CAMP IS ABOUT PEOPLE
You will ask yourself a lot of questions as you read this book and as your family experiences overnight camp. You'll find most of the answers in this book, but no piece of information is more important than this: Camp is about people. Good people make good camps. Remember that.
The first overnight camp in America began way back in 1861. It
started when two people-Frederick and Abigail Gunn-camped out with some
of their pupils on the shores of Long Island Sound. Believe us, they
had a minimal amount of equipment. No air-conditioned indoor tennis
courts, no hand-sewn soccer balls, no graphite-epoxy tennis racquets,
and no pump-activated, gel-soled sneakers. Nothing fancy...not even
any bathrooms. But the kids had a blast because the camp was run by
two good people who loved children.
Some Notes on the Terminology and Writing Style in this Book
Overnight. In the camping industry, "sleepaway" or "overnight" camps are called "resident" camps, because children reside there, instead of going home each night as they do at "day camp." Although some camps also use the term "resident," this word has other meanings too. Therefore, we use the more specific term, "overnight." Although most overnight camps happen during the summer, some happen during the winter. To be inclusive, we say "overnight camp," not "summer camp."
Staff & Senior Staff. There are a lot of people who work at camp. Collectively, they are called "staff." Directors, assistant directors, program directors, waterfront directors, and other people who are in charge at camp are called "senior staff."
Cabins & Cabin Mates. Camps have different names for the different forms of housing in which children live at camp. They could be called "cabins," "tents," "teepees," "bunks," "dorms," "huts," "lodges," or even "yurts." We use the traditional word "cabin" to refer to any and all group living facilities at overnight camp. The children who live together in a cabin are called "cabin mates."
Cabin leader. The person who lives and has meals with a camper and his cabin mates is the "cabin leader." Although "counselor" is also common, we prefer the specific term "cabin leader" because "counselor" could also mean "psychologist" or "guidance counselor" or even "lawyer." Plus, a good cabin leader spends much more time leading than counseling.
Instructors. Some camps have staff that work only in certain activity areas, but do not live and eat with the campers. Examples of these staff members include the tennis pro, the riding instructor, and the swimming coach. We refer to these specialized staff members as "instructors". Many specially trained cabin leaders are also instructors.