Beginning with the End: Day Camp Training by Design

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Camping Magazine


American Camp Association


Based on the needs assessment conducted by ACA in the fall of 2003, several critical needs were expressed by day camp directors. These included: managing camper behavior, managing staff behavior and motivating staff, camper health and wellness, human resources and personnel, and risk/crisis management. Because most day camps in Virginia are required to be licensed, few day camps choose to be accredited. Unfortunately, VDSS requirements emphasize health and administrative standards with little emphasis on conduct of program and staff training. With day camps under the same umbrella as day care centers, training that is offered to day camp staff is often inconsistent with the outdoor day camp setting and not focused on short-term summer staff. Therefore, the training program outlined in the grant was designed to focus on day camp staff training and to address the specific needs of day camp administrators. The training program consisted of three phases: (a) day camp staff training; (b) day camp administrators' conference; and (c) scholarships for day camp administrators and key staff to attend existing ACA Virginias' educational events.