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A message from the president.

A CAMPaign We Can All Support

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Our future requires that we dream of being more than an accrediting body and more recognizable beyond a slogan.

I am committed to leading ACA through listening to your goals and dreams for our organization and working to make them a reality. After seeing so many of you at our national conference and then at several regional conferences across the country; I am energized by your enthusiasm and eagerness to share ideas. Through ongoing communication, we can sustain that passion while informing the entire membership of each other's efforts.

I am encouraged by the many visions that you have, not just for our association, but for the role camp itself plays in the lives of people. From my conversations with you thus far, I have learned, among many other things, that you want

* to strengthen the ties that make camp an essential part of American culture,

* ACA to become the preeminent resource on camp and the camp experience, and

* to be properly seen and respected as important players in personal development and childhood education.

To achieve these goals, ACA has launched a positioning initiative to redefine how we are seen and understood in the world. We believe that we have a valuable story to tell, and with which we can establish ourselves firmly as a vital facet of American life.

We are calling it our CAMPaign, our five-year plan to honor our past and assure our future as we approach our centennial in 2010.

This is our opportunity to capture and express our collective values and purpose. This is our chance to create the climate for camp professionals to not only demonstrate their expertise in human development, but to participate in and help drive our nation's education discussion.

Every day, our staffs and counselors demonstrate and strengthen their credibility in the fields that comprise the camp experience -- experiential education, recreation, and lifelong learning and development.

These experiences serve as the basis for the research we are undertaking to document the many positive outcomes from the camp experience, identify best practices, and authenticate the value of camp in human development.

Of course, to deliver a clear, concise message about the impact of a camp experience, we need to reinforce ACA as the authoritative knowledge center of the camp profession. By fostering a unified image of ACA, its members, and the camp experience, we can motivate key audiences -- whose stories will strike an emotional chord and increase credibility with parents, youth development experts, government officials, and traditional educators -- to align themselves with ACA and the value of the camp experience.

We can complement our internal efforts by adopting a proactive plan to promote ourselves and our expertise. We will redefine our Web presence, make the most of opportunities to drive traffic to www.ACAcamps.org, and establish our site as the leading online destination for information about camps and the camp experience.

Throughout this CAMPaign, we will seek to leverage the power that lies in the diversity of our collective assets, resources, and ideas to address the individual needs of our sections and members.

Now is the time for us to take the steps necessary to elevate ourselves from our current reality towards our collective vision. These next five years are our opportunity to achieve what we truly care about, build what we want to create, make reality out of our dreams.

The CAMPaign is a step we must make to strengthen the culture, values, and traditions that have defined the camp experience for a century. I ask you to consider your vision of ACA. Continue to impart to me your no-holds-barred, wildest-dream wish lists. And please share your time, your voice, and your resources to ensure the success of our CAMPaign.

As camp professionals, it is our obligation to honor our past and assure our future.

Marla Coleman

ACA National President
COPYRIGHT 2002 American Camping Association
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Article Details
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Publication:Camping Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
Words:662
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