STEM is Everywhere: Encouraging a Culture of Inquiry to Combat Summer Learning Loss

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is a hot topic in schools these days. How can camps support this crucial academic work in fun, engaging, and memorable ways over the summer, without leaving campers feeling like they’ve been in summer school? In this session, we will connect the dots between national education frameworks, inquiry-based learning, summer learning loss, and camp programs, and we will explore a few simple tools to help staff cultivate and model the culture of curiosity and creativity that is at the heart of scientific and engineering processes.

Ritualizing the End of Summer: Smoothing Transitions Mentally and Emotionally for Year Round Staff

As camp directors we are great at doing things intentionally, especially for others, but not always for ourselves. Transitioning from the busy summer season to the off season (which can be just as busy for some camp pros) is vital for creating a healthy and thriving workspace. This presentation will examine the psychology of transition and guide participants through different ways to intentionally end the summer and move into the off season through creative rituals/traditions. Giving ourselves and our year round staff time to integrate the summer on a personal level as well as a professional level is vital for our own mental and emotional health.

Kids Need Structure Not Control – Building Sandboxes At Camp

There is a major misconception in the youth development world. Structure is confused with control. Structure is about being consistent, reducing anxiety around the unknown, and building a safe space for kids. To control is to determine behavior; to decide for kids how they are to behave or act. Children learn best how to make decisions by making them. They figure out what works and what doesn’t by interacting with the world. We need more “sandboxes”, places where kids understand the structure of the space but are free to create, explore and learn alongside other kids and compassionate adults. Come learn how to build more “sandboxes” at camp.

The No-Drama Approach to a Theatre Program – and Why Your Camp Needs One

Kids who are involved in theatre are shown to have more confidence, creativity, focus, discipline, and communication skills, among other things. We will discuss the major benefits your campers will see in a drama program and how you can implement basic curriculum to help them grow.

Steal This: Ideas of Awesomeness for Your Camp That Won’t Break the Budget

I will be presenting a slew of ideas that you can steal and start doing at your camp. After attending several conferences, I realized that the biggest thing I wanted and didn’t get was a bunch of stuff that I could start doing tomorrow! If you feel the same way, then this session is for you! I will have gobs of info on tons of activities so that you can take these ideas back home and implement them into your programming immediately! The best part is: Almost everything is free or very cheap! This is the class for Camps who don’t have HUGE programming budgets, but want HUGE ideas!

How to Take Your Program to the Next Level

In this presentation, we will discuss some practical ways of creating dynamic programming using your current programming as the basis.

We want to ask ourselves several very important questions throughout the process that will help us realize how simple it is to make our program activities better, more exciting, more novel, and more memorable.

Using the acronym C.A.M.P.E.R.S., let’s learn together how we can take our current program to the next level.

Top 10 Aquatic Best Practices

Whether you have an aquatics background or not, the amount of risk that camp directors manage at aquatic activities is extraordinary considering that an average of 10 people drown every day in the U.S. During this session, hear ten implementable ideas that you can take to your camp this summer to create safer (and still fun!) aquatic activities that ensure everyone on staff–and participants too–take ownership of risk management at the water.

Free Play at Day Camp – Important and Possible

We know that the children who attend our camps are over-programmed and stressed out during the school year. From school to various lessons, to team practices, to hours of homework—and then they come to day camp, and many of us do the same thing to them! “Get changed for swim! Don’t be late to your activity; hurry up!”

Research shows that kids learn social skills while playing, and not in adult directed play—kid-directed free play. Give ALL your campers (not just preschoolers) the opportunity to flourish in a relaxed setting that promotes creativity and collaboration, the way that kids played before the days of smart phones, internet, hi-def video games, and central air. No excuses about time and scheduling restrictions, day camp folks—be creative yourself, and make this a priority.

Create Trendy Pop Up Museums at Camp

Pop up museums are trending right now in big cities. The Ice Cream Museum, Color Factory, and Candytopia are sold out months in advance in San Francisco and New York. You can bring these Instagram moments and celebration atmosphere to your camp on a budget. It’s a fun new event that can be run as a night program, or at a day camp. Extra staff not needed, as the CIT’s will take the lead. These Event photos that will set you apart from other camps.