit, Netscape, and Twitter. In doing so, he has been instrumental in creating more than 425,000 jobs.

Your MESH Professional: Making Decisions for Success

Wondering what type of mental health professional might be a good fit for your camp’s needs?

Interested in knowing what this professional needs to be successful?

Concerned about having a mental health professional when those services aren’t the focus of your camp?

Taking the Big Step: Buying and Selling Camp

Over the past 20 years, we’ve been asked often to help buyers and sellers of camps in transition. With very few exceptions in the industry, most will only buy and sell one time in their career, so there’s very little opportunity to put lessons learned to good use. And while camp folks are usually glad to talk about their programs and operations (that are running well), people seem a little reluctant to share their hard-earned “camp buying lessons.” Those lessons are kept highly secret, and each buyer (and seller) is left to repeat everyone else’s stumbles.

On Becoming an Innovator at Camp

As the late behavioral psychologist Carl Jung once wrote, “The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites.” Some of the most memorable moments at camp occur when we are awakened by self-realizations of who we uniquely are and how we might work with others to collectively innovate the world.

Camp Jack Hazard Rises from the Ashes

The Donnell Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California, began on August 1, 2018, and was much smaller than other fires that burned throughout California in the state’s deadliest fire season on record. When the Donnell Fire began, Executive Director Jason Poisson had just opened Camp Jack Hazard to a group from another camp who had lost access to their facility due to another fire.

Before They Pull the Trigger: What Staff and Campers Need to Know

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Ralphie Parker’s mother, teacher, and even Santa Claus uttered five words of warning in the 1983 classic movie A Christmas Story. All Ralphie wanted for Christmas was “an official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle with a special sight and a compass in the stock with a sundial!” The perfect gun for “pranging ducks . . . and getting off spectacular hip shots” (Shepherd, Clark, & Brown, 1982).

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