From Tish

It’s an exciting time for the American Camp Association (ACA) as we continue to grow and adapt, remaining always relevant, open to new ideas, and responsive. Our organization is no different than other legacy organizations that are confronting a time of many changes during a time of larger nationwide and global change. As we work toward our preferred future, it is important that we have opportunities to connect and learn with one another.

Building Principles: Movin’ Right Along . . .

Whether the current program has your camp bursting at the seams and you're considering expanding, or you're ready to look for another property to host your organization, there comes a time when you find yourself in the real estate market. Buying or selling, there are a lot of things to think about and consider as you make this huge change. This month, we're going to look at just some of the issues and items to help you begin to unravel this often complicated process.

Research: Fun, Safety, Camaraderie, and Outdoor Adventure at the Hero’s Journey Program

Hero's Journey is a free-of-charge, wilderness-based summer camp program for youth living with serious illness. As a developmentally appropriate and challenging extension of the traditional camp program at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (Ashford, Connecticut), in 2013, Hero's Journey served sixty-seven adolescents ages sixteen through eighteen in groups of eleven to seventeen over five sessions of seven days each, including one sibling session. One nurse, five counselors, two program administrators, and two or three volunteers supervised each session of Hero's Journey.

The Last Dance

It's late in the evening. My feet are tired. Music is reverberating in my ears. We've been dancing and mixing all night. Tonight is an incredible celebration, truly a hallmark event. This may be the last time we will all be together like this. While bits of personal and collective nostalgia have been creeping into our conversations with one another throughout the night, now there seems to be a greater sense of urgency, a need to capture all these moments before the night is over. The DJ steps to the microphone.

Hover Over the Send Button: Nurturing Teenagers through Their First Job Application Process

Picture the scene: A camp director makes a job offer to a counselor and receives a response of outrage that he has not been offered the job he wanted and, additionally, was not placed with his friends. The applicant has spent the previous eight summers as a camper and has now graduated through the system with certain expectations about what he prefers his job to be. Such is the epitome of the struggle in hiring former campers as staff members for the first time.

ACA’s Raise the Bar Initiative: Capturing the Magic of Camp in Tangible Data

Matthew Smith is the camp communications and strategy director at Longacre in Pennsylvania, and cohort leader (along with Scott Brody, owner/director of Camps Kenwood and Evergreen in New Hampshire, and Ariella Rogge, a director at Sanborn Western Camps in Colorado) of the American Camp Association's Raise the Bar initiative to discover and articulate how the ACA camp community is participating in the transformation of young people, including educational approaches that facilitate the positive development of young people through comprehensive, whole-child collaborations and a focus on outco

The Case of the Melted Fingerprints

My first time working at summer camp, in fact during my first week, I melted off every one of my fingerprints. I was only 16 at the time, and I remember feeling shocked that this could actually happen. I also remember shamelessly considering what shenanigans I could get away with as a super cool, Justin Bieber-haired, imminently clever teenage boy without fingerprints. (The answer: not much.)

Serving Our Nation's Young Heroes - How Camp Is Impacting the Lives of Military Children

Since September 11, the world in which American military children grow up has changed dramatically due to unprecedented levels of deployment and the increased reliance on Reserve and National Guard members. More than 2.1 million American men and women in uniform have deployed. Of those service members, approximately 44 percent are parents (Department of Defense, 2014). 

The Pressure of Camp

The positive pressure one experiences at camp is something rare and hypnotizing. Friends at home call what you are doing a summer holiday, but you know the work is tough and comes with daily challenges like any job. However, at camp you have a network of people and systems that make the effort seem less like agony and more like a gem of an experience that will leave you forever changed.