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The Ultimate Camp Library: Top Must-Reads for Camp Staff

Whether you’re a seasoned camp professional or a fresh recruit, there’s always room to grow, learn and find inspiration. That’s why we’ve curated the ultimate camp library – a collection of must-reads books for camp staff that will ignite your passion and elevate your skills.

First, let’s review the why

Why reading camp-related works is essential for staff

First and foremost, staying current on camp-related literature ensures that staff members are equipped with the latest trends, best practices and innovative ideas within the camping industry. Camps are dynamic environments that continuously adapt to the changing needs and interests of campers. 

By engaging with contemporary literature, staff gain insights into new educational approaches, safety protocols and inclusive practices, fostering an environment that is not only fun but also enriching.

Reading materials also serve as a bridge between experience and expertise. Learning from the successes and challenges shared by seasoned professionals in the field provides valuable lessons that can be applied directly to camp operations. 

Camp-related reading also promotes a sense of community among staff members. Shared knowledge creates a common language and understanding, fostering collaboration and unity. 

As staff delve into the same materials, they cultivate a collective vision for the camp, ensuring that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the camp’s mission, values and objectives.

In essence, staying up-to-date on camp-related reading materials is an investment in professional growth, camper satisfaction and the overall success of the camp community. It empowers staff to navigate challenges with confidence, infuse creativity into their programs and create a camp environment that resonates with the spirit of continuous improvement.

Our top camp reads

In no particular order, here are our favorite reads for camp managers and staff. 

1. “Learning Is in Bloom: Cultivating Outdoor Explorations” by Ruth Wilson

This book includes 40 outdoor activity guides that educators can use to enhance children’s relationship with nature. From mathematical thinking to artistic exploration, this book will supply your counselors and staff with plenty of ideas for kid-centric nature activities. 

2. “The Pendleton Field Guide to Campfire Stories” from Pendleton Woolen Mills

This collection of short stories includes family-friendly tales for sharing around the campfire. Featured authors include naturalists such as Henry David Thoreau and modern authors such as Cheryl Strayed. 

3. “Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown

In this book, well-known author and speaker Brené Brown discusses what it really means to be a leader. She emphasizes empathy, connection and courage – all wonderful qualities to have in a camp staff member. 

4. “Whistling Vivaldi” by Claude M. Steele

This groundbreaking text on stereotypes and how they affect us is a must-read for anyone who works with people – especially children who are still learning about what it means to be part of our society. Steele reviews revealing studies about identity and stereotyping, then shows us how we can mitigate the effects of these harmful ideas.   

5. “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv

Louv’s treatise explores the concept of “nature-deficit disorder,” a term he created to describe the contemporary issue of children being alienated from nature. This book is full of insightful research about the impact of the outdoors on developing minds. 

6. “The New Camp Cookbook” by Linda Ly and Derek Fagerstrom

Elevate your camp culinary skills with “The New Camp Cookbook.” Packed with easy-to-follow recipes and tips for cooking in the great outdoors, this cookbook is a must-read for any camp staff member eager to spice up mealtime.

7. “Punished by Rewards” by Alfie Kohn

In “Punished by Rewards,” Kohn challenges the traditional idea that using positive incentives will create long-lasting behavioral improvements in kids. Instead, he offers new strategies for encouraging obedience without the old “carrot-and-stick” methodology. 

8. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni

Building a cohesive and supportive team is key to a successful camp season. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni uses engaging stories to offer practical strategies for team bonding, communication and conflict resolution, ensuring that your staff is a united force for positive change.

9. “Basic Camp Management” by Armand and Beverly Ball

This guide is pretty exhaustive, covering everything from staffing and organizational charts to budget development and risk management. It’s definitely the longest of our recommendations at a whopping 500 pages, so assign smaller sections to read about what matters most to your staff. 

About CampSite

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