The 2018 Tri-State Camp Conference, hosted by the American Camp Association of New York & New Jersey, took place March 19-22 in Atlantic City. Representing the world’s largest gathering of camp professionals, some 3,000 attendees came together this year to share insights, display products and services and connect with colleagues in the camp industry.
The conference began with a keynote speech from Dr. Shefali Tsabary, entitled, “Creating Resilience and Empowerment in Children,” and featured a closing keynote from legendary sports icon and activist Billie Jean King. Daily sessions included 170 offerings tailored to camp owners and directors, as well as counselors, teachers, after-school programmers, volunteers and many other valuable positions.
This year, Marketing Specialist Hannah Wood traveled to the conference on behalf of ACTIVE Network. Over the course of four days, she attended many sessions and networking opportunities, all focused on making a positive difference in the lives of children.
“It was really eye-opening for me, as a marketer,” Wood says. “It was interesting to speak with professionals in a wide variety of roles and understand why they’re there and what they’re doing to make the camp experience better every year.”
Sessions curated for attendees included “The Need to Create an Environment of Comfort for Campers in an Anxious World,” “Meaningful Staff Appreciation,” “Cultivating Resilient Girls” and “Creating Safer Camps for LGBT+ Youth.” An interactive workshop also addressed “Mental Health, Well-Being and Safety at Camp.” By expanding perspectives through the Tri-State Camp Conference experience, organizers aim to build leaders who will continue to propel the industry forward.
“It was valuable to see what camp professionals are interested in–it’s a lot more than just swimming and other activities. It was more targeted to developmental, child-focused topics,” Wood explains.
Sharing insights via networking is another important goal of the annual Tri-State Camp Conference. As we explored in this recent blogpost, kids are the primary reason that camps, classes and extracurricular programs exist. At this forward-thinking conference, attendees all share a passion for teaching life skills and building successful adults.
Says Wood, “The common denominator among all organizations that attend the conference is a passion for children’s activities, whether it’s a day camp or an after-school program. These professionals are passionate about their organizations’ missions, and they want their organizations to grow.”