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As a leading authority for summer camps and youth development, ACA works to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience.

A Message from Betsy Kelder, Our New Board President

April 6, 2020

There are lots of things that usually happen at any given time of year. This year, it feels like most of the things that usually happen in the spring, aren’t happening. But one really important marker for the camp community DID happen, the 99th New England Camp Conference. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made this important event into a new experience, and maintained the high quality of education, the warm feeling of community and just the boost of camp people coming together that so many of us needed and wanted. The staff at ACA New England and the volunteer Program Committee worked to move the whole conference virtual in just a few weeks and it was a success!

As Shannon mentioned in her last message to our community, this isn’t what we all expected for our March, and I hope, like me, you found what you needed: ideas, community, fun and support. For me, the conference was a key step in the journey of navigating in the face of uncertainty. There is no one I would rather at my side (6 feet away, of course) during this than a camp person. We manage risk, have seen so many once in a lifetime things, and have lead our camps and communities through them.  I’m honored to be able to stand by your side as the new President of the Board of ACA New England. Thank you for entrusting me with this responsibility.

As the global pandemic unfolds we will all find moments when what wasn’t what we expected is disappointing for us. I think it’s okay to acknowledge these disappointments, and, if we can, figure out what we’ve gained instead. For me, one of these came in not being able to have our annual meeting at the Friday night banquet at the conference. It was supposed to be the moment when we were able to acknowledge and appreciate Shannon for her amazing leadership over the last three years. We were going to be able to START celebrating our amazing Executive Director, Bette as she prepares to step down after 30 years. We were going to be able to update you on all the hard work the staff and board are engaged in: strategic planning, our search for a new executive director, and more. So, what have we gained? OPPORTUNITY; permission to try things that have never been done because circumstances require it. You will hear from us over the next few months

We all know that these are unique, challenging, uncertain…(insert whatever words you are using)…times for our families, communities, camps, schools, and world. We all know that what we need now is a summer of community. What we don’t know is if we will be able to provide that. ACA New England is here to help support you, your camps and your communities. Please reach out! The staff, board and other members can be thoughts partners with you as you plan. We can share information and ideas; we can support each other as we are faced with hard decisions; we spread great ideas.

Betsy Kelder
Board President – American Camp Association, New England

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