Social and Emotional Learning at Camp

Recovery from the trauma of the pandemic will be an important goal for camps this summer. It’s going to be a big lift, and we know you are ready for it! Aside from the usual, wonderful ways our campers play and dance and laugh, we should be thinking about new methods for helping campers talk about this past year and goals for the future.

For many children, understanding what they have been through in the pandemic is still hard to grasp. There has been so much isolation, fear, and loss that the process for coping will take months, if not years.

Expanding the Reach of Camp through Schools

My oldest child, Jane, once said she wished camp could be all year. Naturally, I asked her why, and she said, “We get to do everything at camp — when we hike in the woods, the camp staff tells stories about the plants and trees. It makes it easier to remember them. My camp friends care about me. They want me to make it to the top of the climbing tower. I’m not afraid to do things at camp that I am at school. Camp is happy. I love my camp friends. Grades, clothes, and money do not matter at camp. We see each other for who we really are.”

School Breaks Shouldn't be a Break from Learning

School breaks are not the time to take a break from learning. Unfortunately, this is what often happens, resulting in a significant drop in students’ mastery of core concepts. The National Summer Learning Association reports that students lose an equivalent of two months of their grade-level math computational skills over the summer, and students from low-income families also lose the same equivalency in reading achievement.

Summer Learning Resources

During the summer children experience “summer learning loss” when they are not involved in high quality programs with opportunities for skill building.  As a result, young people can forget up to 2 months of academic instruction, particularly in the areas of reading and math when they are not in school. Camps and other youth development programs provide the opportunity to reduce summer learning loss in an expanded learning environment where children are engaged experientially and have an opportunity for additional academic enrichment. 

Summer Reading Challenge - How Camps Can Help Campers Reach a New World Record

Recent research from The Kids & Family Reading Report indicates that 91% of kids say that their favorite books are the ones they picked out themselves — and summer is the perfect time for kids to enjoy those fun books.

Creating the Connection Between University Education Programs and Summer Camp

In Beach Lake, Pennsylvania, at a large residential summer camp, over one hundred male counselors pack the air-conditioned canteen on July 1. It is late as the off-duty counselors watch the re-run of the United States vs. Belgium World Cup soccer game. Groups of enthusiastic soccer fans huddle close to the television as the game goes into extra time because of a tied score at the end of regulation play. Minutes later, an eruption of voices reverberated through the camp, waking up children in nearby bunks. What was the cause of such a boisterous cheer?

Camp Was Made For Summer Learning

June 19 is National Summer Learning Day, a time to reflect on what summer learning means and what summer learning loss implies. In a March 2009 interview in support of year-round schools with OnPoint Radio, U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan referred to summer vacation as “an inexplicable, counterproductive, anachronism that takes youth out of an educational setting for two to three months every year” (Duncan, 3/5/2009). He went on to imply a year-round school year would remedy the losses reflected in self-confidence, and most notably, test scores.

Public Lands Use - Resources for Camps

Use of public lands and waters is essential for many camp programs.  It is estimated that at least 9 percent of all camps use public lands and waters for at least a portion of their program. ACA partners with government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels to achieve our common goal of increasing access to public lands for young people and of helping to inspire an environmental ethic among campers and staff.