Heavy readers of the blog will know just how mjuch we LOVE going to camp conferences. Each one offers something unique and each one helps build excitement for the coming summer because new ideas and issues are always on offer.
During this time of year we traditionally go to what’s called the American Camp Association (ACA) Virginias Conference (held for Virginia and West Virginia camps). But this year it was changed to become the ACA Mid-Atlantic Camp Conference, or MACC.
Fortunately for us it was conveniently located — it was still held in beautiful Williamsburg, Virginia like last year’s, but the venue was witched up to the Doubletree Hotel. It was a great venue and a nice change of pace!
The format also changed this year to more of a two-day event, with the conference beginning at 1pm on Tuesday and ending at 4pm on Wednesday. Additionally, dinner was included in the conference, so instead of going out and finding dinner on our own, we all had dinner together at the hotel, which I really enjoyed.
Our Director, Sam Dawson, Office Manager Louise Dawson, and I all were able to attend — a nice family affair! Our Special Events Director Bonnie Dawson (mom!) was supposed to come but caught a horrible cold just before the conference. My baby Noah tagged along as well, because he’s pretty much attached to my hip — er, something! 😉
Nuts and Bolts
The keynote speaker was Bob Ditter, one of my all-time favorites. Sadly, he said he’ll no longer be speaking at the larger conferences like ACA National or Tri-State because he’s preferring the smaller conferences at this point. But at least we get to hear from him there!
He gave the opening keynote presentation on Tuesday on aspects of camp leadership within camp teams, did two small breakout sessions on the unique issues in both all-girls and all-boys camps, and then closed the conference with some more wisdom and a great Q&A session — so his presence really was invaluable! I really admire his talent and intellect, and truly enjoyed listening to him.
The other breakout sessions I attended were also good, such as on social media advertising tactics, and holistic health and wellness at camps.
The exhibit hall was, as usual, really great with a lot of awesome prizes (but d’oh, we didn’t win any!).
Getting Our Digits
A neat new activity was a “vendor speed dating” opportunity. Tables in the middle of the exhibit hall were placed where we could all take a seat. Vendors came around to each table and had 90 seconds to make a pitch for what their product or service. It was fun and a great way to have some face time with each and every vendor!
As usual, I had a great time at the conference. I really liked the new format and hope it continues. I always love connecting with the other camp directors, sharing ideas, and just catching up. And of course I love learning all things camp!
I’ve said it before, but this is an area where I totally geek out, and this time was no different!
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls