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!


Dan Weir's Linkedin profile.




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Summer Camp & Comedy

Watch this skit by comedians Kristen Schall and Kurt Braunohler. This is summer camp!



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


How to Write the Perfect Text Ad for Pay Per Click Advertising 

Recently I wrote a guest blog post for Erick Naftulin's blog How to Market Your Summer Camp.  The piece is titled "How to Write the Perfect Text Ad for Pay Per Click Advertising."  A lot of my knowledge comes from when I worked for an internet advertising firm in the early 2000s.  Click here to check it out.


Two pieces in "Trail Heads"

Today is an exciting day! The long awaited e-book compiled by Nathan Brant launched today. It is titled "Trail Heads: Thoughts from the Camping Profession."

I submitted two pieces for this book.  One piece about how summer camps has been an expert in squashing bullying without knowing it.  The second piece was about how technology and camp can live together, but it is up to the camp director on how that will be achieved.  

Please check it out! 



Quoted in Hudson Valley Magazine

Recently I was quoted in an article about Frost Valley YMCA in Hudson Valley Magazine's 2011 Summer Programs issue.  Here you go!

Frost Valley YMCA

Summer sleep-away camp holds a special place in the hearts and imaginations of many Americans. Even those who never attended have surely gotten the gist from movies like The Parent Trap, Camp Nowhere, or Little Darlings. In between arts and crafts and toasting marshmallows, there’s a lot of growing up that happens at summer camp, while the hijinks and heartbreaks of bunk wars and first crushes make for one-of-a-kind memories. Deep in the heart of the Catskills, Frost Valley YMCA has been providing these experiences to kids from the tristate area and abroad for more than 100 years.

As a YMCA camp, Frost Valley is based on shared principles of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility, in addition to abiding by its own credo of community, diversity, inclusiveness, and stewardship. According to Director of Camping Services Dan Weir, besides hosting children from various socioeconomic, cultural, and educational backgrounds, the camp accepts those with developmental and learning disabilities, and with high-maintenance medical conditions. “We accept all kids,” he says, “and that creates a really nice environment.”

Roughly 2,300 kids passed through a Frost Valley summer program last year. Sessions offered include a girls-only equestrian camp, a residential farm camp, and a teen adventure program. The sleep-away camp — which entails separate programs for grades two through seven and grades eight through 10 — runs in four two-week sessions. “It can take several days to get adjusted, so two weeks allows three to five days to settle in and then the rest of the time just flies by,” says Weir. Despite the large number of campers, Frost Valley provides an intimate experience by separating kids into “villages” — communities of cabins which each house eight to 10 children and two counselors. “The cabin counselors do everything with the kids,” says Weir. “They are the mother, father, caretaker, best friend. This structure gives camp a family feel, and also makes sure the campers are being supervised adequately.”

Frost Valley offers a wide variety of activities, including animal-interaction lessons, trail building, kayaking, swimming, hiking, and other sports. “We have something for every type of child,” says Weir, noting that there are also special music or theater endeavors. “The power of the residential camp experience is that you get to be what you want to be. You may feel pigeonholed at home, but you can start from scratch at camp.”

More than 70 percent of both staff and campers return to Frost Valley year after year, a statistic Weir happily touts. “There are amazing social skills that happen here. Kids make really strong, lifelong friendships,” Weir says. And he surely knows what he’s talking about. After all, he says, “I met my wife here.”

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