2017 Tri-State & Association of Independent Jewish Camps (AIJC) Conference
AIJC Piece by Jason Kromirs, Assistant Director
Perlman Camp was represented very well with all 4 full time staff attending American Camp Association Tri-State Camp Conference March 13 – 16 in Atlantic City, NJ.
Rachel, Jason, Abe and Candice also attended the pre-camp conference with other AIJC (Association for Independent Jewish Camps) camp leaders. Perlman Camp is one of 16 camps in AIJC. The organization provides ongoing growth and professional development to its member camps. AIJC frequently hosts webinar’s, conferences and conference calls which allows camp professionals to develop skills and learn new trends in the Jewish camping field.
The AIJC pre-conference was jam-packed with speakers, panels and social events. The first panel was a cadre of high school and college admission staff persons who provided strategies for encouraging staff to remain at camp in positions of leadership. Also, an account manager specializing in customer service at the Borgata hotel spoke about ‘camp hospitality’ and the multitude of stakeholders we are responsible for. The Borgata staff employ a strategy, named the 10/5 rule, which is applicable at camp as well: for any campers or staff we see 10 feet away, a warm smile is a good way of greeting them. For any campers or staff we see 5 feet away, greeting them face to face is appropriate.
After the jam-packed AIJC pre-conferences we immersed ourselves in the general Tri-State camp conference – sharing ideas, attending sessions and networking with over 3,000 camp professionals for all over the world!
TriState Keynote speakers by Candice Goldstein, Judaics Director:
The Keynote speakers at the Tri-State Camp Conference were excellent. The first speaker, Susan Cain, is the author of the book, ‘Quiet’. The title of her presentation was “Quiet Kids: Guiding Introverted Campers In A World That Can’t Stop Talking”. This was a very interesting discussion about how to bring out the best in all campers. She said that world often focused on extroverted children, and introverted children absorb just as much, it’s just a different personality style. It’s not so different than the different styles of learning. Some children are visual, some kinetic, and some auditory (to name a few).
She said that camps often expect campers to act like extroverts, which is often missing the mark to reach half of the camp population. She used many examples to show the difference between an introvert and extrovert. For example, an introvert and an extrovert both might go to a party. After two hours, the introvert might be ready to go home but was having just as much as fun as the extrovert. It’s really about how your recharge your battery. Cain said that it is important to understand the introverted child and help them meet their potential. She discussed how we create a camp culture where both the introverts and extroverts can thrive.
I had an unbelievable experience at my first Tri-State conference this year. I learned many valuable things to be brought back home to Perlman and met so many other people who have dedicated their lives to the world of camping. I learned way too much in all the sessions to share here so I will just touch on a few of my favorites. One that really struck close to my heart was the session It’s the Nature of Things, by Stephen Maguire. In this session tons of cool, new, and innovative ways to improve the nature program at camp. The topics ranged from ornithology and tree identification to astronomy and meteorology. I am hoping to integrate some of these new fields into our nature program this summer and for summers to come. Two more session that I will take back to camp with me this summer were the Philosophy of Play, and Fun Forging Friendship by Jim Cain and Michael Brandwein respectively. In these sessions I learned tons of fun new games that I just can not wait to bring back to Perlman for summer 2017. Overall I had an unbelievable experience at Tri-State and am looking forward to attending in years to come.