Camping Professionals Come Together

For many of us in the camp community, the Tri-State Camp Conference is the big event that signals that camp is right around the corner. It’s an opportunity to meet and share information and trends that we are seeing for the upcoming summer and always encourages each of us as camp professionals to learn together and broaden our skills.

The conference had over 150 educational sessions with something for everyone: owners, directors, head counselors, program heads, support staff, volunteers, board members, as well as teachers, after-school programmers and other youth development professionals.

Jay Jacobs, Director of our sister camp Timber Lake Camp and Executive Director of the TLC Family of Camps, was a featured speaker, leading a session where he spoke about taking a fresh look at camp business decisions and ways to measure their true impact. He spoke about all areas of camp – everything from camper supervision to programming, services and facility management.

Another highlight of the week was when Jennifer DeSpagna, one of the directors of another sister camp Timber Lake West, was awarded the 2013 Tri-State Camp Conference Award.  The award is given every year at the conference to someone that exhibits commitment and dedication to camping in our region. The award recipient is recognized for demonstrating personal integrity and noteworthy contributions to the advancement of camping.

The Keynote Speaker was Jonathan Kozol, a legend in public education and a New York Times bestselling author.  Mr. Kozol has devoted nearly half a century to the complex and urgent issues facing public education and focusses on providing equal opportunities to every child regardless of race or economic level.  Mr. Kozol also spent many of his childhood summers at camp and more recently has worked with summer camps throughout the country that work with low-income children.  With his vast knowledge, it was inspiring to hear Mr. Kozol speak.  Those of us in the summer camp profession know that summer camps make a positive difference on the lives of all children as we help them aspire to a promising future.

Through conferences like these, and sub committees of the American Camp Association such as EPIC (Emerging Professionals in Camping), the power of knowing how to find and use information, generate ideas, develop deep understanding, share stories and create positive human connections is invaluable…  It challenges us to immerse ourselves in a dynamic experience. Just like at camp, we ended each day exhausted and yet invigorated by all that is available to us – from the insight and ideas of the presenters, to the camaraderie and expertise of our other fellow camp professionals.  And with less than a hundred days before camp starts, we’ve got our work cut out for us!

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