2018 American Camp Association National Conference
Five Aloha leaders will share their expertise and insights at the annual national conference that draws 1,200 professionals from the camping industry. Sarah Gordon Littlefield (Aloha Camp Director) on counselor training programs, Jeremy Cutler (Lanakila’s Assistant Director and the Foundation’s Director of Special Projects) on Aloha’s Success Counseling model, Andrew Watson (Trustee and Lanakila alumnus) on fostering a growth mindset, and Christopher Overtree (Executive Director) on inclusion programming for children with mental illness and adaptations to support gender diversity. Posie Taylor (Executive Director Emerita) will also be co-leading a fundraising session with past national ACA President Ann Sheets.
Founded in 1910, the American Camp Association (ACA) is the country’s leading professional organization in the field of camping. As a key authority in youth development, its mission is to share knowledge and experience, and ensure the quality of camp programs. Aloha’s connection to the ACA goes back decades. Harriet Farnworth Gulick (“Mother Gulick”) and her daughter, Carol Gulick Hulbert (“Mrs. Carol”), members of our camps’ founding family, were active in the ACA from its earliest days. The ACA is the only independent accrediting organization reviewing camp operations in the country. Our oldest programs—Aloha, Hive and Lanakila—have been ACA-accredited continually since the late 1950s with Hulbert and Horizons following in the early 2000s. As part of the accreditation process, we participate in regular site visits and meet up to 300 standards in health, safety, and program quality.
“After attending the ACA New England conference for several years and learning a great deal from industry leaders each time,” says Sarah, “I am excited to have the opportunity to give back to the camping community by being a presenter myself. The Aloha Foundation has a tremendous amount of experience and expertise. Opportunities like the ACA national conference allow us to share our philosophy and knowledge and learn from others, not just about camping and outdoor education, but also about adolescent development, leadership programming, risk management, and other key areas of our core competencies.”
Jeremy is looking forward to meeting some other camp professionals and learning more about their experiences. “Professionals in camping—as in education and many other fields—are often immersed in their own work and can feel isolated from one another,” he says. “Conferences like these provide the opportunity to share ideas, anecdotes, philosophies, and other knowledge. As educators with the common goal of working to improve the lives of children and young people, we have so much to learn from each other.”
Sarah and Jeremy will also be speaking at the ACA New England conference in Manchester, New Hampshire in March.
This year’s ACA conference will be in Orlando, Florida from February 20-23. For more information, visit their 2018 conference web page.
Re-Thinking Leadership Training to Ensure the Relevance & Competitive Advantage of Your CIT Program
With summer youth opportunities like internships, study abroad prospects, academic coursework, and other scenarios, a CIT program at a summer camp can sound frivolous. While we understand that our programs are intentional, comprehensive, and effective, we must be able to articulate to our constituents the advantages and relevance of that experience as a forum for leadership development. Fine-tune your existing program, and develop necessary language to market your efforts and increase retention.
Nurturing the Grit in Girls – Creating Safe Space to Fail and Fostering Resilience in Tweens & Teens
Our society values and rewards girls differently from boys. Moreover, girls see themselves differently from their male counterparts. They take less credit for their success, and often respond to failure in self-destructive ways. Camps are a perfect place to help girls learn that challenges foster confidence and resilience. Learn more about girls’ adolescent development, and identify places where changes to our programs can yield greater risk-taking, self-advocacy, and skill development in girls.
The Brain Science behind Summer Camp Learning: Working Memory
Campers join us to make friends, try archery, climb mountains…and to learn. Counselors will be more effective teachers if we understand the brain mechanisms behind their learning. One cognitive function—working memory—makes it possible to combine information into meaningful new ideas. When counselors understand WM, we can anticipate and solve cognitive problems, and thereby help campers learn more, and more deeply. This lively and practical workshop makes brain science both useful and fun.
Inspiring Campers with a Growth Mindset: What Brain Research Tells Us about Motivation
Why do some campers find challenges inspiring, while others give up all too quickly? More than three decades of research offer compelling answers to this question. By helping campers adopt a growth mindset—that is, by helping them see that intelligence can change and grow—we give them new goals and new ways to respond to the struggles that inevitably accompany learning. Combining psychology research with camp experience, this workshop helps us foster campers’ intrinsic motivation.
Chris, a child clinical psychologist, presented on best practices for managing mental health issues when they present in summer camp environments. From the perspective of mental health issues that present in normal populations, he discussed strategies for leveraging the power of a safe and healthy community to address provide support in a camp-focused way. He also discussed the types of conditions and incidents that are best managed in specialized settings, and gave recommendations for how camp directors can make these decisions. Chris also discussed how our changing understanding of biological sex and gender identity require camps to be more thoughtful about their programming. Focusing on a model of inclusion for single and multi-gender camps, the presentation focused on universal accommodations that ensure that there is room for everyone in the summer camp industry.
Posie Taylor has been teaching about fund-raising, working with boards and camp leadership at ACA conferences for several years. Last year she offered “The Development Doctor Is In” to our program, an open forum where development folks from all backgrounds could bring their most pressing problems. Posie’s gentle fund-raising strategies lend themselves well to the camping community because they are not based on strong-arm tactics or hit-‘em-up approaches, but on building deep and long-term relationships.After warm reviews from last year and requests for a repeat, Posie is back this year, joined by another premier ACA fund-raising guru, Ann Sheets, past ACA President and CEO of Campfire, Fort Worth. Their session offers common sense advice and counsel built on a combined 50 years doing this important work. Come, share and learn!
Jeremy presented an introduction to Success Counseling, the counseling approach used at the Aloha Foundation with both campers and staff. He first discussed the psychological theory behind the practice – including the difference between internal and external control psychology; the idea that we have control over our emotions and happiness; and the concept of basic human instructions. Finally, he introduced participants to the set of “Solution Generating Steps” that they could use to implement this framework immediately, both at their home camps with staff and campers, and in their own lives.