The 2017 National Conference of the American Camping Association (ACA) was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was proud to represent Chewonki leadership at the conference in both my role as Director of Girls’ Programs and also as a member of the national conference program committee. This year’s conference was an empowering experience and a great opportunity to learn from other camp professionals as well as leaders of industry in business, academics, medicine, and psychology about creating opportunities and building skills within our campers to help them navigage our ever changing world.
This year’s theme was, “Creating the Exceptional.” Over the course of the week, I attended sessions on youth development, staff training, innovative activities, emerging issues, and business and operations. Lectures and workshops centered around what makes exceptional programming, how to cultivate exceptional communities, and ultimately, how to encourage participants to grow into exceptional people. I returned to Chewonki Neck feeling inspired and reenergized for the important work that lies ahead for all of us – staff and participants – in the Adventures for Girls program this coming summer. As we experience the wonder of the natural world, build community based on friendship and trust, and learn about ourselves and the ways we can give back to the world, we will continue to discover ways to engage all of it with confidence, empathy, resilience, and responsibility.