This past week, CampHacker had the good fortune to attend the Tri-State Camping Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world and offered countless opportunities for directors, owners, board members, nurses and camp staff to connect with colleagues from all over the world.
There were over 150 educational sessions, more than 250 exhibitors, over 600 camps and 3000 individuals. Tri-State offered sessions on business, campers, community, operations, programme and activities, staff leadership, and streams for newcomers and veterans. We discussed everything from budgets, marketing and promotions to technology, fundraising and the economy. We struggled with topics like working with youth, bullying, gossip, behavioural challenges and special needs. We gathered to hear about parents, boards and donors, volunteers, agencies and alumni. We learned about insurance, facility maintenance, emergency planning and health management. We shared ideas on leadership theory and practice, vision and ethics, community building and establishing - or changing - camp culture.
And if that wasn’t enough, there was always the Social Media Lounge (brought to us by theONswitch, Camp Rightsleeve and MyColorWar). New to the conference this year, we could stop by to chat with a seasoned ‘therapist’ to get free help and consultation on social media marketing.
And when all the formal learning was done, we did what camp people do best - we played. At the Exhibit Hall, we stopped by the Interactive Zone and experienced the latest and greatest in today’s camp products. We played some three-on-three basketball, enjoyed some paddle games on the multi-court, and dodged the ball with our fellow attendees in the Conference Ga-Ga Pit! Attendees could choose from 3 great dinners on the town and three fun free social events planned for the evening hours.
As CampHackers, we not only participated as attendees but also recorded so much of the event in photos and on audio and video. We recorded a podcast directly from the Conference with our guest, Scott Arizala. We were able to interview presenters like Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids and Nancy Shenker of theONswitch. We were even privileged enough to spend some time with Seth Godin, bestselling author, blogger, entrepreneur, and a former camper at Camp Arowhon, and Jean Kilbourne, internationally recognized author, speaker and filmmaker. Those were amazing moments.
And just like camp, we ended each day exhausted but invigorated. We are so grateful for the insights and ideas of the presenters, the deals and products of the exhibitors, and the camaraderie of our fellow camp professionals.
We’d like to thank the exceptional group of individuals who made this dynamic experience possible. See you next March!