Professional Development at ACA Conferences
Summer camp professionals are often asked the question, “what do you do all offseason?”. Time is definitely needed to recharge your batteries after a long camp season. However, there’s also significant time spent on professional development. Yes, summer camp directors go to school too for professional development and training.
Later this month, several of Camp North Star’s directors are headed to the ACA Tri-State Camp Conference in New Jersey and the ACA New England Camp Conference in New Hampshire. These are just two of the numerous conferences, workshops and seminars that our leadership team attend during the school year.
The ACA Tri-State Camp Conference is the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world with over 3,000 camp directors and staff spending four days in Atlantic City. The conference is highlighted by over 150 educational sessions, an exhibit hall with 300 vendors and 2 keynote speakers. The ACA New England Conference offers similar sessions and an exhibit hall too. This conference is on a slightly smaller scale with just under 1,000 attendees.
Both exhibit halls are filled with vendors whose merchandise include art supplies, food service, athletic equipment, waterfront products, wearable apparel, outside entertainment, popular trip destinations and more. There’s always a few new things purchased to enhance Camp North Star’s activity program, special events and facility in Poland Spring, Maine.
The keynote speakers this year are Susan Cain and Brandon Stanton at Tri-State and Michael Brandwein at New England. Susan Cain is chief revolutionary and co-founder of Quiet Revolution and the author of the bestselling books, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking. Brandon Stanton is the creator of Humans of New York, the photoblog and book that features street portraits and interviews collected on the streets of New York City. Michael Brandwein is one of the top speakers and bestselling authors in the camp industry. Former keynote speakers include Hilary Clinton, Michael Eisner and Henry Winkler.
The most meaningful part of any conference are the educational sessions. At both the Tri-State and New England Conferences, leaders in a variety of relevant fields present workshops. The topics include childhood development, behavior management, emergency preparedness, staff training, healthcare, and leadership training. The knowledge gained at these workshops are shared with our entire Leadership Team. Then, incorporated into our own staff training. Ultimately it is used day-to-day during the camp season by our entire staff so we can provide our campers with the most meaningful and well-rounded experience possible.