Next week, on October 28th, the Alberta Camping Association is hosting our annual Fall Camps Tour. Camps Tour is when we invite camp professionals from all over the province to join us for tours of other ACA member camps in a particular area. The leaders of the camps chosen will give the group a tour of their property and facilities, showing others how they run their activities, kitchen, office, maintenance, and programs.
Here are the benefits of attending Camps Tour:
Touring other camps in the company of dozens of other camp professionals allows you to share and discuss ideas on all things related to camp. Camp leaders are able to walk through different buildings and facilities, discover how other camps are using these types of buildings, and gather resources for further development of their own camp.
One Camps Tour we learned about some opportunities to enhance a camp's archery program. Thanks to movies like the Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings, archery is becoming more and more popular among our youth. Building a simple archery range and purchasing some equipment is a relatively low-cost way to introduce a great activity to your camp. Wendel Ritz, Program Director at Deer Valley Meadows, told us about the National Archery in the Schools Program. This organization provides instructor training that will help improve the motivation, attention, behavior, attendance and focus in students using archery.
Photo: Deer Valley's unique sunken archery range and arrow net.
At Bar Harbour Camp we learned about their great system for organizing their work bee weekends. Instead of randomly assigning jobs to volunteers and feeling disorganized during a work weekend, they make easy to read charts that list all of the jobs that need to be done. Volunteers and staff can pick a job and just check it off when it’s complete. When the weekend is over camp staff can see what still needs to be done and get it finished. Thanks for the good idea!
Our favourite part about Camps Tour is learning how other camps ‘do camp’. Beyond learning about the activities they offer, it’s interesting to learn how those activities roll out in a given day. You are given a great picture of ‘a day in the life of a camper’ and a staff member as well. Some camps take their kids on one or two mid-week out trips into the wilderness, while others prepare them to perform a drama production for their parents at the end of camp. Some camps offer mentorship programs that take young campers through the process of becoming counselors in training, to young staff members, all the way to camp leadership.
We know this camps tour will offer the same opportunities for discussion. Bring a pad of paper and a pen, and get ready to jot down as many great ideas from other camps as you can. The Alberta Camping Association will provide full reports of the information shared at this year’s camps tour on our website blog.
Building a Camp Community
We all have something in common: a passion for summer camp. Camp people are usually an energetic, playful type with a true desire to see children and youth experience positive life development. Most of us have no problems about jumping up and down singing about bananas in front of a hundred kids. Some might say this passion and the abilities that come with it are unique!
Although all of our camps are different, we all work hard and sacrifice for the same mission and that is to give children the opportunity to learn and grow in a positive environment.
Camps Tour is a great opportunity to connect with other camp professionals who share your same passion. Beyond sharing ideas on how you run your arts and crafts shack and how you deal with mash potato leftovers in the kitchen, Camps Tour really is a great time to build friendships with each other. We always here from our membership that one of the key reasons they attend ACA events is to build a network and community with other camps. This event will help you do just that!
Over the years we have gotten to know many of you and look forward to opportunities to meet with you again. We are also excited to meet new faces and make new friends in the camping community. We look forward to seeing you at the Fall Camps Tour 2016!
Fall Camps Tour 2016 - Sylvan Lake Camps
Friday, October 28, 2016
10:00 AM - Meet at Kasota East Camp parking lot
11:30 AM - Walk across to Camp Kasota West
12:30 PM - Lunch provided by Kasota West - please bring a donation
1:30 PM - Meet at Camp Kannawin
3:00 PM - Departure
Please RSVP by October 20 so we can plan for food. Thank you!