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Check in each week for the latest in Camp News and Education

Cool-Down Games for the Classroom, Camp & PE

Cool-down games are just as important as warm-up activities! These games are simple, usually quiet and low key. They can be used in a classroom setting or during down time at camp for scenarios when you need the kids to wind down or wait for the next larger activity.

Make the Most Out of Your Time With Youth This Summer!

As we move closer to the camp season, instead of adding things to that plate, here are some simple ideas or concepts that can be easily integrated into the trainings, programs and activities that you are already doing to enhance youth development within your programs.

Why Hiring Gap Year Students Should Be Your Next Camp Recruiting Move

People who have recently completed a gap year may have gained valuable skills that can lead them to be successful in a camp job.

Evaluating Water Activities

Water is a staple of many camps. Yes, of course, camps provide and encourage drinking water throughout the heat of summer, but water also hosts a number of activities that allow campers to cool off, squeal with delight while playing with friends, and beam with pride while learning a new skill.

The Art of Crafting: Do’s and Don’ts to Keep Projects Fun and Fresh

Arts-and-crafts projects are one of the cornerstones of camp activities. It is important to plan and organize these projects so campers understand what’s expected. Here are some tips in managing arts and crafts. 

How to Become an Attractive Employer

Personnel management refers to the functions many employers refer to as human resources (HR). These are the functions HR staff perform relative to the organization’s employees. This can include recruiting, hiring, compensation and benefits, new employee orientation, training and performance evaluations.

22 Butterfly Craft Projects & Kits for Groups of Kids

Get creative with these butterfly themed crafts for large groups that allow you to bring a nature theme to your program! Butterflies are a symbol of transformation, growth, and beauty. They’re not only fascinating creatures to observe but also a popular design for crafts

Engaging and Investing in Staff Before Campers Arrive

As a seasonal business, it can be difficult to get staff to be invested and committed year after year. One of the very simple ways that this organically happens is campers who love camp so much then move into a counselor-in-training (CIT) role, and then into a staff role.

Investing in Staff Training and Education

Your program staff are your most valuable asset. You should invest in staff by providing training, education, teambuilding and networking opportunities while empowering them to do great things within your programs.

Ready, Set, Swim: Tips for Managing a Swim Program at Camp

Whether done on-site or on a trip, swimming can be one of the most challenging activities to host at camp. Not only does the environment have to be fun and engaging, but swimming must be done safely with large groups of kids—all of whom have varying swim levels. Here are some guidelines and items to consider when managing swimming activities at camp.

Tips for Managing Staffing Shortages at Your Camp

Directors and staff are the heartbeat of camps across the country, creating experiences and communities that support children and young adults throughout the year. But like many industries throughout the US, camps are experiencing severe, painful staffing shortages.

Tag Games for Summer Camp & Recreation Programs

We’ve shared some fun tag game variations that you can incorporate into your activity rotations for summer camp and recreation programs to provide more twists on a classic game for kids.

How to Handle Conflict Among Campers

Regardless of how much time you put into acclimating your campers to life at camp or within a child care program, there will always be incidents with kids not getting along the way they should. Examples can range from minor name calling and kids putting hands on each other all the way up to severe bullying, fighting or inappropriate language.

Summer Camp Planning: 3 Themed Ideas to Keep Campers Engaged

Kids look forward to summer camp all year long. When they get there, it’s your responsibility to make it the most action-packed, memorable summer experience yet! To plan for an amazing summer, you need engaging ideas that will keep your campers engaged and eager to return to camp year after year.

Lawfully Recruiting and Hiring the Best Candidates

Though no hiring process is foolproof, here are some things to think about to make sure that you are recruiting the staff members that you need, and that your staff members are finding the camp where they can be a valuable part of the community.

Embrace Hands-On Learning

Refute the notion that academic components are “boring”

Creative Ways to Staff Summer Camp

Creative ways to staff summer camp amid labor shortages.

Ensure A Well-Run Registration

A well-run and organized registration provides a great first impression to participants. Whether registration is done in-person or online, make sure participants leave with all the information they need. This is also an opportunity for the camp to obtain essential information from the participants for the upcoming camp so there is no need to follow up later. Here are some tips to run a seamless registration

Safety at Camp in 2022: What We Saw in the Field

Whether it was difficulty in hiring and retaining staff, challenges in effectively training the staff that camps did have, or managing campers who had not been exposed to a camp or school environment for a while, camp directors were very aware that this was likely to be one of the most challenging camp seasons they had faced.

Guidelines For Swimming

Campers swimming and engaging in other water activities with friends can be the highlight of the summer. However, swimming is also dangerous and should be taken seriously. It only takes a few seconds of complacency for a major incident to occur. Here are some tips to ensure swim time is always a success.

Tag Game Variations

Use these variations of tag to switch it up and provide a variety of games to a standard game of tag.

Games with Bowling Pins for Camp

Sometimes a few bowling pins can add some out of the ordinary creative activities that will keep your campers and students engaged the entire time. Minimal supplies are needed, other than bowling pins, grab some balls and cones to coordinate these easy and fun games.

Managing Risk Within Recreation Programs

Managing risk is never fun but it’s essential in preventing a catastrophic incident that could cause serious harm and shut your recreation program down for good. Risk management is not just a hazard or physical accident. It can include things like financial losses or losing important records.

Becoming an Accountable Recruiter

Some of our campers come to our camps for the water trampoline, or ropes course, or any of the other amazing programs that we run — but a majority of our campers come back year after year because of that one counselor. The person who helped them to grow, be confident with themselves, and provide life-changing experiences throughout their summer. This is why recruiting the right people is so important for the success of our camp operations.

Drifting Development: A few special needs that all campers (and staff members) will have in the coming year

We knew it was coming, but it was still worrisome to see. Campers and staff in the 2022 summer struggled mightily, compared to their pre-pandemic age peers. A rare confluence of COVID and quarantine factors clearly caused young people’s normal social and emotional development to lag; social isolation, family stress, online learning (not the academic kind), apprehension about the future, and diminished access to professional care all took a toll on young minds.

Movement Concept Station Activities

This is a stations based activity where students work on different types of body movement. Students will spend some time at each station using the items that are within that area.  Each area has a focus listed, but students can choose the objects within that area to work on.

The New Normal: Rethinking Staffing Communications

Despite all the difficulties with staffing today, there is one thing organizations (camps!) can always do to facilitate the hiring process: communicate better.

Plugging In To Social-Media Marketing

Summer-camp marketing has drastically changed over the last few years. When I was a camper, a DVD and a brochure were sent to a prospective family. Before that, it was probably just a brochure or a pamphlet. Local newspaper ads, word of mouth, billboards, and similar outlets all helped. In today’s world, marketing is all around us all the time.

Raise More for Your Nonprofit Summer Camp: 3 Tech-Savvy Tips

Summer camps are a memorable experience for everyone involved. It’s where you make meaningful friendships, develop important skills, and most importantly have fun. However, outside of these exciting summer months, your nonprofit has to focus on raising funds to hire new staff, maintain campgrounds, and provide scholarships to children who may not be able to afford camp.

Emergency Services and Your Camp: Cultivating the Relationship

Back when she was a camp director, Redwoods' consultant Meredith Stewart was thinking a lot about the folks who would come to her aid in the event of an emergency. Rather than just asking them for something — like touring her facilities, or reviewing her emergency action plan — she instead started out asking something that should be relationship building 101.

Glowing Glue Art Project for Kids

Do you have a liquid glue container that is almost empty? Want to add some fun to regular glue? Simply add in some drops of paint! To really make it fun, if you add in Fluorescent Paint, your creation will glow under a Blacklight!

Survey's and Evaluations: An important process in moving a program forward and meeting participants’ needs

Make it a priority to survey and evaluate every aspect of an operation before, during, and after each camp session. Without detailed feedback, it’s difficult to tell how things are going. This process is ongoing, although the majority of information will be compiled once a program ends.

Engaging Staff in the Off Season: How Investing in Relationships Can Boost Retention

In the current tight labor market, there has been a lot of focus on strategic and innovative approaches to hiring and retention. This is just as much of a priority during the off-season as it is during the summer. So how do we keep working on this topic once folks have left our camp?

Group Activities for Team Building & Warm Ups

Try these group activities to keep your group active, engaged, and learn teamwork!

Creating a Positive Camp Environment: Successful Camp Activities Part Two

Part One of coordinating successful camp activities provided 20 points to help you successfully coordinate any activity with a focus on planning, having fun and keeping kids engaged. Part Two outlines additional points, including how creating a positive camp environment alone will make your activities better.

Preventative-maintenance plans and procedures will help extend the life of facilities

Whether you own and operate your camp facilities or have a user-group agreement, you have the responsibility to ensure facilities are safe and stand the test of time. Maintaining these facilities properly is the key to making sure this happens.

Coordinating Successful Camp Activities: Part One

Creating and coordinating fun and engaging activities is why your participants attend camp and keep coming back. It is important that you thoroughly plan out activities, train staff and put the effort needed into your activities to make them successful.

Get Outside! Four Ideas for Outdoor Fundraisers

For nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations, fundraising is key. For park and recreation agencies, fundraising can bring awareness to local issues and engage your community in a cause your organization cares about like environmental restoration and increased access to play spaces. By hosting a mix of your own fundraisers and partnering with local nonprofits and other organizations, your park or recreation center can maximize both impact and revenue.

Coordinating Successful Field Trips at Camp

Field trips are one of the most exciting parts of camp for campers but can be the most daunting for you and your staff members. Going off-site adds an extra layer of responsibility to ensure campers have a fun, yet safe experience. Here are 10 tips to make sure camp trips go as planned!

Animal Themed Camp Games

Try these animal themed games in your classroom or program! These are great for brain breaks and to get campers up and moving. You can also plan some crafts and other themed ideas to go along with the games. Click below to see some examples of free camp games and arts and crafts projects!

6 Ice Breakers and Team Building Games for Camp

6 Ice Breakers and Team Building Games for Camp

5 Great Outdoor Games for Groups of Kids

In an age of technology, creative outdoor activities are getting played less and becoming harder to come by. Here are some lesser-known games that are great for a group of friends, a P.E. class, or even a summer camp, any of them work. As someone who is in the younger generation and played a lot of sports growing up, here are some of my favorite outdoor activities that my friends and I loved as a kid and still play now.

Activities Camp Counselors Can Plan To Engage Teens

It’s usually pretty easy to get young kids excited about summer camp and all of the activities they’ll be able to enjoy. However, as campers get older, it can become more challenging to plan events and activities that will keep them engaged.

Behavior Management Techniques for Post-Pandemic Campers

Everyone is excited to be back at camp, and, in many cases, programs are seeing more participants than ever before. However, unique behavior issues are beginning to arise in campers, partially due to the pandemic.

8 Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer at Camp

The “Dog Days” of summer are here, and everyone needs to find their own way to get out of the house but also to stay cool! Whether it’s fun swimming activities in the pool, staying cool in the shade, or just staying as hydrated as possible, there are steps to be taken to make the unbearable heat just a little bit more bearable. Below are some essential items and activities to stay cool. These can be used for summer camps, at the beach, or even just in the backyard. Hopefully you find one to enjoy and take advantage of!

Managing Camper Conflict

Regardless of how much time is spent acclimating kids to life at camp, there will almost always be incidents of kids not getting along. Examples can range from minor name-calling to severe bullying, fighting, or inappropriate language. Although there will be some commonalities, each incident should be handled with a process that is fair.

8 Family-Friendly Fundraising Ideas for Camps

When thinking about fun activities for your camp, fundraisers might not be at the top of your list. Emailing your campers’ parents, alumni, and community members can bring in funds, but it can also feel a bit disconnected from the fun activities that make your camp worth funding in the first place.

Camper Rewards Program and Recognition

Having a camper rewards program will help with camper behavior issues by recognizing your campers for good behavior and giving them an incentive to follow the rules. You would need to purchase things like small toys, trinkets or candy for a prize bin or treasure chest in order to implement your reward system.

Happy Campers: Teach and Practice Healthy Habits at Camp

There’s a reason many campers and staff return to camp summer after summer. It’s their “happy place.” Many think of camp as a magical, other-worldly destination where they feel happier than they do anywhere else. It’s common, as the session or summer comes to a close, to talk about how sad they’re feeling that camp is ending and/or how much they dread going back to the “real world” or “real life.”

CDC Releases Updated COVID Guidance for Day and Overnight Camps

On Friday, May 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance for day and overnight camps. This updated guidance aligns strongly with the safety protocols and layers of protection discussed in the recent Town Hall Meetings that ACA hosted with the CDC and the Alliance for Camp Health.

Safe and Engaging Summer Camps

Around 20 million children in the U.S. attend summer camp every year, according to the American Camp Association. As community centers host a majority of these children, it’s vital you are providing fun, safe and engaging summer camps.

Mini Ice Cream Cone DIY Craft

These mini ice cream cones are so much fun to make for a summer DIY craft! Kids loved putting these together and decorating their own ice cream. The perfect summer camp craft activity on a hot day. Plus, you can use them for an ice cream theme for National Ice Cream Day on July 17th!

Managing Parent Complaints in Recreation Programs

If you run a well-organized program and you are a great communicator, parent complaints will be at a minimum, but sometimes things will happen that are out of your control causing a parent to complain. Any complaint that comes in, whether phone, email or in-person, should be handled and resolved as quickly as possible.

Questions Every Camp Should Answer About Child Safety

As you know, summer camps and recreation programs spark memories for children that last a lifetime and provide a reliable space where parents can expect their child to feel safe and supported.

Staff Meeting – Pro Tip

Now we all know the problem. We have a staff meeting, maybe yours are in the afternoon or the morning, or maybe even in the evening. Here at camp Gilead, ours are in the early morning.

Building an Inclusive Camp Environment for Participants and Staff

Unconstrained from daily life, camp is a space for exploration and expression. Whether through planned activities or social-emotional learning, participants learn new things each day and develop in their identity through time spent at camps.

Staff Training and Education: Putting in the time will pay dividends

Staff members are a camp’s most valuable assets, so invest in them by providing training, education, teambuilding, and networking opportunities, while empowering them to do great things!

How to Protect Your Camp from Supply Chain Issues

Your camp is getting ready for its first full summer in a few years. It’s time to dust off your equipment, take stock of what needs to be replaced, and start placing orders for new gear. Unfortunately, global supply chain issues due to the pandemic are making it difficult to get the gear you want as quickly as you’re used to.

Is Your Organization Ready for an Emergency?

When seconds matter, options must be considered and immediate action must be taken. The more thought and purpose put toward identifying actions that must be taken beforehand, the less time wasted and redundancies that occur during an actual emergency.

How to Manage Your Summer Camp in the Shadow of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed many industries, including the summer camp industry. During the summers of 2020 and 2021, fewer parents were thinking about camp, as indicated by the more than 50 percent decrease in Google searches for “summer camp.” With many camps closed or operating in a dramatically decreased capacity, the past two years have been tough for the industry.

Eight Tips for Streamlining Camp Operations

In the camp industry we enjoy a collaborative spirit and do what we can to create an enjoyable experience for guests and staff members. For those directors looking to streamline camp operations, take a look below at some helpful suggestions. Some of these tips are easier to implement than others, but all of them come from camp directors who have worked in the industry for many years.

Gen Z Staff: What Exactly Are They Looking For?

Most camps are in full recruitment mode at this point. The black box of staff recruitment continues to be with us as we attempt to identify exactly the right message, compelling argument, or job arrangement that will convince an individual to apply and show up for a summer camp job

How to Make Bubble Art – Fun Activity for Kids

Bubble art is a fun and creative craft activity that kids love! It is easy to set up and can be entertaining for hours! Teach kids that they can create art in unusal ways.

The Power of Self-Reflection for Leaders

Self-reflection is powerful tool to continue to build your knowledge and measure personal growth in your area of interest. Taking just five to 15 minutes each day to write a summary of events that you experienced will help build the habit of your conscious learning process. Reflecting on key moments when you have success, failure, or faced challenges will provide you will a tool to notice patterns to your mistakes.

How a Communication App Will Improve Your Camp Program

Lack of communication is the #1 reason a camp parent will complain. With so many moving parts at camp it can be very difficult to make sure all parents get all the important information they will need to be a part of your program. We all try our best to email out information prior to camp, place information in our parent handbooks, post on our website or social media, and even give information in person at registration or at the camp check out desk. There are still always parents who will tell you "I never received it" or "I didn't know" and then complain that it was our fault. What if you had a way to have all your camp information on one place at the tip of your parents fingers and can notify them in real time with the click of a button?

Camp Fundraising Tips and Ideas

Fundraising is a large part of any youth program, especially in the nonprofit sector. It is important you get creative with your fundraising and find additional ways to generate revenue to make sure you have the necessary funds to keep the program afloat. Here are some additional tips and suggestions to ramp up your camp fundraising.

Five Tips for Dealing with Disgruntled Camp Parents

“I need to speak with the camp director right now.” These are some of the most universally dreaded words for camp professionals.

Social-Media Marketing: Tips and Tricks to Attract a Crowd

Historically, camp owners have difficulty promoting all of their facilities’ features and benefits. While advertising in publications invariably pays off, not all camps can afford it; in some cases, there aren’t any publications in a geographic area that would benefit them.

How to Communicate with Your Staff before, during, and after the Summer

As technology and social media grow, there is a seemingly endless array of platforms available to us to stay in touch with people. Because of this, you think that it would be easier than ever to connect with our camp communities, whether that is parents, campers, or staff.

Creating Inclusion at Camp

People can be empowered to recognize and address issues of identity openly and with courage and compassion. Of course, this isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight. Inclusion takes time, patience, and persistence — and must be about culture and practice working together to create a supportive and inclusive environment.

Things To Do At Day Camp

While some parks and recreation departments go all out with elaborate camp themes, there’s room in any lineup for a few back-to-basics activities as well!

Mindfulness and SEL Activities For Kids to Manage Emotions

Mindfullness and social emotional learning (SEL) are becoming increasingly important, and it is beneficial to start teaching kids at a young ago how to manage their stress and emotions in a healthy way. The goal is to develop the skill of being present in the moment, learning how to be balanced and clear their minds of negative energy.

Guidelines for Swimming: Practical Tips to Ensure a Safe Program

Campers swimming and engaging in other water activities with friends can be the highlight of the summer. However, swimming is also dangerous and should be taken seriously. It only takes a few seconds of complacency for a major incident to occur. Here are some tips to ensure swim time is always a success.

Musical Moments at Camp: The Benefits of Outdoor Musical Instruments for Camps

When children first arrive, camp can feel like a scary place for some kids, bringing on homesickness, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness before making friends. One way that camps are able to alleviate these feelings for children is through music therapy.

The Importance of Supervision at Camp

Proper supervision of campers is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of participants and should be taken very seriously. Regardless if you are coordinating an activity, taking a trip, or even having downtime, counselors must make sure they never let their guard down. It only takes a few seconds of complacency for an incident or accident to occur.

Camp Discipline: Reducing Conflict and Taking Action

Disciplining your campers is never a fun task, but is necessary when all other options have been exhausted. Discipline can range from a simple time out to suspension or expulsion.

Preparing for Summer Programming

Successful summer programming doesn’t just happen overnight. Instead, it requires proper and detailed preparation. The steps involved in planning a summer program take time, effort and energy if you want the resulting experience to be rewarding. And success comes from offering programs your members and community will attend.

Evaluating Water Activities

Water is a staple of many camps. Yes, of course, camps provide and encourage drinking water throughout the heat of summer, but water also hosts a number of activities that allow campers to cool off, squeal with delight while playing with friends, and beam with pride while learning a new skill (or even brush up on an old one). Water at camp can be a lake, a pool, a splash pad, a pond, a river, a creek, a waterfall, a slip-n-slide, sprinklers, a hose, or any combination of these.

How Staff Can Prepare for Campers Who Take Medication

Going off to summer camp is one of the most exciting things to do in the summer as a kid. It is a completely different experience than one they are used to. Leaving for camp is at once an exciting break from the same old routine and an adventure that can leave butterflies in their stomachs.

Stay Alert And No One Gets Hurt: The Importance of Camp Supervision

Proper supervision of campers is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of participants and should be taken very seriously. Regardless if you are coordinating an activity, taking a trip, or even having downtime, counselors must make sure they never let their guard down. It only takes a few seconds of complacency for an incident or accident to occur. Here are 10 tips to make sure counselors are displaying great supervision.

Planning Your Camp Programs

Planning is the cornerstone of any well-run camp. If you fail to plan you plan to fail! Proper planning prevents poor performance! Planning is extremely important in coordinating any high-level camp or park and recreation program. Planning can come in many forms and most all plans are open and customizable to how you want to operate.

Support Versus Coddling: When to Push and When to Pull Back When Trying to Grow Our Staff

Mental and emotional health has been on the forefront of all of our minds. During COVID, it is even more so. While camp is for the camper, our staff are the ones interacting and supporting them daily. What do we do when our staff cannot hold it together?

Tie Dye Watermelon Backpacks – DIY Craft for Kids

Plan some fun summer activities you can do with a group of kid! Whether you are looking for summer camp ideas, recreational activities, or just a sunny day craft activity to do outdoors, your group will love this watermelon tie dye backpack activity. Nothing screams summer than watermelon! So let’s get started on how to create a fun and super simple watermelon backpack.

How to Be an Effective Communicator in Your Camp Program

In order to run a program at a high level, you have to be an effective communicator. You can never communicate too much. Keeping your participants, staff and volunteers in the loop in every aspect of your program can only help.

Marketing and Promoting Your Recreation Programs

For your camps, leagues or any other recreation programs, word of mouth is your strongest tool for marketing your programs. In order to gain traction via word of mouth, you have to prove you are running an excellent program. When you get to the point that your program is filling to capacity well before the registration deadlines, and you have long waitlists to get in, you know you have a strong program. If you are not at that point yet, you may need to find creative ways to get the word out about your program to get people in the door, without spending a lot of money.

Where Are Your Senior Staff Staying at Camp This Year?

Have you ever thought about what senior-level staff think of their accommodations at camp? Does reality match what is anticipated? Does lodging exceed staff expectations, or are they left hoping that the summer will end quickly so they can return home to their own bed?

What Survey Questions Should You Ask Camp Parents?

To feel more confident in marketing your summer camp, and to help camp participants feel more trust in the camp, directors should collect surveys from parents, campers, and staff.

The Right Site

Whether you're looking at your current site to make some improvements, or evaluating a piece of property for use as a new camp, or maybe more likely visiting someone else's camp to get some new ideas, few people can visualize the cause and effect facilities can have on outcomes.

Velvet Art Mandala Coloring Craft Project

Mandala designs are always very popular for crafting! You can use markers or colored pencils for this craft activity. For the video tutorial, we used colored pencils. You can even accent the finished colored projects with glitter glue or gems for extra sparkle!

Adapting On The Fly

Many day camps and resident camps had to quickly adjust or unexpectedly cancel their sessions last summer due to COVID-19, but the faculty at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, made a different decision. Actually, there wasn’t much choice; the week that classes were to begin, the campus closed for the remainder of the year.

It’s Time to Talk About Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder

On December 7, 2021, the United States Surgeon General issued an advisory on the mental health challenges experienced by young people. The advisory reports that in 2019, one in three high school students and half of female students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, an overall increase of 40 percent from 2009.

Best Practices for Thanking Donors

People give to people and worthy causes too. They will give because they believe in your organization, and they can identify with your mission and goals. They know the people who are part of the organization, and they hold the same values.

101 Fun Things To Do While Maintaining Physical Distance

There are plenty of activities that lend themselves to real-world, in-person gatherings and events while maintaining appropriate physical distance. I’m sure if you put your mind to it, you can probably create a similar list of possibilities, just from the many activities you already know. Below is a bit more description on each of the activities. These descriptions, combined with the current best practices, should enable you to plan plenty of physically distanced activities for many future programs.

"See You Next Year!" 4 Camper Retention Techniques

Summer break is an exciting two months of the year for kids! When they spend that valuable time at summer camp, they get to learn life skills while experiencing the great outdoors and forging bonds with their peers. However, between summers, your camp will need a strategy to remind campers and kids of these awesome times and encourage them to come back next summer.

How to Make 2022 a Mission-Driven Success

here seems to be a collective sense that 2022 is the year of new things. For many, it’s new programs and new goals to correct a couple of tough years. No more borrowing to avoid bad bottom lines and just making it through. We know our purpose and have our plan.

Camp and the Loneliness Crisis

Loneliness was a crisis before the pandemic. And by now, just about everyone in our community is suffering from it.

Keep It Fresh: Coordinating Successful Activities Part 1

Engaging in fun and creative activities is why participants attend camp and keep coming back. It is important for coordinators to thoroughly plan out activities, train staff members, and put the effort needed into activities to make them successful.

5 Active Games for Kids to Play with A Ball

If you are looking to keep your group active, whether it’s a recreational program, PE class, or summer camp, try these 5 game ideas that kids can play. Depending on the type of game, all you need are balls with a set of cones to play any of these games.

2022 Youth Program Planning: Out with the Old and In with the New

Each year, hundreds of thousands of children attend youth programs provided by institutions of higher education across the country, with the bulk of these programs taking place during the summer. The programs, activities, and services can cross multiple campuses, colleges, and administrative units ranging from academic, recreational, and environmental programs.

Virtually — and Simultaneously — Reaching Campers with Varying Abilities

Children’s Association for Maximum Potential’s (CAMP) mission is to strengthen and inspire individuals with special needs — and those who care for them — through recreation, respite, and education. That mission is both very specific and, at the same time, quite broad. Its breadth lies in the fact that the “individuals with special needs” we serve span a wide array of abilities and challenges.

Camp Administration: Supervision

Always be supervising! Proper supervision of your campers is of the utmost importance to ensure the safety of your participants and should be taken very seriously. Regardless of if you are coordinating an activity, on a trip or even just have downtime, your counselors need to make sure they never let their guard down. It only takes a few seconds of complacency for an incident or accident to occur.

Tips and Guidelines for Camp Planning in Recreation

Planning is the cornerstone of any well-run camp. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Proper planning prevents poor performance and is extremely important in coordinating any high-level program. Planning can come in many forms and most all plans are open and customizable to how you want to operate.

Handling Parent Complaints Within Your Recreation Program

If you run a well-organized program and you are a great communicator, parent complaints will be at a minimum. However, sometimes things will happen that are out of your control causing a parent to complain. Any complaint that comes in, whether by phone, email or in person, should be handled and resolved as quickly as possible. If the complaint cannot be resolved immediately, a follow-up should occur within a maximum of two days. The program administrator should continue to follow up with the parent until the issue is resolved.

Creating Camp Schedules: Templates and Tips

Providing your parents detailed camp schedules to outline all their child’s camp activities is a cornerstone to any well-run camp. Ideally, you should be able to schedule out your entire camp and provide this to the parents well ahead of time. Detailed activity schedules can be distributed weekly along with supplemental materials that may be needed for off-site trips or camp events.

Marketing Your Summer Camp For Different Target Audiences: What You Need To Know

Marketing for summer camps is not an easy feat. You don’t have just one audience to market to but multiple ones. You need to sell your camp to not only campers, which are a younger audience, but to their parents, future staff members as well as students. The same marketing approach just won’t cut it. You need to use different marketing strategies to entice all the above parties to get involved in your camp.

Tips for Hiring Quality Staff without Spending a Dime

A common challenge for summer camp administrators in 2021 was staff recruitment and hiring. This is not surprising, since there is a labor shortage across the country.

Equity and Identity Off-Season Road Map

There is so much to love about summer camp. This isn’t a surprise to anyone who may be reading this. We execute in 3 months what many people execute in 12… and we often come back for more. For many camp professionals (except for the superhuman camp folks who roll straight into afterschool programs and teaching) we spend our Augusts questioning ourselves, and our Septembers napping.

Creating an Employee Motivational Plan

Employee behavior management is the fuel that keeps organizations running efficiently and effectively. Investing in motivating exemplary employee behavior is central to organizational success. This takes strategic planning and implementation to develop, correct, and continuously encourage and engage employees to reach their full potential.

Tips and Guidelines for Camp Planning in Recreation

Planning is the cornerstone of any well-run camp. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Proper planning prevents poor performance and is extremely important in coordinating any high-level program. Planning can come in many forms and most all plans are open and customizable to how you want to operate.

The Three “Knows” of Marketing

From the outside, marketing can look complicated and confusing. And, done incorrectly, it can be. But, if you think about marketing correctly, if you examine the process (and marketing is a multi-faceted process) systematically, you can eliminate much of this confusion.

Building a Compelling Case for Funding Support

This past year has taught us that being creative and nimble are key to securing funding. In today’s environment, how do you develop a compelling case for support to attract new types of funders and secure new — and steady — revenue streams? Here are a few key ways to stand out among the competition and showcase your organization’s unique value.

Top 15 DIY Popsicle Stick Crafts For Kids

Popsicle sticks, also called craft sticks, are super popular right now for DIY crafts! These craft sticks can be tough to find now due to their high demand. We’ve shared 15 ideas for using popsicle sticks to create animals, themed crafts and educational projects.

Brave New World of Marketing

Fifteen years ago, way back in 1991, how many summer camps had a Web site? How many even had access to the Internet? Maybe we were fooling around with Prodigy or Compuserve (anyone remember them?), but for the most part the Net was something for the science-club crowd.

Build Relationships and Drive Results with Weekly Meetings

Leaders know their team needs regular connection and communication. And still, the leader and team members dread the weekly one-on-one (1:1) meetings. Because too often these meetings are wasted. They become either a transfer of the to-do list or an in-person report out. Break free from the flat and uninspired 1:1 meetings. Instead, use them to build relationships and drive results by connecting with people, removing barriers and advancing impact.

Camp Facility Development

Challenge courses have certainly changed over the years and so has the risk factor and investment potential. However, investing in a challenge course simply for financial reasons is probably akin to buying land on the moon.

Step Up Your Hiring Game: Attracting Interns through a Field Experience Manual

Are you worried about staffing shortages and how many international staff you can hire? Have you heard potential staff say, “Thanks for the offer, but I need an internship”? Creating a field experience manual to attract and hire interns for camp jobs is a great answer for both concerns.

How to Tell a Compelling Campfire Story

Camping season is what we live for, with longer days to enjoy every bit of sunshine in nature and beautiful late sunsets that turn into lovely warm nights, perfect to tell some spooky, funny, or enticing campfire stories.

Staff Culture: Reclaim Your Purpose, Part 2

Cuddy talked about the “Pandemic Flux Syndrome.” She was spot on when she mentioned that we have been in flux for 18 months or more with an ever-growing stockpile of uncertainty. I’m finding comfort knowing that I am not the only one feeling exhausted.

Programming for Tweens

As camp directors, it’s important to remember that this age group is made up of … kids! Kids who still enjoy silly games, dressing up to put on skits and making things with their hands. The following are some age-appropriate activities that let tweens enjoy their childhood years without pushing them to grow up too fast.

Inspiration and Planning in Nonprofit Fundraising

To conduct a successful capital or endowment campaign, the agency executive must inspire his constituents. The project must be visionary. It must make sense and be consistent with the agency mission and strategic plan. It must be well thought out, well researched, well focused and well presented

Up Your Game

The term “21st-century skills” has been commonplace for a couple decades. The idea is that opportunities, challenges, and events that have not yet occurred in the industry may become prevalent in the future, so workers need to possess the skills to be able to adapt, overcome, and succeed.

The Right Stuff

Quick! What are the most important tasks your facility crew, program staff, administration and food service must accomplish before this summer? I’ll make you a safe bet--you won’t get them all done. The complete success of your camp this year depends not so much on what you put on your list, but what things you actually accomplish. You have limited resources, the most limited being time and money. How do you set priorities? What should you put on the top of the list?

Defending Against Disaster

Each year, more than 200,000 children nationwide are hurt seriously enough on playgrounds to require emergency treatment or hospital admittance, according to the Virginia Department of Health. As startling as that statistic sounds, parents and caregivers still expect playgrounds to be safe.

Capital Improvements

Everyone has a vision of what will make their camp perfect. Unfortunately, that vision may not jibe with reality (or users’ ideas of a perfect camp), which is why it’s critical to develop a team of disparate people to help you craft a strategic facility improvement plan--a vision, unclouded by emotion, of what your camp needs to indeed become “perfect.”

Online Fundraising

Large annual fundraising events are standard practice for a reason--they raise money and get supporters involved with a camp's community. But they also require a lot of planning, resources and energy. What’s more, they don't take into consideration that supporters may not be available at the time that was designated, but want to help at other times during the year.

Sing to My Soul: How Music Provides Inspiration, Motivation and Activation

Music brings us pleasure and releases our suffering. It can calm us down and pump us up. It helps us manage pain, run faster, sleep better and be more productive.

String Art Painting Activity – Lesson Plan for Writing

Assess the students for their use of creativity and sense of subject setting. Depending on what you are evaluating will determine the outcome of your assessment. You can assess for oral presentation skills and comprehension of their ‘topic’ of study.

Considering Access to Summer Camp

For over 110 years, resting on the belief that camp can be enriching for all kids, the American Camp Association (ACA) has dedicated itself to enriching the lives of children, youth, and adults through quality camp programs. Unfortunately, due to the opportunity gap, many young people and their families still face significant challenges when attempting to access summer camp.

A Shrinking Window

When you hear “camp marketing,” what do you think of? Direct-mail brochures, postcards, Web pages, newspaper ads, camp fairs and an equally demanding amount of staff time dedicated to creating, mailing, distributing and attending? A major portion of a budget is invested in Web and print design, printing, mailing, advertising, fees, travel and hotels. And why do all of this? To get a parent to sign a child up for camp, most likely by mail or online. And that’s where many of us make a critical error. 

Enhancing Inclusion for Campers with Sensory-Processing Concerns through Camp Counselor Training

Summer camps provide children an opportunity for goal achievement, a sense of community, and development of self-concept. Toward that end, goal-directed camp activities revolve around teamwork, as well as improving coping skills and fostering intimate relationships

Engaging the Next Generation of Stewards

Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities have a rich history of connection to the outdoors, and for centuries have been on the front lines of community-driven work to build a better planet.

Selling For Social And Emotional Success

Enlightened ways for staff members to hype camp and for directors to update the camp website.

The Basics In Social Media

Particularly after 2020, parks and recreation professionals are busier than ever. Increased traffic during quarantine and a long-standing funding deficit have caused professionals to focus on a park’s physical presence and ignore any attempts at a digital presence.

High-Tech Training

In this brave new world of technology, you now have the opportunity to streamline the training process in a way that not only can give a camp more qualified counselors and staff, but also can make prospective parents take notice of your camp in a more favorable way.

Reimagining Camp through a Pro-Inclusional Lens

All of the inclusion, diversity, social justice, and equity work that many are doing in the field right now — all of it is to get us on level ground. To help us to understand that we are all connected.

Say Cheese!

Pictures help tell a story, validate memories, and provide witness to our lives. Having pictures of kids as they grow and explore the world is a priceless practice for parents. For kids, sharing pictures of their adventures just adds to the fun. One of the great adventures many kids will have over the summer is resident camp. As much as parents want kids to experience camp, they still harbor the usual parental concerns.

Medical Matters

Most parents, when they leave their children at a camp facility, have certain expectations that often go unsaid. Will my child be properly supervised? Will he or she be protected from bullying? Will my camper be safe from outside forces or people that may harm him? If he or she is hurt, will proper care be available?

5 Ways to Effectively Train Summer Camp Staff during COVID-19

The importance of properly trained camp staff can't be overstated. After all, parents are putting their trust in your staff to keep their children happy and safe — and that's not a responsibility to take lightly.

Giant Jacks Activities

Hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills has always been an important component in my elementary physical education program. Through my 15 years of teaching P.E., I noticed that a lot of many students lack hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Making Connections

No one likes to ask for money--even if it’s for a good cause. Many people and businesses are becoming more budget-conscious, scaling back expenditures in myriad ways in order to maintain operations on a status-quo level.

Seeking Talent: Recruiting the Most Qualified Candidates

R. L. Daft, in Management, defines human assets as human capital or human resources, and they are the collective value of the capabilities, knowledge, skills, life expectancies and motivations of an organizational workforce. For some researchers, the way organizations understand and manage their human resources reveals two fundamental dimensions--value and uniqueness. Combined, these attributes can help administration achieve its goals.

5 Things Camp Professionals Want to Tell School Administrators About Our Kids Right Now

Tis the season to recruit for summer staff . . . and gee, are we facing challenges! COVID-19 remains a real threat to operations and knowing what is to come this summer.

Building a Competent Board

All boards have a responsibility to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance. Good board members are often hard to find.

Made For The Shade

On hot summer afternoons when the sun is baking the playing fields and a group’s turn for swimming is over, camp counselors wonder what they can do with restless campers. Here are some activities that are made for the shade.

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