IMG_0578I had decided to start a day camp, but needed to learn a lot more. In the summer of 2004, it was time for some hands-on research and a chance to learn as much as I could on all aspects of camp! I went on the road and visited incredible camps all over the country, and also helped lead a trip in the Boundary Waters with The Children’s Hospital Colorado Burn Camps Program and YMCA Camp Widjiwagan (shown above).

I visited the following camps:

California: Tom Sawyer CampsOutpost Summer CampsRoughing It Day Camp

Minnesota: Lincoln/Lake Hubert, Camp Widjiwagan

New York: Coleman Country Day CampNorth Shore Day CampProject Morry

Visiting a camp while it is in full operation is something few camp directors get to do (we are pretty busy in the summer). From each camp, I learned something different about program, staff, site, and philosophy. These camps’ genes are present in big and small ways at AO Camps – from camp songs, traditions, and culture, to policies on transportation, logistics, food, and business management. It was a great education that I still lean on often, and  I tell young, aspiring camp directors to do it for a summer if they can.