Sankofa: The Value of Meaningful Debrief to End the Camp Season

Another camp season is complete. After working overtime to ensure that every session was special, enriching, and fun-filled, we camp professionals are finally able to exhale. We did it! The energy, dedication, and tenacity that it takes to run a summer camp is nothing short of heroic, which is why it is typical for camp professionals to use the weeks following the end of camp to squeeze in some well-earned rest and rejuvenation before diving back into planning for the next camp season.

Evaluating Your Camp Staff Orientation during Orientation

You did it! You’ve checked all the boxes and hired a full team of staff for the summer — counselors, lifeguards, ropes experts, and everything in between. As spring fully begins its transition into summer, there’s one more major item on the checklist before the campers arrive: staff orientation. As camp professionals, we all know the importance of this critical period of time. It builds community, sets expectations, and teaches staff many of the skills and strategies they’ll use to be successful throughout the summer.

Evidence-Informed Guidance for Summer Camp Staff Training

This webinar will provide camp professionals with promising, evidence-based practices for summer staff training. Camp professionals can level up their trainings by learning more about comprehensive, research-informed evidence of promising practices in their staff training approaches. This webinar can help camp administrators make decisions about training their staff.

New Director Orientation (NDO) Online Course - Asynchronous

ACA’ New Director Orientation (NDO) is designed to give you a solid foundation in the competencies and responsibilities necessary to your work as a camp director.  The course has been arranged so you can work at your pace and with the freedom to explore the sections in the order you choose.

This course covers five critical areas to help directors and supervisors develop the skills they need to be effective leaders. The core areas covered include:

It's Not Fair! - Things Kids Are Dealing With in a COVID-19 Camp World

Following several months of decreased interpersonal opportunities and increasing anxiety, we should expect many of our campers to struggle upon "reentry." Whether they are able to express it verbally or they show it through behavior, campers will be looking to staff for extra reassurance, support and social scaffolding as they re-learn peer interaction skills, explore new group dynamics, and adjust to changes in structure, safety measures and summer camp as they have known it.

Your Staff Are Hired: Now What?

You have hired your staff, but training does not begin for another few months. For our camp staff to be prepared to work with children on Day 1, their training must begin well before the buses pull into the campsite. Your training will undoubtedly consist of team-building exercises, discussion on all the policies and procedures, creating schedules, and, most importantly, prioritizing the campers. You will instill “campers first” in the staff mentality. Camps have focused on these topics in their staff training for decades.

In the Care of Other People's Children, Part 2: Training Frontline Staff to Make Good Decisions

While many risks can be managed through decisions regarding such things as facilities, equipment, requirements for participation, and policies, it is primarily through the day-to-day decision-making by staff that a camp has the most capacity in establishing control over risk. In large part this is because most accidents involving campers occur in program, living, and common areas — typically when campers are (or were supposed to be) under the supervision of frontline camp staff such as cabin counselors, program staff, and activity area supervisors.