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

Post-Summer Letter from the President

August 29, 2020

Wow, 2020…not the year we were all expecting when the clock struck midnight on January 1st.  In January, we were coming into the final stages of the strategic planning process, searching for a new Executive Director to replace a New England institution, Bette Bussel, and preparing for the 99th annual New England Camp Conference.

In March, our Association changed on a dime to meet the needs of camps and the moment. The Conference moved to virtual in under three weeks, and Bette and her team set to work supporting camps, and all six states, to advocate for the opening of the camping industry.

Now, here we are at the end of August, still so many questions and unknowns, and yet, ACA, New England has not stopped working for you.  The staff are meeting bi-weekly with all the state association presidents and crafting a regionwide plan to get states to release guidance for 2021 far earlier, and embark on a campaign so parents and lawmakers understand the importance of the camp experience for children and the economy.

If working to support the industry wasn’t enough, we are also in a momentous time for the Association.  Bette’s last day as the Executive Director was August 28th.  2 months shy of 30 years at the helm, she is retiring.  We express our gratitude for her leadership and guidance for 30 years, and especially in these last 6 months. Pleas know, there will be a few opportunities to celebrate Bette over the next 9-12 months, and an opportunity to honor her legacy.

Monday, August 31st is Michele Rowcliffe’s first official day as our Executive Director. However, Michele has been working with Bette for the last 2 months to start meeting people and understanding the ACA, New England landscape. She is ready lead us through what is sure to be a hard year with insight and dedication.

Camp will continue in 2021 stronger than ever; because we put children first, and families understand the importance of the experience children receive in our programs.  And let’s not forget that we will celebrate our 100th conference!  It’s the longest running camp conference in the country from the region that gave birth to the industry. And we’re confident it’s New England cams that will lead the industry into this next chapter with strength.

Please reach out to us if you need anything.  The role of ACA, New England is to support our industry, and we know that there is a great need for that this year.

Betsy Kelder
Board President
American Camp Association, New England



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