News & Blog

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

From what I hear…

September 25, 2021

Over the last few weeks, we’ve participated in numerous phone calls, emails and Zoom conversations. It’s evident we are all in different places with regards to processing the summer. However, there’ve been two consistent themes across almost every one of these chats.

1) Rediscovering your why: More than one camp pro mentioned that they questioned camping this summer. I don’t mean they questioned whether to run their camps (although that was a decision), but rather some were questioning whether to run camp again. Like, ever. Why do we endure these highs, lows, and pressure?

For some, it’s an excuse to get away for the summer. For others, they enjoy mentoring young staff. We all are in this for the campers, but beyond that, each and every one of committed to camping for a reason. Finding that and reconnecting with that has helped many process what we’ve just endured and prepare to turn the page. They viewed this summer as an opportunity instead of challenge and dove back into a purpose-driven approach to the off-season.

2) Camp marches on: Camping isn’t a location. It’s an experience, and since 1865, summers in New England have been layered with stories and experiences that create friends, lessons, and memories no amount of time or distance can erase. Camping creates opportunity for safe risk, and it exposes children, young adults, and more than a few older adults to new people and places. It’s a simple recipe for adventure and success. Perhaps that’s why camp has endured World Wars, pandemics (too soon?), depressions and more than one rainy day.

There’s a lot of uncertainty ahead. As you navigate the next few days, weeks, and months, know that you’re not alone. New England camping is full of phenomenal people, and we’ve shown over the last 150+ years that there’s nothing we collectively can’t conquer.

Please continue to be there for one another, and know we will always be here for you.

As always, should you ever have questions, information, requests, etc. or you just want to chat camp, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Michael ‘Bud’ Copeland, Director of Membership & Engagement

Bud manages our membership rolls, works directly with members and camps on renewals and growth opportunities, and oversees communications and engagement for our office.

Originally from Florida, Bud worked for Alachua County Public Schools as a teacher and dean. He spent 10 summers at Camp Laurel South in Maine and joined them for three more years as full-time Director of Operations. Prior to joining ACA, New England, Bud worked for Pearson Education. He holds an M.A. in Political Science, Public Affairs from the University of Florida and a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Georgia.

When not working with camps, Bud enjoys golf, reading, camping, watching sports, running, and traveling with his wife, Alyson and their dog, Miller.

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