“Creating the Exceptional”: ACA 2017 National Conference
The American Camp Association (ACA) offers its National Conference to provide a few days packed with professional development for camp leaders and to build on the magnificent camping community found across the nation and around the world. ACA brings together all types of camp professionals, so in one room you could have day camp and residential camp professionals, religious and nonreligious camp professionals, those from single gender and coed camps, and camp leaders of all ethnicities.
ACA’s “Camp Includes Me” initiative combined with the UMCRM Association’s initiative of “Expanding Ethnic Community and Leadership in Camping” to create an impactful presence at ACA’s National Conference this year. First time attendee Shanterra McBride, from Texas, shares that she was…
“so excited to partner with the “Camp Includes Me” track. Being able to partner in the education and conversation of how camp should and can include all, particularly children of color, was an extremely rewarding and hard experience. Hard, because oftentimes the dialogue around black and brown campers includes the words “financial aid” in the same sentence, but rewarding because of how open the participants were to the conversation.”
South Carolina’s Arthur Spriggs, a long time attendee of ACA’s national conferences, explains that there have been “many attempts over the years in the area of diversity among camping people, but the number of workshops and discussions about being intentional with this work was very present this year and very celebrated.” There was total agreement by all attending that this is an exciting endeavor. We are all looking forward to seeing what God desires to do in our world of camping!
It was a true pleasure to listen in to what Niambi Jaha-Echols, Dr. Deborah Gilboa, and many others had to say during their keynotes and sessions. Shanterra McBride shared what an amazing experience it was to be in the same room with these women she has followed throughout their careers.
While this conference takes our professionals away from the camp setting for a few days, David Rouse explains that “the opportunity to network with other camp leaders and learn about current topics in the camping world makes the time at ACA National Conference worthwhile.” This time spent with others who share the same passion as we do is pertinent to our work. The theme for the 2017 National Conference was “Creating the Exceptional” and this conference strived to do just that. Arthur Spriggs shares his enjoyment of getting to spend time with fellow UM camping professionals. No matter our job title, the type of camp we work for, or the color of our skin, it was so incredible to see everyone come together for a common cause: changing children’s lives through the camp experience.
Thanks to Paige Railey (SC Conference Camp & Retreat Ministries) for putting together these reflections to share with the UMCRM community!