Camp for the Camping Professionals: Atlantic City for EPIC & Tri-State Conferences!
The Conference is the big event that signals that camp is right around the corner – under 100 days to be exact. It’s an opportunity to network and share information that always encourages each of us as camp professionals to learn together and broaden our skills. It is the most important “off-season” event for camp professionals, camp staff, youth development professionals, and “out of school” experiential educators. We attened educational sessions, found new products and services and best of all, got to spend time with like minded people who are dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children.
EPIC & Tri-State
The EPIC (Emerging Professionals in Camping) and Tri State Camp Conferences are also the largest volunteer driven conference in America. We like to think of this conference as ‘Camp for us, the Camping Professionals.’ As a community we are challenged to do the same things we ask our campers to do: participate, meet new people, attend a type of session you have never attended before and take risks and try new things. There are dozens of different seminars happening simultaneously during any given moment on any given day. Anything ranging from new programmatic ideas to capital projects to customer service to ice-breaker games for staff. SRCC’s very own Executive Director, Jay. S Jacobs presented sessions on Leadership & Tragedy at Camp. The seminars’ purpose is to give Camp Directors and their leadership teams new perspectives and ideas for the upcoming summer. As a community, we really promote our ideas, and share practices to make all camper’s experiences at camp the best they can be. We also enjoy walking through the exhibit hall and getting an opportunity to chat with vendors about different products and services that can help make each summer better for our families – we’re always keeping our eyes open for the next big thing!
Each year the conference is bookended by the Opening and Closing Keynote Sessions. Each year it gets harder and harder to top the last, but this year, we really think the ACA scored big time!
This year’s closing Keynote was delivered by Former First Lady & Former Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton. Clinton spoke to thousands of camp directors and year round camp staff, attending the conference. She was relaxed, warm, funny and relatable. She discussed her experiences sending Chelsea off to sleepaway camp, spoke of her own childhood when she reminisced about how her mother instilled in her tenacity during a bullying incident, and about how every child needs a ‘Champion’ and the role in which camp counselors can play in becoming this for children that go to camp. She raved about how camps provide “the essential building blocks for young people” and exposing children to different races, religions and cultural perspectives, and about how we should have camp for adults – how many of our staff and parents would like to see that!?!
Before ending, Clinton sat down for an ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ style chat with our own very Executive Director, Jay Jacobs, Director of Timber Lake Camp and also Chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Party on Long Island. As a final touch of gratitude from the camping community, Jay S. Jacobs then handed her a gray sweatshirt emblazoned with “Camp David”. Check out this video to see more!