2018 New England Camp Conference Workshop Sessions


Thursday, March 8, 9:30 - 10:45 am, Educational Breakout Session 1

Training for the middle: What do we really want from summer camp staff? - Scott Arizala

What if we made being a regular, average, and dependable staff member the gold standard at our camps?  What if we trained for and supported everyone giving us 85% all summer long?  Far from lowering our expectations, this session is about working to create a foundation of skills, knowledge, and behavior that demands a solid job and delivers a quality experience. We will dive into the 10 best techniques for helping ALL staff give a reasonable amount of themselves and their energy to your campers. This session will push your thinking on what it means to be a great staff member and will work to redefine what commitment and excellence looks like.

A Meeting of the minds: Camp directors, higher ed, and college students - Kim Aycock

Camps need staff to run their programs, colleges/universities have various requirements for students, and students are usually pulled between what they WANT to do and what they HAVE to do for school and parent demands. How can we create a win-win situation for all involved?   Learn valuable information from a meeting of the minds where the three groups came together to voice aspirations, make requirements known, and offer ways to collaborate so that everyone is a happy camper!

Alphabet Soup with a side of regulations - Ethan Doss

Challenge courses have long been tools at summer camps to experience adventure, group bonding, leadership, and trust. Industry regulations have been developed to help mitigate as many negative outcomes as possible, including a yearly course inspection that looks at the structure of the course, but not how a course is actually operated. When accidents occur, it is rarely due to a critical equipment failure, but it is much more likely because of human error. The latest version of these regulations includes a requirement for ongoing, annual training. Who needs this training? How often should it occur? Who can lead it? Are you qualified to be a trainer? Through a discussion of current standards, an explanation of critical acronyms, and a review of sample training plans, this workshop seeks to demystify the current regulations and put your camp on a path for successful training and course operation.

Federal employment laws update - Tom Jones

This workshop is designed to help participants understand how employment laws work in the real world - and how they apply very directly to the day-to-day duties, decisions, and interactions of managers and supervisors. Virtually all risk related to employment law violation lies with uneducated or undereducated managers and supervisors. A primary focus will be to enlighten participants as to how employment laws are broken every day – inadvertently – by managers and supervisors who think they are making good business decisions, and who would never intentionally discriminate.

Systems thinking in camping: From theory to practice - Rose Levenson & Herschel Singer

In this session that combines theory and practice, we will walk through a systems thinking framework and how to apply it to universal camping systems. Participants will learn from research done on the successes and errors of six camp professionals and be able to utilize a new framework for thinking critically about the systems surrounding both health/safety systems as well as staff structure...systems we all encounter in the field of camping!  We will ponder questions such as how to “fail forward,” what happens when a long-time year-round staff member passes away unexpectedly, and how to cultivate the most productive relationships with the emergency service personnel in the towns of our summer homes. If you are interested in a different way of preparing for some of the classic camping challenges, this session is for you!

Conflict resolution for staff and campers - Karyn Martin

Go beyond conflict resolution basics and learn creative alternatives to responding to conflict; when to create conflicts within groups to facilitate group dynamics; and activities and techniques to use with 7-year-olds, 17-year-olds, 27-year-olds, and multi-age groups.

Managing mental health in camp settings: What can you do - Chris Overtree

This session is about the ways that summer camps can leverage the community setting to help children with mental illness thrive. Participants will learn about the types of mental health conditions most commonly presenting in children and how they may be positive impacted by the camp environment. We will also discuss the kinds of conditions likely to have a negative impact on the camp community or those that cannot (or should not) be managed in non-specialized settings.

Round table: Faith-based camps - Rob Riley

This session is an opportunity for faith-based resident and day camps (all faiths welcome and encouraged to join!) to meet and discuss the issues faith-based camps are confronted with in the current culture and economy of camping. We will explore topics like staff recruitment, programming obstacles, and other topics relevant to faith-based camping.

Non-profits Web Marketing toolkit: Strategies and tools available to you in challenging times - Eric Stein

With donations up and down, non-profits need to utilize the web creatively. Some have campuses that need to be leveraged with additional revenues to buttress core programs. Various web tools are available such as Google Grants where non-profits receive $10,000 per month in free Google advertising. We’ll discuss what the most creative outfits are doing on the web along with your website, your analytics that tell you what is going on on your website, and tools to strengthen your web community.

Creating a culture of leadership - Doug Sutherland

Leadership can be a catch-all word that encompasses many aspects of camp life. Who are the leaders at camp and why do they have that label? Leaders are paid more, get more recognition, are admired by many, and/or have more influence. Is it because of the label “leader” or the individual’s own skills? The true leader is not always the one in front. This session will break down leadership into the actions and words that shape camp culture. Are we training leaders or providing skills to be leaders?

Motivating campers with a growth mindset: What psychology research tells us about inspiration - Andrew Watson

Why do some campers find challenges inspiring, while others give up all too quickly? More than three decades of research offer surprising answers to this question. Campers who believe their intelligence cannot change - those who have a “fixed mindset” - often adopt unattainable goals, give up when they cannot achieve them, and blame others for their failure. (Sound familiar?) When we help campers understand that intelligence can change and grow - when they adopt a “growth mindset” - they revise their goals, take responsibility for their progress, and persist in the face of difficulty. This workshop proposes several strategies for converting a fixed to a growth mindset, and thereby helps us foster our campers’ intrinsic motivation.

Thursday, March 8, 11:00 am - 12:15 pm, Educational Breakout Session 2

Lead with Influence: Facilitate donor relationships and corporate sponsorships - Mark Altman

Creating a strong voice or brand along with identifying a strategy both play a key role in your success. And with limited financial and personnel resources, identifying ways to maximize and create relationships is essential. Mark engages participants in role plays, stimulating discussion and fun group activities.

Meaningful staff appreciation Is not “one size fits all” Kim Aycock

Showing gratitude to staff is not “one size fits all” as not all people want to be appreciated in the same ways. Learn to speak a variety of dialects for appreciation and give meaningful and authentic recognition to staff for the valuable work they do without the cookie cutter. A long list of budget-friendly ideas for expressing gratitude will be shared and added to by participant contribution. Increase engagement and create a more positive environment for your staff this summer!

Red Rover Red Rover, send science on over! - Danny Badger & Shannon Gmyrek

Science learning does not need to stop when school ends. Our challenge: Keep the STEM learning rich and the science fully engaging, while staying true to the spirit and vibe of camp. Learn how to combine structured lessons and hands-on exploration-with-a-purpose. From tracking animal behavior, to sustainable harvesting, to monitoring changes in your local habitats, you will leave this session with new ideas for how to give your camp a science-y boost. We will provide lesson plans and hands-on examples to help you replicate and modify these activities for your own environment. Campers will walk away this summer saying: “I learned so much, but didn’t realize I was learning. You’re sneaky!”

Getting organized for your Accreditation Visit - tips beyond the Standards Course - Abby Burbank, Elizabeth Snell, & the Standards Team

Dear Abby: Our camp has a visit scheduled for this summer, and I don’t want to be pulling my hair out prepping for it. Got any advice? - Signed,  No Toupee for Tom

Dear Tom: Abby is no fashionista, however, toupees are so passé. Instead of pulling your hair out let’s look at ways to make your visit fun and fulfilling for you: preparing and  organizing your documents, organizing the day for your visitors, involving your staff in the process, setting a realistic time line, and finding ACA resources that might help you. If you know Nervous in Nevada, bring her along too. Let’s get together at the ACA New England Conference. Bring your friends and we’ll have you leave with ideas for a game plan to use for preparing for your visit. -Abby

Do you feel like this could be you?  Come join us as we discuss ideas to help your ACA visit run smoothly! 

Success Counseling: a framework for building community and teaching responsibility - Jeremy Cutler & Barnes Boffey

This session will be an introduction to “Success Counseling,” the counseling approach used at the Aloha Foundation with both campers and staff. SC is an internal control psychology that redefines what motivates us and shows us how to have much greater control over our emotions and happiness than most of us feel we have. We will give an introduction to the theory of Success Counseling, as well as present a set of concrete tools that will allow people to begin to implement this framework immediately both at their camps with staff and campers, and in their own lives.

Harassment and discrimination prevention - Tom Jones

Harassment training, sexual harassment prevention training, and discrimination training are the cornerstones of any compliance training program and can reduce your organization’s liability in the event of an EEO claim or employment-based lawsuit. This workshop will review the applicable state and federal laws and offer practical information about how harassment and discrimination happens in the workplace as well as steps that can be taken to avoid these situations.

Re-thinking leadership training to ensure the relevance & competitive advantage of your CIT program - Sarah Littlefield

With summer youth opportunities like internships, study abroad prospects, academic coursework, and other scenarios, a CIT program at a summer camp can sound frivolous. While we understand that our programs are intentional, comprehensive, and effective, we must be able to articulate the advantages and relevance of that experience as a forum for leadership development to our constituents. Leave this session ready to fine-tune your existing program and develop necessary language to market your efforts and increase retention.

Consequential leadership - Nate Parks

How in the world am I going to achieve the mission? So much of the operation rides on leadership. Whether on the board, staff, donors, or the volunteer base, solid leadership is critical. We need a reasonable, actionable solution to this leadership concern. How can I grow myself and others in the process? In this session, you will find very practical and applicable principles specifically connected to stretching your leadership and growing other leaders along the journey.

Round table: Staff - trends and tips - Christie Peterson

It is always helpful to sit down with other directors to discuss strategies. Potential discussion topics (to be decided by session attendees) may include: staff commitments or leaving early, job expectations, time-off behavior, role modeling, staff interactions with parents, holding counselors accountable for actions, recruitment and retention, and praise and appreciation.  It seems as though many counselors don’t understand the enormous responsibility that directors place in their hands and this round table will be a chance to talk about this.

ACA government relations update - Tom Rosenberg & Steve Sudduth

Join ACA CEO Tom Rosenberg and ACANE Past President and Government Relations Committee volunteer, Steve Sudduth, for an update on government relations issues such as J-1 summer work travel and camp counselor visas, Child Protection Improvement Act, Federal Lands access issues, OSHA 300A new reporting requirements and more. 

Creating, not paying, attention: How neuroscience helps campers focus, learn, and grow - Andrew Watson

It happens every summer: we lament to ourselves, “If only the campers would pay attention!” Neuroscience brings us a surprising message: attention simply doesn’t function the way we always assumed it does. Once counselors understand how attention truly functions in the brain, we can work more effectively with the underlying neural systems that help our campers focus and learn. The Tripartite Theory of Attention—focusing on alertness, orienting, and executive attention—helps explain our campers’ difficulties, and suggests several specific strategies to foster that rarest of summer-camp moments: a large group full of highly focused children.

Thursday, March 8, 1:00 - 2:15 pm, Educational Breakout Session 3

It never hurts to ask - Mark Altman

Everyone in the organization a fundraiser and networker. Creating a culture of asking and everyone in organization will be in fundraising, networking and relationship-building mode. Mark engages participants in, role plays, stimulating discussion and fun group activities.

Silence, whispering, writing, and more: Lessons from our quieter staff Scott Arizala

Summer camp is loud, fast-paced, and filled with extroverts. This past summer, Arizala paid more attention to quieter staff, and what he observed blew him away. This session is about taking the best techniques that our quieter staff have perfected and developing those techniques and skills in all of our staff. From whispering to writing, the best lessons for connecting with every camper often come from the quieter corners of camp. Let’s work to expand our definition of an “ideal camp counselor.”

Show them the love: Delivering world-class customer service - Jed & Roz Buck

Making our customers raving fans can propel your camp to new heights.  This workshop will review the importance of super-serving customers and provide a series of practical actions and real-world examples that every staff member can easily use to consistently deliver world-class customer service in the camp environment.

Taking off-season programs higher(ed) - Emily Goupil & Jimmy Thren

If you’ve ever been interested in tapping into the higher education industry for off-season programming, this session is for you! Institutions of higher education are constantly looking for ways to infuse experiential education into academic curriculum and leadership development programs. Camp can be the prime setting for this to occur. The Residential Life Department at the University of New Hampshire realized how much of an impact a camp setting can have on student development and now hosts an annual overnight retreat for first-year students to explore and ignite their leadership potential. Similar programs exist on 200+ campuses in New England. This presentation will showcase UNH’s summit and its use of camp, help identify which departments camps should market to on college campuses, and highlight ways camp can provide a unique atmosphere for college student development.

Why we do what we do - Peter Hare

Why do we do the activities we do at camp?  For fun? For mastery of skills? For building character? All of the above? This may seem self-evident, but when you have been doing something for a long time, it is a good idea to stop from time to time and reflect on the real purpose. In this interactive presentation, participants will come away with specific staff training ideas that will help their counselors understand that the importance of camp activities goes far beyond learning a two-hand backhand, rolling a kayak or performing on stage. Ultimately, with this "big picture" understanding, counselors will be much more effective teachers, role models and leaders.

Open, honest, direct: Communications in a crisis - Jonathan Igoe

During a crisis, effective communication with your staff and constituents is essential and extremely challenging. In this session, we will look at several camp incidents and responses to understand what works, what doesn't, and how to anticipate some of the challenges that face an organization in crisis. Having a plan for crisis management and communications is an important way to prepare your organization. In Igoe’s experience, effective communications in a crisis can bolster confidence and support for your organization.

Finding the line: Conflict vs. bullying - Katie Johnson

“My child is being bullied at your camp.” Those are words you have probably heard once or twice before from a concerned parent. And definitely words that you don’t want to hear! Bullying is certainly not an acceptable behavior for campers (or staff!). But how do you know it is bullying? Or is it naturally occurring conflict? Conflict is a natural part of youth development – and part of our everyday lives as adults! One of our greatest gifts at camp is our ability to help teach children how to manage moments of conflict and disagreement. Where is the line between conflict and bullying? How are the two different? And how do we help our staff, parents, and campers understand the difference between the two so that we can help our campers learn about navigating conflict while creating an environment where bullying does not thrive?

Round table: Resident camp directors - Mark Lipof

The purpose of this session is for resident camp directors to explore and share information on topics/ issues that we all deal with on a regular basis such as staff salaries, benefits, working with millennials, special programming, administration, and purchasing etc. This is designed to be an interactive session where topics of discussion will be chosen at the start of the session by the directors in the room. The session is open to all directors and any year-round assistant directors who would like to join the discussion.

Nurturing the grit in girls - Creating safe space to fail and fostering resilience in tweens & teens - Sarah Littlefield

Our society values and rewards girls differently from boys. Moreover, girls see themselves differently from their male counterparts. They take less credit for their success and often respond to failure in self-destructive ways. Camps are a perfect place to help girls learn that challenges foster confidence and resilience. Learn more about girls’ adolescent development and identify places where changes to our programs can yield greater risk-taking, self-advocacy, and skill development in girls.

The supervisor challenge: Rise up! - Terri Mulks

Share your supervisory experiences and learn to implement tips, tools, and best practices for those tough days when being a camp director is less about leadership and more about management. Focus on the before (building your team), during (assessment and appraisal, sensitive conversations), and after (the dreaded termination of employment). This session will be a practical and creative application led by a current camp director who rises up to meet the challenge every day.

Gender diversity and implications for inclusion at summer camps Chris Overtree

Based on research into gender diversity, this session will introduce the participant to the ways that gender is being re-understood, and the implications for educational and camp settings. Specific recommendations for managing issues of gender diversity in camp settings, as well as an inclusion model for transgender campers will also be presented.

Why is everyone on edge these days? Make your camp stress and anxiety free - Dr. Anthony Rao

Anxiety and stress are on the climb in America. We’re all affected. Camps aren’t immune, and they’re reporting more angst, fear, agitation, and distraction among campers as well as staff. You’ll be surprised to learn how anxiety works in the brain and how it can spread like the flu. Learn how to identify it early and get tools to help your camp be better protected. Help everyone feel more calm and confident.

Thursday, March 8, 7:30 - 8:30 pm, Evening Session 4

Rock and roll relays - Jed & Roz Buck

These are not your typical 3-legged races!  In this interactive session, we will have fun AND you will be able to take the relays we do back to camp!

Paint & sip - Liz Calabria

Space for 30 participants only. First come basis. Don’t be late! Get Creative! Paint your very own masterpiece with step by step instruction. Paint, sip and experience the fun of finding your inner artist.

Zumba - Nicole Rivet

ZUMBA®: Dance away stress and burn calories in an energized, welcoming environment. Routines are inspired by a number of dance styles including Latin, Greek, Indian, and even hip-hop! No dance experience is necessary. Wear comfortable clothing and sneakers and bring a water bottle!

Let’s Play: Game room

Join other conference attendees to play some games, relax, and socialize! Whether it is cards, giant connect four, cornhole, and more, have some fun during your conference down-time.


Friday, March 9, 9:30 - 10:45 am, Educational Breakout Session 5

Pulling back the curtain: What the best leaders at camp really do Scott Arizala

 As Arizala observes leaders at different camps, the power of unconventional leadership skills is clear. This session will highlight some of the essential leadership skills that are often overlooked and under-trained. Foundation leadership skills like mentoring, coaching, being present, and creating systems are rarely intentionally taught, but often make the very best leaders. We will break down these and other skills, and start developing a list of important leadership skills and how to train your staff.

Training your summer supervisors: Key steps to positive impacts - Jed & Roz Buck

If our industry goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of our campers through exceptional youth development experiences, whose role is it to make this happen?  You guessed it . . . it’s all about the people working at your camp and interacting with your campers every day of the summer.  We will share four key areas of focus to prepare your team of summer supervisors to be effective leaders that support, guide, coach, and mentor your staff to greatness this summer.

Why can’t you all just get along? - Emily Golinsky

Some kids are social butterflies - and others might be better described as social awkward tacos. For youth struggling with lagging social skills, navigating the camp experience can be stressful, tiring and ostracizing (in other words, exactly the opposite of what the brochure told mom it would be!) You don’t have the staff ratio to hold each child’s hand “literally” and get them through camp, but you do need them to start “thinking inside the group.” Come learn the basics of setting up children for social success, including several techniques staff can use to encourage friendship building, scaffold camper interactions, and help “those kids” get out of their own way and make friends at camp!

Active shooters: Prevention and planning - James Hart

In this session, we will be discussing the current challenges and threats presented by active shooters, the current protocols utilized by various organizations, and the logic behind their methods. James will share the process Camp Mowglis used in revisiting its own policies, how the camp came to its current plan, and some tips in making your own.

Round table: Day camp directors - Mark Lipof & Beth Johns-Thomas

The purpose of this session is for day camp directors to explore and share information on topics/ issues that we all deal with on a regular basis such as staff salaries, benefits, working with millennials, special programming, administration, and purchasing etc. This is designed to be an interactive session where topics of discussion will be chosen at the start of the session by the directors in the room. The session is open to all directors and any year-round assistant directors who would like to join the discussion.

Are you popular? How “likes” online are affecting our real life relationships - Dave Malter

Social media has become an inescapable piece of everyday life…for campers, staff, and your organization. This artificial reality is based on the value culture places on celebrity profiles and Instagram influencers and how many “likes” posts get from our followers. How has the idea of being “popular” online changed the actions and attitudes of our campers and staff? What can we do at camp to combat the effects of online activity and develop real, meaningful, and lasting community? Come prepared to discuss your views on technology and what you are doing to create a culture that values connections over likes. 

Listening to boyhood: Knowing who boys (and young men) really are - Dr. Anthony Rao

“It’s all good... No worries...” Boys appear fine on the outside, but hide a vast reservoir of vulnerability, talent, and sensitivity. As a result, boyhood is more challenging in today’s fast-paced, overly competitive world than ever. They are losing ground academically. They’re diagnosed and medicated at levels many call epidemic. Camps, however, offer unique experiences to help boys find their true selves and shine. What makes boys and young men tick? Learn to help them control their behavior, face fears, channel aggression, and gain confidence. Learn how boys differ dramatically from one another, despite striving to look the same. Appreciate what your camp has to offer boys and young men so you can better shepherd them into manhood.

Business 101  - Bob Rojee & Cassie Abodeely

As camp directors we have two primary responsibilities: provide a quality product and generate a surplus for your business, while maintaining compliance and high standards. As seasoned directors, many of us are most comfortable and confident with the first of those goals. We have the background and the expertise to provide a safe, fun, and rewarding camp experience. It is the second piece that challenges us. The reality is that we are running a business. And no business is successful without strong and capable management. We must be adept in a variety of areas: human resources, legal, financial, marketing, and how to spot and address issues before they become problems. This session will explore the business side of the camp business. We will highlight skills and trainings you may consider to improve your camp-business acumen. Drawing on our own experiences and those of the participants, we will generate a basic business to-do-list for camp directors.

Why camp experiences are more essential than ever before for every American youth, teen, and young adults - Tom Rosenberg

Mobile media screen time use by Gen-Z young people has skyrocketed and regular in-person social interaction has significantly declined.  Psychologists report dramatically increased loneliness, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm among teens.  Yet strategic foresight researchers project that when Gen-Z-ers born today enter the workforce in 2040, they will be facing a human-centered economy where everything that can be automated will be managed by machines and AI.  Researchers report that well-practiced core social-emotional skills and 21st century learning skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and emotional regulation will be absolutely essential.  Come and learn more about this critical context for camp and how to position your camp for the future with community partners, parents, funders and other constituents.

Unravel the online space - 4 case studies of Web Marketing efforts by day, sleep away & specialty camps - Eric Stein

We’re going to examine the way four camps - a for-profit day camp, a not-for-profit day camp, a sleep away camp, and a specialty camp - use the web to acquire new campers. Some of these camps have also developed alternative and complementary programs and we’ll discuss how these have come about and are marketed. This will not focus on referrals, but on finding campers who are mostly from outside the existing ecosystem of campers and alumni. This means utilizing online tools to find wholly new families.

How to make the summer successful for children with ADHD - Dr. Sarah Tannenbaum

We often think of the summer as a time for fun activities, but for children with ADHD the summer can be very difficult. This session will discuss common challenges that children with ADHD face during camp as well as concrete tools that camp staff can implement to make the summer more successful and fun. Participants will learn about the summer treatment program (STP), an evidence-based camp setting for children with ADHD. Additionally, participants will learn specific behavioral principles and how to apply them in the camp setting with kids of all ages.

XXX-posed: Youth development in the 21st century - Dr. Chris Thurber

The world is no more or less violent or sexualized than it ever was, but kids’ exposure to this content is greater than ever. Rape, racism, and murder are not a war away, they are a click away. The result: campers who look sophisticated but feel vulnerable. Caring adults can and do set limits, such as drinking ages, ratings systems, and Internet filters. But ultimately, we need to be with children and teens as they emerge into adulthood. Learn to guide development by providing wise context.


Friday, March 9, 11:15 am - 12:30 pm, Educational Breakout Session 6

Understanding the game: What we can learn from kids at play and how to apply it to camp Scott Arizala

Arizala has spent a lot of time watching his kids play and he’s learned a ton about what they learn and experience. These ideas are not new in the framework of unstructured free play, but this session is about applying those same ideas to our mostly structured camp programming. We’ll dig into playing without pretense, figuring out the rules, creating shared interest, negotiating, fluid participation, pre-competition, and so much more. Let’s challenge our thinking on delivering the best experience.

Recognizing and understanding traumatic stress in youth - Dr. Dan Cheron

As many as one out of four children will experience a potentially traumatic event before they reach 18. While many exhibit resilience, a significant portion experience distress that may manifest itself in many ways, such as emotional disruption or behavioral dysfunction. Youth may experience increased difficulties when transitioning to a camp setting, or struggle with scheduled activities or peer relationships at camp. In this presentation, attendees will learn how trauma presents itself in children and adolescents, what a traumatic event is and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a traumatic stress reaction, and ways that traumatic stress may be masked by other emotional or behavioral problems. Practical steps to assist campers will be discussed, as well as how to recognize when more professional services may be required.

Strength based counseling: Exciting new research and techniques for challenging staff  - Bob Ditter

Based on the VIA Institute’s schedule of strengths, Bob will show us a cheap yet powerful way to challenge your staff and set up not only a way to guide them through the summer to do their best, but also providing them with a model for working more effectively with their own campers. This is a research-based approach with a great set of tools you will want to incorporate in your work with staff (and campers and yourself!)

Excel 101 for the camp world! - Marcie Glad

This session is geared for those who already use Excel and would like to use it more efficiently. This session will cover tips that can be applied to Excel for things such as the way you assign staff and camper groups, process reports, and track payroll information.  We will look at: 1. Shifting rows around without having to cut-insert-delete; 2. Text to columns - How to actually use data from your database; 3. Streamline data by linking cells; 4. Vlookup function = how to use it in the camp world; 5. Pivot tables - This will make your reporting life easier! Laptops to practice are welcome, but not required!

Coaching your staff: Develop your staff culture with intentional coaching - Danny Herz

Join Coach Danny Herz, the dynamic speaker and Director of 6 Points Sports Academy, as he shares how he uses his coaching techniques to build the culture for staff at 6 Points. Danny will share the details of his staff development ideas that has led to dozens of former assistant coaches becoming head coaches, and dozens of former camp staff members moving on to successful leadership positions of their own. Participants will leave the session with knowledge that can be applied at their camps this summer on how to build a culture of teamwork, responsibility, accountability, and intentionality - which will help build the next generation of leaders in the camping industry.

That kid! Understanding and supporting children with challenging behaviors - Mia Klinger

Participants will discuss the unique role that camp and out-of-school time programming can fill in the life of a young person with social-emotional challenges; how to maximize opportunities for these youngsters to find success; and how to help staff members to build empathy for the skills to support some wonderful, but complicated kids.

Marketing camp to millennial parents - Sarah Kurtz McKinnon

As an industry, it has taken us years to figure out how to work with our millennial staff. Just when we got that under control, millennials started to take over a new part of our camps: they are the parents. In 2015, 82% of all births were to millennial moms. In just a year or two, these parents will be selecting summer camps for their children. Many millennial parents already are. Come find out what millennials how parent, how you can connect with them, and how you can position your camp to meet their values, wants, and needs.

Round table: Running camps on school/college campuses - Rick Mades

Does your camp operate on a school or college campus? Have you considered this due to space constraints or expansion plans? Or, are you on a school campus and you rent your space to outside entities? There are lots of things to think about with both these scenarios – logistics, space needs, contracts, communications, etc. Discussion during this session will be driven by attendee needs and interests, so come ready to share and participate!

There’s no escaping the Escape Room fad! - Todd Robbins

This session will teach you the ins and outs of the newest camp activity fad: the Escape Room! Todd has successfully implemented an Escape Room into his camp schedule - one that runs all summer long! Todd will also share special event days that he's created and executed at camp. With a background in events and years of experience as camp Program Director, Todd has looked at these activities and events from every angle, and looks forward to sharing his knowledge with you!

Practicing inclusion: Girls’ camps for a better world - Whit Ryan

We understand the challenges of integrating returning and new staff in camper communities. How do we create and sustain healthy communities of support and inclusion each summer? By nature, females want to feel included, yet at the same time they form strong social groups that necessarily exclude others. How can we help our staff and campers develop tools with which they help create one community in camps? The hope is that all community members carry these new skills with them to their school and home communities in the off-season. We begin by being empathetic, inclusive, and goal-oriented. Come to this session as we build a framework for healthy, unified communities in girls’ camps.

Camp diversity - Doug Sutherland

In some way, every camp has a certain level of diversity. It’s good to ask: “Are you comfortable with that level?” If not, what are you doing to change that level? What happens when that level changes? Camps tend to focus on the type of diversity they have at camp. Racial diversity is usually the big one because it can be the most obvious and easier to talk about in society. It can also be the easiest to deal with at camp, maybe. However, diversity at camp is multi-layered. These layers should be embraced and cherished. If your camp is a camp of openness and acceptance, adding more layers will only enhance your camp community. This session will discussion the how, why, and what if of embracing diversity in camp.

Shockingly professional talk: Smooth responses to sensitive topics - Dr. Chris Thurber

Young people are curious about everything, so they pose challenging questions to youth leaders they trust. But knowing how to respond supportively and appropriately takes finesse. Using realistic scenarios, participants will learn elegant ways to respond to youngsters’ questions about sex, drugs, religion, politics, racism, and stereotypes with respect, calm, and an open mind. Stop blushing and gain some confidence.

Friday, March 9, 2:00 - 3:15 pm, Educational Breakout Session 7

Proceed to the route: Lessons from Siri on giving feedback to Gen Z staff Kim Aycock

Most of us rely on technology to get us from point A to point B; however, there are times the advice “Siri” gives is not helpful at all. When the unyielding robotic voice mandates “proceed to the route,” what does that mean?  Equally frustrating is not knowing how to effectively communicate with this new generation of staff. Learn from Siri to mentor and redirect Gen Z staff with specific feedback that aids in successfully recalculating their route to working with campers and each other.

More down-time fun-time at camp - Jed & Roz Buck

How do you make every minute of the camp day a unique and special part of the experience?  We will explore the different times in the camp day when staff can easily transition down-time into fun-time during this interactive session.  We will build on last year’s session (newcomers and returners welcome!) and teach/play a whole new variety of creative games, activities, songs, dances, and more!  Attendees will vote live on the most important focus areas, then walk away learning a list of new activities and new ways to use known activities to keep campers safe and happy while making every minute of the summer of 2018 exceptional.

Protection of minors on campuses and campgrounds - Barbara Green-Glaz

It’s the start of the camp recruiting season and you have the perfect person to hire as a counselor.  Is this person too good to be true?  What happens when a background check tells a different story? This interactive session will offer tools and information needed for protecting campers and visiting minors in your camp programs as well as recommended guidelines for interacting with minors such as appropriate behavior practices, boundaries, and resources.

Signs of a bad leader - Donna Johns-Thomas

Just because someone has the title of "boss" or "supervisor" doesn't necessarily mean that those in their charge will respond to or respect their particular leadership style.  All supervisors struggle from time to time with issues about morale, teamwork, productivity, and corrective actions. Fear of change, lack of empathy, being wishy-washy are all among the ways well-intentioned leaders deflate the productivity and morale of their staff. Do you have any of these habits? Good news! You can turn things around! Come away with a better understanding of the intentional things effective leaders do to inspire staff to perform, achieve, and have some fun!

Managing the volunteer experience - Paul Katz

Volunteers are key to success for any non-profit. Regardless of whether they serve directly with campers, on the Board of Directors, or participate in fundraising efforts, they share common needs and desires for impact. The Manage the Volunteer Experience Toolkit was created with input from volunteers about what they need to thrive and the approaches that staff employed to help them flourish. And we learned that with a small -but focused - investment of time and energy, volunteers’ impact will dramatically increase. During this session, participants will be introduced to this model and work with a small group of others to apply it to a volunteer group they are most interested in. You’ll leave the session with the beginnings of plan you can put into play back at your camp.

Negotiation skills for camp professionals - Sarah Kurtz McKinnon

Whether securing a new food service vendor, buying a tractor, or finalizing terms of a staff contract, camp professionals negotiate all the time (and we’re not even going to talk about the negotiations you make with kids!). This session will present a framework that will enable you to come into your negotiation situation with a plan and execute it. We’ll talk about and practice seeking opportunities for mutual gain, understanding the other side’s perspective, building relationships, and making sure you don’t agree to something you did not want.

Introverts/extroverts: Do you really know your staff? - Dave Malter

When you think of the best camp staff you've ever hired, you traditionally view them as extroverts. However, what if we've been wrong all along and much of your staff are actually introverts? Wouldn't that change how you hire and develop staff training and development? This session guarantees to help you understand the real difference between introverts/extroverts, learn how to recognize those characteristics in your staff, and better serve their needs at camp.

Summer “refresh sess": How to re-energize and re-group during the mid-summer slump - Tabitha May-Tolub, Karin Firoza, Talia Fishbon, Roots & Wings

Everyone who had ever worked at a camp knows that by about week six or seven we all lose our mojo. No matter how much we love camp or our campers, we all need a mid-summer "refresh sess" to remind us why we are doing this and get us back on track. Learn unique tips for beating the mid-summer slump and strengthening mentorship skills. Explore the impact a counselor has on campers and the overall camp experience and the opportunities of diversity and youth development that might be weighing you down. This workshop with teach participants how to get themselves and their staff energized and ready to finish the summer strong.

Habits & skills for lifelong achievement: A camp application Terri Mulks

Intentional programming builds critical skills for at-risk youth with measurable outcomes. Emphasizing 11 habits and skills and character development, campers gain skills that are often lacking in this population. Come join us to get curriculum, strategies, schedules, and outcomes in an experiential session with activities, discussion, and tools to take home!  This is applicable to day and resident camps and other out-of-school time programs.

Social media – Using Facebook, Twitter, bloggers, and more to promote camp - Janet Prensky

At times, it seems like the world of marketing changes daily.  Trying to keep up with Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, blogging, LinkedIn, Google Plus and the many, many marketing tools that exist out there can be mind-numbing.  But no matter what, social media remains the most efficient and cost-effective marketing you can use.  It can be tailored for camper and staff recruitment, fundraising, general branding, or just increased visibility.  This session will take a look at using social media to get your messaging out, with a focus on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and bloggers.  It will also take a look at Facebook advertising as a low-cost way to get your camp in front of your preferred target audience.  Social media…it truly has become the marketing tool of choice…and this session will give you a good overview of what’s available.

Research 360: Findings from year 1 of the ACA's 5-year impact study - Dr. Thayer Raines

This presentation is designed for all those who have interest in research findings related to the impact of the camp experience on college and career preparedness and success. An overview of the ACA's 5-year impact study will be provided with special attention being given to findings from the year 1 data collection which occurred during the Summer of 2017. New directions and opportunities will also be shared.

Improve your staff training: Use psychological principles to gain an edge - Dr. Anthony Rao & Becky Gilles

Staff training is fast, often fun, but always stressful. Unexpected challenges arise. Knowing psychological principles gives your camp an advantage. Understand how different personalities work together, avoid information overload, and keep aware of biases that affect judgments and behaviors. Getting your staff up and running in time is key, but be thoughtful about the human factors that matter. Allow time to process the experience and get valuable feedback to help you improve your training.

What to do? Fostering appropriate behaviors in children and parents - Dr. Sarah Tannenbaum

Working with children and their parents is often fun but also comes with its own set of challenges. Knowing behavioral principles gives you an advantage during stressful moments that will inevitably arise. This session will increase your awareness of behavioral principles and then teach you concrete tools to shape the behavior of children and parents. Participants will learn how to enhance and increase the frequency of positive interactions, how to have effective communication, and how to implement consistent disciplinary strategies when needed.


Friday, March 9, 3:30 - 4:45 pm, Educational Breakout Session 8

Somewhere between fight or flight: Training staff to nurture calm 3rd option thinking Kim Aycock

Let’s face it - working at camp can be a stressful job! On top of that, more staff are coming to camp with anxiety or stress-related issues of their own which can amplify in this environment. Typical emotional responses to a stressful event or anxious situations are often limited to two-dimensions: fight or flight. Learn how imagination and nature can teach staff to explore the freedom of a 3rd option to create a new default pattern of calm thinking when stress occurs. Teach calm & camp on!

Necessary endings: How to let people go who have overstayed their welcome (and effectiveness!) - Bob Ditter

Everyone has had them: staff members who grew up and came into their own at your camp; campers who finally found a “home:” and now can’t leave! Or they may be your popular staff members who come back year after year but who aren’t giving their best to the campers. This session will give you the language and the logic to move those people to their next step in their journey—outside of camp! This session will help you identify who on your staff is worth investing in and those who are not; give you a way to introduce endings as a normal part of life; and give you the language and strategies for ending things well.

Techniques to introduce STEM into camp activities - Kristen Fenstermacher & Benjamin Rossetter

Many parents want summer camp to bolster academic achievement and offering STEM activities that align with state science standards is one way to accomplish that. This session will focus on using a stream table (a simple model that demonstrates how moving water affects sand) to teach one scientific concept and common misconception: erosion. Participants will learn how this earth science lesson can be incorporated into an existing nature program, expanded to include engineering, or used as the foundation for a new STEM program area. The lesson planning process and lesson plan template used to create this and other STEM lessons will be reviewed so participants can use it at their camps.

Decoding: Getting to the root causes of camper behavior - Emily Golinsky

Trying to manage behavior without knowing why a camper acts as they do is like having a child tell you they won’t eat the camp food, and you responding, “well, wear the green shirt tomorrow then!” Come learn how individual’s needs contribute to behaviors in group settings, and leave with a simple technique for getting to “why.” See how decoding what you see on the surface is such an essential piece of proactive and positive behavior management. You’ll have a quick, easy technique to teach staff or use yourself which will (1) accurately and empathetically address the situation in the moment, (2) prevent the behavior from reoccurring, and (3) set the camper and their staff up for success in future.

The Plurals: reframing interviewing, training, and supervision - Donna Johns-Thomas

The post-Millennial Generation, The Plurals, are people born after 1995-ish. In other words, they comprise most of our main-line staff and camper population. This unique new generation brings a new outlook on the world and very different views of authority, learning, communication, and nurturing. As workplace managers, we need to look at new ways to guide, support, and understand this group. Walk away with practical ideas for more effective relationships with your Plural Staff.

What works: A simple strategy to define and spread best practices at your camp - Paul Katz

Every summer, there are leadership challenges and opportunities that present themselves. Some years, day camp staff struggle with moving campers from one activity to the next. Other years, resident camp staff struggle with cabin clean-up or leading effective devotions/late-evening values sessions. This session introduces the “Bright Spot Analysis” approach to defining “what works” and giving staff the tools to be successful with their campers. This unique, but easy to apply strategy, has been used to create frameworks for success with the National Park Service, in agencies, with community partnerships, and in camp environments. During the session, you’ll learn the approach and participate in a demonstration of the process using a real-life camp challenge.

Top 10 camp hiring mistakes and the tools to avoid them - Sarah Kurtz McKinnon

The summer’s success is dependent on the commitment, decision-making, and abilities of the staff, so hiring and training them well is of the utmost importance. Hiring decisions are some of the most critical decisions you make. It’s also a huge process that has many pitfalls...and most of us do not have any training on how to do it well. This session will discuss common mistakes camp professionals make while hiring as well as how to avoid them – we’ve all made bad hires; this session will help you make less and less of them!

Self Determination Theory and summer camp staff: Optimal health, creativity, and basic psychological needs - Myles Lynch

Central to Self Determination Theory (SDT) is the concept of basic psychological needs that are assumed to be innate and universal. The needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness must be satisfied in order for optimal functioning across various domains (Deci & Ryan, 2000). During this session you will learn about Self Determination Theory and research related to creativity in hopes of creating more intentional staff training. This session will provide you with theoretical knowledge in hopes of re-framing your conception of staff training.

Round table: At-risk youth in camp Terri Mulks

This session is an opportunity for camp professionals to share best practices, rewards, challenges, tricks of the trade, and more with a specific emphasis on an at-risk population. Come exchange curriculum, program, and ideas in an engaging discussion and brainstorm format.

Sticky situations! Are you really ready? - Bob Rojee

This interactive workshop will help you prepare for all the potential “what ifs” that we as camp leaders must be prepared for. You will leave this workshop more prepared to tackle all the potential sticky situations you may face this summer. We will role play scenarios that could potentially happen at camp this summer and we will talk about policies, procedures, training, and other factors that will add to the success of handling these situations. We will also discuss how certain people in our communities may react to these situations and how a proactive approach may influence these outcomes.

Working with seasonal staff year-round: How to get the most from your team - Ed Szeman & Zac Broomfield 

Engaging and developing a high quality seasonal-staff can be the difference between an average summer and the best summer ever! During our busiest seasons, we rely heavily on the passion, vision, skill, and teamwork of motivated young leaders to accomplish daily tasks facing us. However, when September rolls around, many camps find ourselves regressing to an army of one (or two). Why? Are we reaching out to our most creative staff for their ideas and support? Are we connecting to motivate and mentor? Or are we going it alone?  

In this session, we will talk about the value of keeping your team engaged year-round, the benefits to your program, your to-do list and—most importantly—the benefits for your staff! Together we’ll talk about reimagining our relationship with seasonal staff, turning a three-month development obligation into a year-round opportunity. We will share and explore experiences with staff engagement, empowerment, and coaching. And we'll look at how to apply concrete ideas and the philosophy of creating a sustainable relationship between seasonal staff and camp to help prepare our young staff members for future opportunities at camp and beyond!

Comprehensive abuse prevention: Ten powerful ways to safeguard campers and staff - Dr. Chris Thurber

Prevent harm and avoid litigation with a sophisticated approach to camper-camper and staff-camper mistreatment. Reading your staff the riot act or a litany of symptoms does little to cultivate healthy relationships or promote a true understanding of reporting obligations. Only a customized, wrap-around approach to abuse prevention that includes parents, campers, and staff under the same respectful umbrella will bring you peace of mind. Remember, it’s not just preventing the bad, it’s also about promoting the good.

Designing effective staff training to support camper mental health - Elise Wulff

Whether or not your camp currently serves individuals with disclosed special needs or those who are typically developing, all campers deserve the benefit of the best care in their mental and physical health. While most camp programs go to extreme lengths comply with health and safety regulations that protect the well-being of our campers, it is not often the case that a program goes to the same lengths to provide effective staff training around how to best support campers in their mental health, social relationships, stress management, and self-awareness. More specifically, most strategies for managing these concerns are reactive, rather than proactive. During this session, Elise will provide an overview of current mental health models that your programs can consider to support camper needs; helpful hints to allow you to run effective staff trainings, across all levels of staff experience; and specific exercises and activities to build staff self-awareness and empathy for neurodiversity in your camp setting.


Saturday, March 10, 9:30 - 10:45 am, Educational Breakout Session 9

Make it stick! Activities to make all of your trainings more fun and impactful - Jed and Roz Buck

Do you find your staff members are not involved in training sessions?  Do you want to engage them in the material?  Experiential learning helps make any training more fun and impactful.  This session will provide a variety of tools that can be used as openers, energizers, reinforcers, and powerful learning tools to maximize the impact of any training session.

Organizing arts and crap…er, craft supplies - Susan Caplan McCarthy

Do you know what supplies you have in your arts and craft room or closet? Do you waste money on materials you later discover you had? Do you accept donations of things like cardboard tubes, yogurt cups, and items that people label "for crafts" even though you have no clue what crafts could possibly involve these items? Techniques that you'd use to organize your home don't always transfer to a camp setting because so many people are using the supplies. Learn how to declutter what you have and organize it. Also, is it possible to maintain organization during the camp season or should you just plan on chaos? Take home a plan to tackle the clutter at camp. And, learn the two craft projects that will use even the strangest donated supplies!

Risk management for aquatic leadership staff - Bailey Dailey

Are you supplying aquatic staff with the knowledge and tools they needed to be successful in risk management? Being in the aquatic world, I don’t have to tell you that it can be one of the most complex areas in your camp.  Learn about the steps you can take as a leadership staff member to provide staff with the knowledge, tools, and training they need to be able to evaluate risk and handle risk management - from training to executing Emergency Action Plans to evaluating and stopping possible risky behaviors. Is isn’t about telling staff how to handle risk management, it about teaching them to use the knowledge and tools they have.

Teaching through play: Making games educational - Zach D'Arbeloff

Have you wanted more out of Rocks, Paper, Scissors? Are you the type of person that turns tag games into a physiology lesson? Harness the power of your inner teacher as you learn how to utilize the experiential learning cycle and implement it into your normal regiment of games and activities. Even the most wacky and mundane game can be used to teach! In this session we will learn tips and tricks to alter existing games to make them educational, as well as play a few that you can keep in your back pocket. This will be an active session filled with movement.

Radical candor-How to give staff clear feedback without losing your humanity! - Bob Ditter

As camp professionals, our number one responsibility with staff may well be giving them guidance —guidance about how to walk the line between friend and authority, how to keep that ever-elusive balance between exhilarating fun and danger, and giving their all while taking care of themselves. Yet, no one really enjoys giving critical feedback to staff! In this powerful session Bob will give us a clear and insightful, yet highly practical approach to guiding our staff. Starting with orientation and throughout your season you will use these skills and techniques over and over. This session will make you a better camp director!

50 magical camp marketing ideas - Sarah Kurtz McKinnon

Stuck in a rut with your camp’s promotions? Paid social media advertising just not cutting it for you? This session will blast through 50 of the best unique ideas for marketing camp - many of them free and/or with a minimal time requirement. Marketing should excite you just as much as it should excite your potential clients - and this session will provide the inspiration to get you going!

Grit: Can we help campers and staff develop passion and perseverance? - Sarah Leshay & Jess Woods

Grit. It's defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. It's about resiliency and the ability to push forward, even when things are hard. It's what we want to see our campers and staff develop. But how do we help support that at camp? Can you raise a "gritty" kid? Can 8 weeks (or even 1 week) out of 52 really make an impact? Whether you've read Angela Duckworth's book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance or want to share your personal experiences, we invite you to join us for a lively discussion about grit. We'll get the conversation started and see where we go from there.

Get everyone in meetings moving: 14 ways to add movement to make your meetings more engaging - Steve Maguire

Multiple brain researchers have confirmed that movement, even in the smallest setting, helps with brain/idea creativity. Join Steve for this session that will give you many ideas to and methods for incorporating movement into any setting help your staff become their best creative selves.

Economically disadvantaged campers are worth the investment Terri Mulks

Teaching acceptance, spreading joy, providing opportunity, and building critical habits and skills are all accomplished when you open your doors to this at-risk population. How do you recruit, fundraise, and program for economically disadvantaged campers?  What are the rewards, benefits, and challenges of serving the underserved?  Join us for a discussion, sharing time, tips, tools, and best practices as you continue to welcome or consider welcoming economically disadvantaged campers into your programs.

Keep calm and camp on: The application of mindfulness to help manage anxiety at camp - Dr. Lauren Stern

In this workshop, Dr. Stern will review several types of anxiety disorders, describe the common thought processes and behaviors that accompany them, and teach participants coping strategies that can be implemented to increase campers’ well-being. Mindfulness training, or the act of staying present in the moment, is a particularly effective technique that has been shown to help regulate emotions, relieve stress, diminish anxiety, increase attention span, improve empathy, and promote positive behavior. Participants will see how mindfulness practices can be incorporated into camp life and demonstrate how it, along with other behavioral and coping strategies, can help make Summer 2018 calm and mind-full of fun for campers and staff.

Endangered masculinity: Panel discussion - Dr. Chris Thurber

What is the definition of a 21st-century boy…and what kind of guys are they trying to become? In an age of gender fluidity and enhanced inclusiveness, what is uniquely male? Most important: how can male and female youth leaders nurture good boys into great men? Psychologist and author Dr. Chris Thurber will pose these and other challenging questions to a diverse panel of adolescents and adults in an effort to extract practical answers and inspire fresh thinking. Our boys have sidestepped the Boy Code and escaped from the Man Box. Now it’s time to find out where they are headed.

Round table: Small, independent camps - Darcey Wijsenbeek & Devri Byrom

Are you a small, independent summer camp with no parent organization? Come gather for round table discussions with other camps like you! We will share ideas and challenges that are unique to independently run camps in New England. We will break into round table topics based on the ACA Standards, or bring our own topics to discuss - we will see what the group decides. The goal will be to create connections for each other and brainstorm ways that ACANE can offer our camps support into the future.


Saturday, March 10, 11:00 am - 12:15 pm, Educational Breakout Session 10

“Can You Hear Me Now?” Working Effectively with Parents - Bob Ditter

Most parents want what’s best for their kids. Then, when their child is in distress, they stop thinking! Come share your stories of challenge (and success!) with parents and learn some of the tools and phrases that actually work! Bob will share critical communication skills and give us a template for responding to parents of all persuasions. Bob will also give us tips on the kinds of communications that strengthen our alliance with parents as well as share resources for parent—like the best book for parents on boys, ADHD and simple but powerful communication tips. This is a resource rich session!

Round table: Leadership Campers: To dos and don'ts  - Jess Ferronetti & Brenna Woods

Come talk about leadership with us! Tell us what you do and how you do it. We specialize in Program Aides, Day Camp Assistants, and Counselors-in-Training. Want to make a change to your program? Looking for new ideas? Come hear how other camps work! This is an open discussion for people who are looking to strengthen their leadership programs and grow their campers into strong future staff members. Also, Jess & Brenna will be bringing cookies. Come for the fun!

Getting unstuck – Powerful behavior management strategies for staff - Emily Golinsky, Jamie Ingram, & Joe McAshee

Behavior, shmeehavior! You’ve got this! You get down on Sam’s level, make eye contact, radiate compassion and competence, and do and say all the things you’ve been taught. So why is Sam refusing to move and getting MORE upset? What are you supposed to do now?! Come watch an experienced behavior management leadership team role-play your nightmare behavior scenarios, then learn and practice their powerful strategies! When you leave this session, you’ll be confident and ready to get Sam unstuck and help in plenty of other sticky situations. (This session is designed for front-line staff and anyone who is responsible for training staff to positively and successfully manage challenging camper behaviors.)

We rock! - Jen Hargrave

Come create radical rock creations, by painting, stacking, entwining, and designing rock art. We'll try out several creations, all supplies provided. Leave with up to 10 ideas of different crafts you can do with all different sizes and shapes of rocks.

15 ideas for improving the teaching skills of summer camp staff - Steve Maguire

How prepared is your staff when campers arrive at their program area? What does their plan look like? What do the outcomes look like? How engaged are campers and staff? Come join master teacher and professional speaker Steve Maguire for this brand new interactive session that will give you and your staff some great ideas to help staff keep campers engaged for a full activity period, help teach staff how to plan for any and all activities, and provide a great foundation for your programming staff to always be prepared.

Building a successful team: 7 Foundational elements to make your organization high functioning, profitable, and desirable Dave Malter

This session promises to help you identify the speed bumps to hiring a successful, lasting team, and learn how to avoid them on the road to building a successful and thriving organization. You will walk away with 7 actionable steps to improve and simplify your hiring process so you are not sacrificing quality for quantity. 

Camp safety and emergency action plans - Bryan Martineau

This session covers various terms, emergency situations, and techniques to enable camp directors and staff members to effectively implement the Emergency Action Plan during non-fire emergency situations.

Directors caring for staff caring for kids - Noel Pardo, Allison Hoefener, Mark Mirasol, Sean Lamoureux, Lauren McDermott, & Madeline Surgenor

As a director, it is your job to help your staff become their best selves. In turn, you have expectations for your staff to lead by example, facilitate programming, care for children and their safety, and help youth become their best selves. This session will speak to current and generational challenges faced by a wide range of potential staff and some areas where their life experiences to-date may not have prepared them for the challenges to come. Core discussion will revolve around strategies to create opportunity within your everyday program and off-season to encourage growth among staff. Staff who are engaged, challenged, and whose strengths are visible and encouraged will value the program, and in turn, add that value where it counts most - with the kids.

Overcoming the mid-summer slump - Rob Riley

As the summer progresses, sometimes the energy that was there on the first day of camp is nowhere to be found. In this session, we will explore where those slumps occur, look at the why behind them, and discuss strategies to avoid them. Participants will walk away with creative ideas to motivate staff and keep the programming at the same high energy it was on the first day of camp.

Islands – Incorporating multiple team building activities in a camp setting - Doug Sutherland

Have you ever tried to untie a knot while crossing a chocolate river blindfolded? How about guiding a blindfolded person along a twisting path while balancing nails? Believe it or not, if you work in a camp setting, you have done this before. Most team building activities address certain specific aspects of team development. This highly interactive session is designed to see the point of view of other people, question your involvement in the success of the task, and evaluate the direction of your group. This session will incorporate multiple activities designed to highlight those specific aspects of development. 

How to stop misbehavior with wooden boards - Dr. Chris Thurber

Think camper misbehavior is the result of poor parenting, psychopathology, or an under-trained staff? It could be, but boredom is a more likely cause. So rather than dialing up discipline, try tapping into kids’ natural creativity. By analyzing a real case study—replacing kit-based crafts with traditional woodworking—participants will discover what it takes for an activity to keep campers focused, compliant, and enthusiastic. Best of all, woodworking with hand tools uses no electricity, upcycles wood scraps, and puts your camp’s mission into action.

A digital coming of age - Dr. Jill Walsh

Social media creates many opportunities and challenges for adolescents. The same is true for educators who are tasked with helping guide them through adolescence in a mediated world. We cannot pretend that social media does not impact the teens we work with, but in what ways and to what effects? And why are they always on their phones? Dr. Walsh's session will outline the landscape of teen social media use to explain why teens are so drawn to the digital space. Using examples from her research, she will discuss the good, the bad, and the just plain confusing in their social media experiences.

Responding to mental illness in campers - Lauren Wilkins

As rates of untreated mental illness and suicide rise in youth, camps are training their staff to proactively support the mental health of campers and respond to mental health crises. According to recent research, 92.5% of camp counselors saw a camper struggling with a mental illness and over 90% believe they missed warning signs. Review LEAD’s research, learn how mental illness affects the youth you serve, and become empowered to promote the mental health of your campers, staff, and self.


Saturday, March 10, 1:30 - 3:15 pm, Expanded Workshop 11

Science & nature programs, learned better - Melissa Hansen & Erin Kelly

Better Environmental Education Teaching, Learning, and Expertise Sharing (BEETLES) is a professional learning resource designed by the University of California’s Lawrence Hall of Science. The goal is to infuse environmental education programs with research-based approaches to science teaching and learning, and to provide instructors with useful tools to continually improve their programs. Each session includes activities for participants to experience and understand key concepts, as well as effective activities for teaching program participants of all ages. Administrators and Counselors will be able to apply this learning to their nature and science program design at camp this summer.

Hail! Hail! The gang’s all here! : Camp as a perfect setting to promote diversity & inclusion - Carlos Hoyt

This workshop will provide an overview of the state of theory and practice regarding diversity and how camps should and can be explicit in fostering and celebrating the ideals of inclusion, equity, empathy, and connection across social differences.

Camp is a natural setting in which to bring people (campers and counselors) from all walks of life together in ways that transcend the barriers and boundaries often encountered in society when folks from different social identity categories interface. By gaining a grasp of key concepts in this crucial area of child development, camp staff will be well-equipped to create a camp culture that emphasizes peace, compassion, equality, and fun.

Participants will be introduced to methods of counselor training, camper orientation, and camp programming that seamlessly integrate respect for differences and inclusivity into the day-to-day fun of camp.

NOT the way you have always done it: Making staff training year round for yourself, your staff and your camp - Sarah Kurtz McKinnon & Steve Maguire

Come join professional staff trainers and consultants Sarah Kurtz McKinnon and Steve Maguire, M.Ed. as they team together for this highly interactive, engaging and memorable session!  This session is a perfect fit for emerging camp professionals looking to unlock their potential in the professional camp space as well as the experienced veteran ready to take their game to the next level.  We will focus on tools you can use in year-long professional development, preventing burnout, and generating new ideas to make you your best camp self.

The unplugged teen: A Camp reality or the Yeti? - Dr. Jill Walsh

In this session, Dr. Walsh will focus on the role the camp experience can play in helping teens develop healthy boundaries around technology use. In 2018 it is likely that overnight camp is the only space where campers and counselors are truly technology free for a considerable amount of time. This offers tremendous long-term opportunities as well as some short-term discomforts for campers and counselors. This may also be a challenge for parents and guardians who are used to being in constant communication with their children during the rest of the year. Dr. Walsh will offer practical tips for navigating all three constituents; in particular, she will focus on ways to talk about the positive aspects of unplugging without boring lectures!

Foster LEADership & Wellness in Your Campers! - Lauren Wilkins

The words, "leader" and "wellness" get thrown around aimlessly in youth-serving organizations, but what do they actually mean?  More importantly, how can these topics be incorporated into daily camp activities to foster the social, physical, emotional, and mental health of campers, staff, and administrators? In this workshop, Lauren Wilkins, Vice President of Let's Empower, Advocate, and Do, Inc. (LEAD) empowers participants to model leadership skills and mental wellness to campers, forming life-long habits and sustainable behavior changes among campers suffering from mental illness. Learn tools and strategies to facilitate leadership, self-care practices, and self-advocacy skills among campers of all ages. Furthermore, Lauren fosters the personal and professional growth of participants, inspiring them to become active changemakers, social entrepreneurs and advocates for mental wellness in their camp community.