The network of online camp pros that exists is like a real-life campfire – if you know how to find them.
Experts, veterans and camp newbies looking for camaraderie can gather, share advice and help each other – without ever leaving the office.
Are you looking for some resources to grow your camp-connected network?
Here are some of our favorite blogs and resources that provide useful advice or information for camp directors and senior leaders. If you need a little inspiration for running a summer camp, you’ll find it here.
A relatively new addition to the summer camp blogosphere, the Patchwork Marketplace blog offers tips, advice, and ideas for just about every area of camp management. Browse the latest on summer camp marketing, staff management strategies, leadership & staff training, and team building. This wonderful resource – which also includes a marketplace of resources and consulting help – was launched by two long-time camp bloggers, Patti (The Camp Nerd) and Curt (Summer Camp Pro).
- Must-Read Post: “Beat The Mid-Summer Slump”
GoCamp Pro is a marketplace for camp-related resources, yet on the site’s blog, you’ll find great advice from experienced and influential camp leaders. From camp marketing advice to staff hiring tips, this is your source for actionable tips that will help you grow while running a summer camp.
- Must Read Post: “A Crash Course In Summer Camp Marketing”
The American Camp Association’s Camp Connection blog is every camp director’s one-stop-shop for information. Really, if you’re looking for some camp management inspiration, start here. Every post is written by a veteran summer camp pro, and the blog touches on nearly every aspect of running a camp. You’ll find advice for promoting safety, inclusiveness, creating fun, memorable programs, and running a summer camp.
- Must-Read Post: “Tips for Calming Down Overwhelmed Camp Counselors”
The Camp Hackers – Travis and Beth Allison – have all your camp needs covered. Travis specializes in camp marketing, while Beth is a leadership training expert. On their blog, you’ll find great info and ideas related to both subjects on the CampHackerTV blog. Plus, be sure to check out the Camp Code podcast for leadership and staff training ideas, as well as the CampHacker podcast for general camp director tips to help with running a summer camp.
- Must-Read Post: “10 Tips to Improve Your Staff Training Now”
Lessons from Camp is a brand new camp blog. Launched by a recently retired 40-year parks and rec veteran, the blog features advice for camp pros of all ages, with some particularly useful tips for camp directors and counselors. Mary, the Lessons from Camp founder, writes passionately about camp management and offers sound advice and easily digestible insights into running a summer camp. There’s something here for everyone.
- Must-Read Post: “Teachable Moments at Camp”
Sarah Kurtz McKinnon, a former camp director, provides in-depth tips and interviews on her blog. A partner at GoCamp.Pro and a co-founder of The Summer Camp Society, McKinnon serves up helpful insider tips for staff training and engagement, alongside humorous camp-related lists and articles. Be sure to check out her Presummer Survival Tips series, featuring Q&A’s with camp pros on how they prepare for camp.
- Must-Read Post: “Counselors’ Parents: Make Them Friends, Not Enemies“
Patti Sampson, a.k.a The Camp Nerd, spent nearly 20 years in camping, working her way up from counselor to camp director. Now, she’s working on Patchwork Marketplace. But she’s still updating The Camp Nerd blog, a resource packed full of wonderful camp advice and musings. First-year camp directors will find her New Camp Director Pro tip series immensely helpful. Plus, there are articles related to a range of topics camp admins will find near and dear, including staff motivation and caring for yourself at camp.
- Must-Read Post: “Camp Counselor Hiring Season”
Looking for tips, tricks, and ideas for improving as a summer camp programs director? You’ll find it on the SummerCampPro blog. Featuring a wealth of resources, including director tips, counselor tools and marketing ideas, the site – overseen by Curt “Moose” Jackson, a 7+ year camp veteran – is chock full of practical advice and ideas you can put into action right now.
- Must-Read Post: “3 Camp Staff Slump Busters”
Dr. Thurber, co-author of the Summer Camp Handbook and a founder of the Director’s Camp, blogs occasionally about topics relevant to camp directors at CampSpirit.com. You’ll find posts related to running camp efficiently, teaching empathy at camp, and common mistakes to avoid. For some up-to-date thoughts and musing, follow Dr. Thurber on Twitter.
- Must-Read Post: “5 Mistakes Camp Directors Make”
While not technically a blog, Camp Business is the trade publication camp directors can’t live without. The bi-monthly magazine features in-depth news on the latest camp management trends – from innovative programming ideas to health & safety tips. The digital edition is available online each month – for those who want to catch an entire issue.
- Must-Read Post: “Don’t Stand Still: Use Camp to Instill Physical Literacy”
Need some marketing inspiration for your camp? Check the Social Summer Camp blog. Here, you’ll find super relevant tips and tricks for growing word-of-mouth through social media and other digital marketing avenues. Plus, there are plenty of ideas that you can put into action right now to superpower your camp’s online visibility.
- Must-Read Post: “During Summer Marketing Strategy for Camps”
12. Camping Magazine
Another not-quite-a-blog suggestion, the ACA’s Camping Magazine is the industry’s go-to news source for summer camp trends, youth development research, and cutting-edge programming tips. With nearly 50 issues available online, a wealth of camp management knowledge is at your fingertips. Looking for staff training tips? Start with past May/June issues, which are devoted each year to the subject.
- Must-Read Post: “Training for Social Justice with Camp Staff”
Tyler Shaule, the Summer Camp Coach, provides proven strategies for marketing and growing your summer camp on his blog. Here, you’ll find outside-the-box marketing ideas – i.e. supercharge your email marketing efforts! – as well as leadership ideas and other relevant camp information. Check out Shaule’s Summer Camp Leadership Podcast for insights into marketing and staff training.
- Must-Read Post: “16 Essential Emails Your Summer Camp Must Send”
Expert Online Training, or EOT, for short, produces staff training courses and materials for camps. And on the EOT blog, you’ll find great advice and columns related to a range of staff training topics, leadership, and youth development. If you’re in search of some new staff training ideas, you’ll want to check out the EOT blog.
- Must-Read Post: “Innovation at Camp? We Preach It, But Are We Practicing It”
Hey, so maybe you won’t find practical advice on the Summer Camp Culture blog. But if you need a laugh, start here. Since 2010, editor Matt Ralph has been collecting videos, movies, and other pop culture tidbits related to camp. So if you need a break: This is the place to go to find camp humor or to read up on the latest news on camp movies in production.
…And That’s a Wrap, Folks!
There you have it! Some go-to blogs for camp director tips and advice.
Oh, did we forgot to mention how fantastic the new CampMinder blog is? We’re adding new content all the time, so look out for more soon!