Click here for the February 4, 2014 eCommunicate online Newsletter. Download the print edition here.

Happy New Year! I hope 2014 is off to a great start for you. Here at ACA New England there’s a lot happening. Everyone’s thinking camp—we’re already focused on ramping up for the summer of 2014.  

Plans for our 93rd Annual Conference are nearly final; and I hope you will check out what’s happening this year. Greg Jutkiewicz (Concord Academy Summer Camp, Concord, MA) has led the Conference Committee volunteers in pulling together a conference like no other, designed to inspire, educate and motivate New England camp professionals and staff members. A conference experience—a conference adventure—awaits you and your camp team and camp friends. I think you’ll find the changes and enhancements both fun and positive. I hope to see you in Manchester at the end of March!

We’re also focusing on additional ways to support Members. A planning task force is focusing on the future direction of ACA New England with a key group of volunteers including our president, Nat Saltonstall (Beaver Summer Programs, Chestnut Hill, MA) and president elect, Steve Sudduth (Wyonegonic Camps, Denmark, ME), and outside consultants. And the Membership Committee, under the leadership of Betsy Kelder (Belmont Summer, Belmont, MA), is busy re-thinking and re-inventing some of the ways we support Members. Our Standards Committee, under the leadership of Danita Ballantyne (YMCA Camp Watchaug, Westerly, RI) continues to be busy organizing the Accreditation Visits that will begin to happen in five short months. Ian Moorhouse (Dexter Southfield School, Brookline, MA) chairs a brand new Professional Development and Education Committee that is looking at all kinds of new educational opportunities and offerings for you in 2014—so stay tuned.

We’re encouraging families and the public to think camp too. Camp seekers are busy navigating camp fairs and the complexities of camp search. We’re helping by providing New England’s media outlets with editorial content about why every child deserves a camp experience. And we’re busy making sure that people know how to find a camp, encouraging them to access the ACA’s online Find A Camp tool and our own Guide to Summer Camp in New England. If you haven’t entered your Find A Camp info or updated your Guide listing, please do it now!

Visibility of New England’s summer camp world and our unique role in children’s learning and in their lives has begun to increase. As you heard in December, the Third Camp Champions Celebration did quite a bit to raise the visibility of both our regional nonprofit and our profession. We continue to reach out to the media to encourage them to shine the spotlight on New England’s camps. Recently we’ve been in touch with media outlets New England-wide to share camp content and camp enthusiasm. Some of the publications are small and local, while others have huge regional reach like The Boston Globe Magazine, which is devoting editorial and advertising space to camp in its March 2nd Parenting Edition.

There’s never been a better time to get involved with ACA New England as a volunteer. We are looking for additional members of a number of committees and task forces. Please think about it and contact Donna Johns-Thomas for additional information about how your skills could help!

I also want to warmly welcome two talented new staff members. Jiné Andreozzi, Communications & Marketing Coordinator, joined us in mid-October and Jamie Davis-Ponce, Finance & Operations Manager, began in early January. Read about Jamie and Jiné in the article in this edition of eCommunicate and please say hello to them the next time you call us or, better yet, welcome them in person at the Conference!

2014 is off to a quite a start! I send my best to you and to your camp family as you’re in the thick of all the exciting recruitment, provisioning, prepping, and training. 

Bette Bussel
Executive Director
American Camp Association, New England