About Dan

Dan Weir is the Director of Camping Services at Frost Valley YMCA, a host on the CampHacker Podcast, sports a beard, online way too much. He writes about summer camp and youth development.  He tweets (look below!) at @danlovescamp.

Dan Weir also writes at Unplug at Camp!


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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 (3)

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

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