Registration is open for Aloha, Hive, Lanakila, Ohana, and Horizons 2023!

Child Psychology

Thought Leadership: National ACA Conference

By The Aloha Team

The Aloha community with their arms wrapped around each other for evening circle.

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.