Great Things Have Small Beginnings

In 1861, Frederick W. Gunn and his wife, Abigail, took their students on a two-week summer camping trip. The very popular program was repeated for the next several years — a small thing that is credited as the first summer camp. As the idea gained momentum for this new summer experience, more camps opened and, in 1910, some of the camp directors came together and founded the Camp Directors Association of America. This evolved into the American Camp Association (ACA). Today the association has over 14,000 members and 3,100 camps.

Solving the Certification Mystery

With ominous dread, our kitchen crew expected “the visit” any day now. Health inspector drop-ins typically occur in the midst of summer camp chaos, the busiest time of year for camp professionals. This time was no exception. With clipboard in hand, the inspector slowly and deliberately migrated from station to station, dwelling a bit longer in some areas. After the inspector handed over our well-graded inspection report, said goodbye, and the kitchen door slammed behind her, my kitchen staff released audible sighs. “YES! We can relax now.”

The Role of Insurance in Risk Management

Risk management plans are never finished. They must be revised periodically because risk, risk control, and risk transfer methods change constantly. Insurance is one of many tools available to risk managers and only one part of the process.

Risk management involves five basic steps:

Positive Futures

I have been blessed by a wonderful career as a camp director and educator in our field. It has been gratifying to see the lives of generations of campers and staff members transformed over the years. I know how deeply impactful camp experiences can be, but I’m always looking for new expert evidence to help the field communicate why camp experiences are essential for all American children and youth.

2017 Camping Magazine Editorial Index

View an archive of editorial indexes.

Featured Articles

Anxiety and the Importance of Play
An Interview with Shimi Kang, MD, January/February

Rogue Camp Volunteer Management: When Old Campers Love Camp Too Much

At the ACA National Conference in Atlanta in 2016, 4-H camp directors from across the country spent a day exploring relevant topics. Nationally, 4-H is one branch of the Extension Services, which includes Master Gardeners and other program areas that rely on volunteers. One common and highly charged topic was how to handle volunteer camp staff  who act like they are tenured for life. While almost every camp relies on experienced volunteers, sometimes they need to be reminded that Camp 2017 is not the same as when they were in fourth grade.

A Community of Healing: An Interview with Andrew Gappa and Deb Paschke of Camp Hometown Heroes

Camp Hometown Heroes is a national, free, week-long residential summer camp for children and siblings ages seven to 17 of fallen U.S. service members. These are active or inactive military heroes who died in combat or as the result of accident, ill-ness, or suicide. Camp Hometown Heroes provides a safe and caring environment where the children attending have the opportunity to openly discuss their feelings and experiences in connection with losing their loved ones.

5,000 Girls of Camp Kear Sarge — A Reunion Story

Standing on a dark platform at Grand Central Station in June 1965, I saw a huge pile of black trunks with silver latch hooks and little locks just like mine. I had watched my mother pack my trunk with blue wool blankets, white sheets, shorts, pants, shirts, underwear, a few bathing suits, and a pink bathing cap with a strap. The trunks that all looked alike were ready to be loaded on the train. Girls were laughing and hugging each other in pressed blue shorts and crisp, buttoned-down, white shirts that were measured especially for each one of them at Saks Fifth Avenue.

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