This summer will mark my second as Program Director at Appel Farm Arts Camp and my third as a staff member. Unlike many people who work in the camp industry, I did not go to camp as a child. Working at Appel Farm was my first experience with the world of residential camping, and it changed my life. I can not tell you how many times that first summer I said to myself (and anyone who would listen) how much I wished I had known about Appel Farm when I was a kid; how much I wished I had my own summer camp experience. Well last week, March 16-19, I got my chance to go to camp. The American Camp Association’s Tri-State Convention held in Atlantic City is the largest gathering of Camp Professionals in the world!
Our campers come to Appel Farm to find a community where they belong; a place where they feel comfortable taking risks and learning; a place where they can build friendships and develop skills. I went to Tri-State for the same reasons, and was not disappointed! At Tri-State, I was surrounded by a community of people who shared my passion for impacting the lives of children, I attended trainings that taught me new skills and sharpened my existing ones, and made important connections with camp professionals and vendors. And, I had a lot of fun while doing it!
One of the coolest parts of the conference was getting to hear the closing keynote speaker, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. In her address she emphasized a point we at camp know to be true, “there is no substitute for relationship building.” Appel Farm is a community, and communities are built on relationships. Here we help young people learn how to make and maintain friendships. For an exert from Hilary’s talk, click here. In addition to Mrs. Clinton, there was another wonderful keynote and a variety of smart and highly qualified trainers and workshop facilitators. For more information on what we learned about check out the Tri-State website.