Westwind at American Camp Association Conference

Janette Kunkel, Matt Taylor, Sarah Keplinger, on the 'Front Porch' at the 2016 ACA Conference

Janette Kunkel, Matt Taylor, Sarah Keplinger, on the ‘Front Porch’ at the 2016 ACA Conference

Greetings from Atlanta!

Westwind’s Program Director (Janette Kunkel), Executive Director (Matt Taylor), and Business Manager (Sarah Keplinger) are attending the American Camp Association (ACA) 2016 National Conference in Atlanta, GA.

This is a chance for Westwind to catch up with peers and learn about latest trends, tools, and topics in the camp world. There is a big exhibit hall (opening tonight) where we engage with vendors who offer the latest in camp products, services, and programs.

The opening speaker yesterday was Scott Barry Kaufman, a professor of psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He was hilarious and inspiring, speaking to the science underpinning creative success and fulfilment. Turns out that camps are among the best experiences for building confidence and fostering creativity in children. He noted how it was a camp (near Philadelphia) that saved him from being labeled ‘slow’ and untalented (turns out he had an auditory processing disorder that relegated him to special education programs until high school; he then graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Carnegie Mellon and received his doctorate from Yale).

As many know, Westwind has long been a refuge for children who feel different or mislabeled. Westwind – as a community and as a place of natural splendor — provides a fertile ground for children to discover themselves and their relationship with the world.

Through this conference and other professional development activities, we are committed to protecting and strengthening Westwind’s traditions of inclusion, and are looking for other tools and services to improve Westwind overall.

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