If you follow us on social media, you may recall seeing that some of the ISTC staff recently traveled down to Atlantic City, NJ, to attend the American Camp Association Tri-State Camp Conference. Although you could probably tell how excited we were to be afforded this opportunity, you were likely left wondering what a camp conference is, let alone how it pertains to you and your children…so let us fill you in!
Tri-States has been going on for over thirty years now. It is the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world! Over the course of three days, members of the camping industry–anyone ranging from directors to office staff to counselors and more, attend a series of sessions dedicated to subjects within the field. It’s essentially the adult version of college, filled with workshops, seminars, lectures, and demonstrations on all things camp! Attendees can choose from a spectrum of topics, all relating to bettering yourself, your camp, and the camp world.
Speakers lead over 150 educational sessions in those three days, discussing everything from training your staff to creating new camper games, using social media to managing risks and emergencies, and so much more. On the same accord, the group of speakers is just as diverse as the topics they speak on. There are not only professionals in the camping industry, but also experts in psychology, social work, marketing, coaching, law, and so on. The only thing every one of them have in common is the desire to share their knowledge, experience, and ideas in order to help improve camps around the country.
ISTC goes to this camp conference every year to find the best practices, learn new ideas, and hear from experts in a variety of fields to better ourselves and our camp in any way we can. We are honored to join this community of over 3,000 people coming together from not only the tri-state region, but all over the United States and different parts of the world to share and learn from each other. But this idea of sharing so much is rather unique to the camping community. Some may see it as a meeting of competing organizations, all giving away their secrets to success, but we believe quite the contrary. In this community, the amelioration of camps as a whole is more important than a single business’ ambition. Camps do not look at each other as competitors, but rather colleagues with the same goal–providing the safest and most enjoyable environments for children possible. It is an incredible experience, and we feel very privileged to be able to attend such a gathering.
As the cherry on top of an incredible convention, we were graced with closing keynote speaker Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former Secretary of State gave an amazing speech about her experiences at camp as a child, sending her own daughter to camp, and the important values and lessons learned from the camping experience. “[Camp is] about bringing adults and kids together in ways that really build confidence and resilience and try to give kids not only skills, but great memories–great connections, and I’m grateful to you for that.” She gave a humorous and uplifting speech, and it served as a great reminder to all camp professionals why we do what we do–to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
To see a clip of Hillary Clinton’s speech at the ACA Tri-State Camp Conference, check out our latest YouTube video!