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1998 ACA survey of camp directors results.

The American Camping Association conducts an annual survey Of directors of ACA-accredited camps to identify industry trends in educational programs and resources. Of the respondents to the 1998 survey,

* 68 percent represented resident camps

* 19 percent represented day camps

* 9 percent represented camps with both day and resident programs

* 4 percent did not indicate

Camp Enrollment Continues to Rise

Since 1992, ACA's Annual Camp Director SurVey has shown an 8 to 10 percent increase in total enrollment each year. This past year was no different. According to survey results, total camp enrollment increased 9 percent in 1998. Females made up 55 percent of total camp enrollment in 1998, and males made up 45 percent.

Camp Gives Kids A World of Good

Survey results confirm ACA's assertion that "camp gives kids a world of good." According to camp directors, parents rated the following as the most important benefit of sending their child(ren) to camp:

* increased self-confidence (29 percent)

* safety (23 percent)

* fun (16 percent)

New Camp Activities

Of camp directors surveyed, 75 percent report adding new activities or camp program over the past few years. Among those most commonly added are:

* adventure programming (e.g., mountain biking and rock climbing)

* in-line skating activities

* fine and performing arts activities

* travel programs

* sports programs

More Camps Offer Financial Assistance

The number of camps offering some level of financial assistance for low-income campers rose by 9 percent between 1997 and 1998. In 1998, 65 percent of camps offered scholarships. Contributions ranged from small donations to $1,000,000 per camp.

Camp Builds Community

More than half of camps surveyed 56 percent - report offering community service or good deed programs as a regular part of the camp curriculum. The most common service projects performed by campers included:

* community clean-ups

* food drives

* recycling programs

* volunteering with senior citizens and hospital patients
Compelling Issues Facing Camps

1998(*) TOTAL 1ST 2ND 3RD

Staff issues

Finding staff w/special
certifications 41.0% 13.0% 18.0% 10.0%
Finding counselors 62.0% 28.0% 22.0% 12.0%

Pricing/Competition Issues

Year-round school/extended year 23.0% 4.0% 6.0% 13.0%
Finding campers 44.0% 19.0% 14.0% 11.0%

Rising Expenses/Complexity
of Operation

Risk management 48.0% 18.0% 13.0% 17.0%
Behavioral issues 26.0% 5.0% 10.0% 11.0%
Governmental regulations 21.0% 5.0% 6.0% 10.0%
Camp maintenance cost 18.0% 4.0% 6.0% 8.0%
Higher insurance rates 6.0% 1.0% 2.0% 3.0%
Campers with disabilities 4.0% 1.0% 1.0% 2.0%

* In 1998, respondees were asked to select and rate the three most
compelling issues facing their camp operation. Total responses are
given, as well as percentage of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd responses.

Staff Recruitment Continues to be an Issue

Staff recruitment continues to be the most compelling issue facing camp operations. This year, 28 percent of camp directors expressed difficulty finding counselors, up considerably from 1997 when just 15 percent considered staff recruitment as their greatest long-term issue. However, recruiting staff with special certification has decreased as a concern from 32 percent in 1997 to 13 percent in 1998. Therefore, total staff issue concerns have decreased from 47 percent in 1997 to 40 percent in 1998.

Maintaining a Safe Environment Fuels ACA Accreditation

A whopping 70 percent of camp directors reported that the main reason their camp continues to seek ACA accreditation is to maintain a safe, quality environment for campers and staff.
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Title Annotation:American Camping Association
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 1999
Previous Article:The inclusion of audit: evaluating your camp's efforts to include diverse populations.
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