Camp Alleghany for Girls is proud to be accredited by and a member of the American Camp Association (ACA). The ACA is the professional organization for our industry. They write standards and help establish best practices for summer camps to run safe, meaningful, and powerful programming.
Earlier this year I was asked to join the Local Council of Leaders (LCOL) for the Virginias area of the ACA (Virginia and West Virginia). I currently serve as Membership Co-Chair with Alina Ackenbom from Camp Friendship.
There wasn’t much time between joining as a volunteer just before camp started and the busyness of summer for me to engage with the process yet. But with the end of the on-site camp season, however, we’ve been getting some good work done.
Alina and I started by planning an End of Summer Roundtable and Networking Day, graciously hosted by our friends at Camp Mont Shenandoah.
Nearly 30 Camp directors and staff came together on a warm September afternoon to share their successes, struggles, and thoughts on the previous summer.
Our Director, Elizabeth Shreckhise, and President Emeritus of ‘Ghany, Sam Dawson, were both in attendance. Together, we connected with old friends and made new ones while covering in-depth topics from staffing to mental health to communications and more. It was a successful and fun day with the best resources available – other camp professionals!
Next in my ACA volunteer journey was a training event at their headquarters in Martinsville, Indiana. In a time when consumers want to know more information about what they are buying or getting involved with, especially as regards their kids, the ACA is focused on growing as an organization and building even more resources for camps and camp professionals to help camps build the bridge to families and strengthen their own offerings.
Part of that solidification and growth from within the organization is focused on membership, and in the beginning of October, they had membership chairs from all over the country come together.
People are the ACAs greatest resource, and I met some truly amazing folks — really passionate and committed camp professsionals — over our three days together.
Camp directors, ACA staff, and volunteers were present from all corners of the country to brainstorm and put action plans into place to improve the world of camping, or as the sign in ACA headquarters says, “Better Camping for All.”
We talked benefits of being members, like networking, online access to thousands of pages of research, articles, training resources, and more tools for staff development, along with discounts on conferences and supplies. Most importantly, we explored all the ways the ACA is a go-to organization for everything camping related.
Brainstorming together, we proved that “many hands make light work,” and that “two heads are better than one.” We strategized how to improve our roles as volunteers to better benefit camp professionals and camps themselves. The membership chairs left feeling invigorated and energized to spread the good word of the ACA.
On a personal note, I came away with new connections in the industry, good times with friends, and more knowledge and fresh thinking to bring to my role at Alleghany, and to spur fresh new thinking within our organization, too.
People often ask us camp folks, “What do you do in the offseason?” The short answer is LOTS! And as for me, this fall I’ve been keeping busy travelling for professional development, volunteering with the ACA locally and nationally at the training, connecting, and learning in order to help keep Alleghany moving forward in the world of camping.
For camp history lovers, get a load of this. I found an Alleghany connection at the ACA Headquarters when I spotted a famous ‘Ghany guy recognized on a plaque on the main floor. See S. Cooper Dawson Jr., longtime friend and supporter of the ACA in the picture below:
Finally, if you wonder what sleepaway summer camp can do for your child, please download Director Elizabeth Shreckhise’s FREE E-Book Three Reasons to Begin Your Child’s Sleepaway Summer Camp Journey Early.*
I’m a camp believer, and I bet you will be, too. Stay tuned to the blog for a recap of a conference I attended following all this great ACA fun.
— Casey Tucker, Program Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls