To Camp Professionals:

I am a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) student at the University of Maine and also a 30-year camp professional coming to you with a request. As part of my fieldwork for this degree, I am creating a camper Mental, Emotional, and Social Health (MESH) Tool Kit for ACA, New England to benefit our network of camps. Why? 

At Camp Beech Cliff where I serve as Executive Director, our team piloted a MESH program in 2019 that worked extremely well and changed the way we train our staff, work with our campers, and how we talk to parents. It is a model that was recommended to us from another ACA camp in Pennsylvania and we saw immediate results in how staff interacted with campers having MESH concerns. We created a Chill Zone where campers could spend a short amount of time with our social worker and integrate successfully back into the camp program. The number of campers sent home due to behavioral challenges decreased significantly.

There are many materials available through ACA and the Association of Camp Nurses about the importance of having a MESH Programming and basics of starting a program; my goal is to take this to the next level by creating this Toolkit for camps that will include: 
  • Case studies from a variety of camps that have MESH programs
  • Language for writing a persuasive piece to your board (or camp owner) about adding a MESH program
  • Templates for creating a budget 
  • Sample job descriptions for use in hiring staff to support this program
  • Press release examples
  • Training topics and resources for staff such as videos, webinars, and speakers
  • Q&A about barriers and challenges in starting a MESH program at camps
  • And more!

This is where your help is needed. Please complete this 5-10 minute survey by Friday, December 4, 2020 so that I can learn about your MESH program or reasons for not having one.  Once the information is analyzed, I may want to call your camp to get more information if you are open to this. 

In the spirit of our helping each other as camp professionals, I will be putting this Toolkit together in the spring of 2021 and it will be shared with ACA, New England for your camp’s use. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me: debra@campbeechcliff.org or 207-244-0365. Thank you for your help!

-Deb Deal
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