About Dan


Dan Weir has been working in youth development & summer camp for over 20 years. He is a host on the CampHacker Podcast, volunteers at with American Camp Association NY-NJ & the New York State Camp Directors Association, and works at the YMCA of Long Island. He tweets at @danlovescamp.



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Leaving your mark

Last week I went on a tour of two great camps - Becket Chimney Corners YMCA & YMCA Camp Coniston.  Both camps have a retention rate that would put other summer camps to shame. 

I noticed they had a few qualities in common.  One was how their campers were able to leave their mark in the cabin.  Both camps allowed each cabin group to make a sign for their session.  Those signs decorated and painted by campers, hung proudly each cabin.

Campers must love coming back after a long school year to find their name on last year's cabin  untouched.  They had campers decorate on a separate piece of wood to hang in cabin so it wouldn't just appear like grafitti.  

It's a tradition I'm considering starting at my camp.  Do you let your campers leave their mark?


Chimney Corners

Camp Coniston

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Reader Comments (4)

What a great idea. I love creative ideas like this that become even more valuable over time.

I would love to be able to go back to my camp and see a sign with my name and the names of my cabinmates. If nothing else so I could remember their names and make fun of the '90s aesthetic that would have made its way onto the sign.

September 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I think it's a great idea! I have seen it work in lots of camps.

Our camp has an 80 year tradition of plaques for each summer in the dining hall but nothing in the cabins.

I think that a cabin sign would also help cut down on graffiti.

September 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTravis Allison

In 2007 I brought my son to Becket for his third year. We moved into his cabin - which was my cabin when I was an 18 year-old first-time counselor in 1984 - and found the cabin signs I'd made with my campers back in the day. He asked, 'Is that your signature from when you were a counselor?' And I quietly answered, 'Yes.' What a powerful and utterly cool moment that was.

October 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDon Jennings

This is a great idea! We have a building that is painted in huge part by our members. Different summer camps have painted murals on walls and decorated bulletin boards. Kids who win behavior awards have their handprints, name/date on the wall. One girl even had her girl scout troop come in and paint our bathrooms!

It is really great to see how much pride the kids have in what they have created. No one would think to vandalize those walls because they were painted by their friend or their favorite staff.


January 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Brenda

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