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Recap of our 96th Annual Conference!


96th Annual ACA New England Conference

We had such a fantastic time in Manchester, NH!
 ACA New England welcomed well over 800 Camp Professionals from March 30th to April 1st. 

To check out our Conference Award Winners click here!

To view photos from the week click here and here!

To see our all of the wonderful businesses in our Expo Hall, click here.
To see more information about our vendors, visit our virtual Camp Expo.

Thanks again everyone for making this year's conference the best yet!
We wish you all the best of luck for your summer camp season!

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View our 2017 Guide to Summer Camp!


ACA New England's Online Guide to Summer Camp

View our 2017 Summer Camp Guide below to see an organized listing of all ACA New England camps. You'll find camp descriptions, session lengths, age ranges, contact information, and more for each camp. In addition, the Guide contains useful information and advice for use in your camp search.

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Conference Registration is OPEN!


The Annual Conference is a chance for New England camp professionals to share knowledge and experience that ensures the quality of camp programs. Featuring over 35 speakers, 80 educational sessions and hosting 800+ attendees, our conference is a perfect way to network & plan for summer!  

96th Annual Conference Dates:  
Wednesday, March 29 - Saturday, April 1, 2017


*If you have any issues registering, please contact our office at (781) 541-6080.*

Michael Brandwein
2017 Keynote Speaker

Michael Brandwein ( has presented in all fifty states and on six continents. He’s the number one bestselling author in the camp field: Training Terrific Staff (Volumes 1 & 2), Super Staff SuperVision, Learning Leadership: How to Develop Outstanding Teen Training Programs at Camp, and Skill of the Day: What Great Leaders of Young People Do & Say. Michael has presented three Emmy® award-winning TV programs on working with children. A frequent national keynoter and staff trainer for individual camps, schools, and organizations, he is a former ACA national board member and has won two national awards from ACA. He’s also received the Peter Kerns Award for Advancement of Professional Development in Camps. Michael’s Juris Doctor Degree is from the University of Chicago. He and his wife Donna have two sons, Dave and Ben.

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Position Open at ACA New England!


ACA New England currently has an open position for: 

Director of Development & Communications

Responsible for ACA New England’s communications, marketing, media and fund development efforts. Articulates ACA New England’s mission and vision; advances our key messages, and promotes our brand to internal and external constituents including Members, ACA Accredited camps, all New England camp professionals, supporters, partners, donors and funders. Advances fundraising, sponsorship and financial support campaigns.


Key Responsibilities:


  • Work with the Executive Director to develop and implement a strategic approach to fundraising that is aligned with ACA New England’s business plan and goals:
    • Events
    • Sponsorships
    • Appeals
    • Stewardship
    • Organize fund development activities
    • Monitor fund development activities to ensure goals are being met
    • Provide support for ACA New England volunteers and staff to carry out the development plan
    • Research and develop proposals requesting foundation and corporate support
    • Collaborate with Education Director to secure sponsorships and in-kind donations for the annual conference and education programs


  • Develop and implement an annual communications and marketing plan that is aligned with ACA New England’s business plan and goals
  • Responsible for all ACA New England print, online and electronic communications including:
    • Directing and managing the ACA New England brand
    • Ensuring appropriate messaging to diverse audiences
    • Overseeing branding of all ACA New England collateral materials and collaborating with other staff and volunteers as appropriate
    • Supervising ACA New England website development and maintenance
    • Overseeing all social media
  • Work with staff to initiate and promote media coverage of ACA New England
  • Curate content for use across all communications platforms
  • Provide support for ACA New England volunteers to further communications initiatives
  • Coordinate outreach efforts that increase visibility for ACA New England, Members and ACA Accredited camps

 Required Knowledge, Skills and Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required or equivalent
  • Increasing responsibility in development and marketing with a track record for results
  • Demonstrated communications and marketing experience
  • Demonstrated relationship building, fundraising and stewardship experience
  • Proven successful supervisory and administrative experience
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • High level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to analyze fund development data and create reports
  • Experience working in a creative, collaborative team environment with experience directing and supervising others, as well as managing consultants
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and work effectively with staff and volunteers
  • Experience in delivering messages to diverse constituents across a variety of platforms
  • Prior social media and website experience
  • Proficiency on a PC including Microsoft Office Products; Mac proficiency a plus
  • Preferred competency in: Adobe Design Premium Products (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.), Adobe Acrobat Pro, CRM database

The successful candidate will work well with others, have a sense of humor and an interest in improving the lives of children and families through the camp experience.

Preferred starting date is Jan/Feb 2017.  Please submit cover letter, resume and salary requirements by January 6, 2017 to Bette Bussel, Executive Director at or ACA New England, 80 Westview Street, Lexington, MA, 02421.

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Now Taking Conference Session Proposals


Whether you’re a seasoned presenter at professional conferences and at your camp or whether this will be your first presentation ever, there’s an audience for you at the 2016 ACA New England Conference!

Program/Session Proposals are being reviewed and accepted now. We invite you to submit yours!

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Camp Champions in Boston Magazine


 "The American Camp Association, New England (ACA New England) recently hosted its 6th Annual Camp Champions Celebration to recognize several campers who have received the gift of camp (camperships) through previous Camp Champions fundraising events. The celebration raises funds for ACA New England’s Campership Fund, which helps send children in need to camp." Read More

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Fall Seminar 2016


Comprehensive Abuse Prevention: Ten Ways to Safeguard Campers and Staff
presented by Dr. Christopher Thurber

Lessons Learned from the ACA Camp Crisis Hotline
presented by Donna Johns-Thomas

When:    Friday, October 28, 2016 

Where:   Cedar Hill - Great Hall, 
265 Beaver St
Waltham, MA 02452  
Details: $70 Member/$95 Non-Member; lunch provided. 



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Bette Bussel quoted in 'Psychology Today' blog


#thestruggleisreal Summer Learning Without Technology by Stephen Gray Wallace: Bette Bussel, Executive Director of the American Camp Association, New England, told me, “When campers unplug from technology, there are often two major advantages. One comes from the power of real face-to-face interaction, the other from the chance to move and be active. By engaging with other children and counselors in person, campers build the communication and collaboration skills that will prove useful if not invaluable after camp, in college and in adult life. Campers naturally become more physically active without screens to watch or to use for social media. Camp is not a sedentary place.” She elaborated, “Summer camps create unique opportunities for engagement that are not available back home or at school. The absence of technology has quite a bit to do with setting up those life-changing opportunities.”  

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ACA Accredited Camps and Members in the News


Take 10: Seaside camp is a family affair: For Executive Director Nancy Garran, “camp,” as she calls the entire experience, is a place to “take risks and try things you’ve never done before.”

It’s also a family affair.

Founded by her grandfather, Robert Delahanty, nearly 95 years ago, camp is where she met her husband, David Peterson, and where they were married. Their two sons also met their wives and were married at camp. 

Today, they all work together and the family has grown to include five grandchildren under the age of 3. Garran also considers her staff — some of whom started as campers decades ago — and the children under her care as an extension of her family.

“Carrying on the legacy of what my grandfather started is a privilege,” she said. “I’m very blessed to have my family all around me.”

Staying afloat: Private-camp lifeguards resuscitate swim program: Every Child A Swimmer, run by the Raymond Recreation Association at Crescent Lake, has provided affordable swim lessons to area children for nearly five decades. But this year, the program’s mission faced a difficult challenge when organizers couldn’t secure a lifeguard.

The solution, as envisioned by Pat Smith, former president of the rec association, with help from three of Raymond’s private summer camps, was to borrow a lifeguard from a local summer camp every day of the program.

Smith said she recognized in late May there was a real threat to the program, and called some of the area camps to see if they had ideas about how to find a lifeguard.

“Linda Suitor, director at Camp Timanous, suggested that ‘if every camp donates a guard, we can make this work,’” Smith said. “I was intrigued by the idea and her enthusiasm.”

That was approximately two weeks before the program’s June 27 start date, she said. One week before the lessons were scheduled to start with instructor Pam Synk, camps Agawam and Kingsley Pines had also agreed to supply a lifeguard and a schedule for coverage was pieced together.

Tabor's new sunscreen dispensers help fight melanoma: The school recently received two sunscreen dispensers through the Melanoma Foundation of New England’s Practice Safe Skin program.

“All of our counselors carry sunscreen, we ask that our campers carry sunscreen, but to have them in places where they can use in passing is key," said Tabor Academy Summer Program Director Bobbi Krein.

According to the foundation, the number of people diagnosed with melanoma is rising faster than any other cancer, with one person dying from the disease every 50 minutes. To reduce the risk, this year, the Practice Safe Skin program expanded to 54 new locations in 12 states, totaling 190 new dispensers.

“We hope sunscreen dispensers will become as commonplace as hand sanitizers over the next few years,”said MFNE Executive Director Deb Girard

An oasis from the violence and hardships of the streets: “I love the fact that this program exists and that the Boston police recognize that there are children here that need this escape,” Lopes said, her voice growing thick with tears. “This is not just an opportunity for my son to get out and play. This is an opportunity for the Boston police to help me, as a single mother, raise my son and save my son.”

This year, the police-YMCA partnership, underwritten by donors, has enabled 75 children to attend camp, usually for two or three weeks each — time they would otherwise spend in sometimes toxic environments they can now escape.

As police-community relations across the country are put to the test, following police-involved shootings in several cities and the targeted killings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., Boston police and YMCA officials said they hope children will learn officers are their friends.

Maine camp for Mideast peace shifts focus to divided U.S.: “People are coming to the realization that this stuff doesn’t just happen all over the other side of the world. It’s happening here,” said 17-year-old camper Matt Suslovic of Portland.

Executive Director Leslie Lewin said the goal is to tackle deep-seated racism, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiment, socioeconomic issues, gender discrimination and LGBT issues through the sharing of personal stories and discussion.

That sounds like a tall order. But camp officials say their formula of dialogue has worked since 1993, when Seeds of Peace first brought together Israeli and Palestinian teenagers.





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Eleanor P. Eells Award


Each year, ACA's Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence recognizes camps that epitomize the award's namesake by developing exemplary programming that effectively and creatively responds to the needs of people and society through the camp experience. We celebrate the 2016 winners. They are all powerful examples of programs actively seeking to unlock the potential of the campers they serve by building the self-esteem, belief in themselves, and skills needed to let their inner lights shine.

Two New England programs received the ACA's Eleanor P. Eells Award for 2016  one of which being our very own Camp Champions!

"It's inspirational to know that the collective efforts of campers, counselors, camp professionals and staff, business and camp sponsors, donors, allied professionals, and members of the community at large can make such a huge difference for more than 200 children a summer, and that the boost in visibility that comes from honoring Camp Champions actually honors the profession in a wonderful way in the media and on social media," –Lucy Norvell, Director of Development & Communications

Click here to read more about all of the great programs honored this year!

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