Fight For The Right To Camp

Editor’s Note

Rick Braschler

This year we thought we’d shake things up and let a “Guest Editor” take a whack at programming an issue of their choice—from their perspective. This issue, Rick Braschler of Kanakuk Kamps reminisces about the “old days” in the industry and provides an aquatic programming idea that is sure to be a hit at any camp.

Next month, Todd Lennig of YMCA Camp Timbers in West Branch, Mich., takes a look at waterfront programming and shares his knowledge on the topic.

To let us know what you think, or to add ideas of your own, log on to .

Ten years ago, my career took a decidedly different turn as I left the confined spaces of corporate America to breathe in the fresh air of the camping and outdoor recreation industry.

While always a sports and outdoor enthusiast, I had yet to combine my career path in risk and safety management with my passion for camping and the great outdoors.

Today, while my industry colleagues strain to get an office with a glimpse of daylight, I am afforded an office landscaped in mountain bike trails, white-water rapids, challenge courses and soccer fields. Life is good, indeed!

I grew up attending camp in central Missouri, located on the Lake of the Ozarks. It was a traditional, old-school camp experience with a baseball field, one bath house, an outdoor chapel and a small swim dock. It didn’t take much back then for a group of kids to find enough to keep us busy.

Nowadays, camps are full of new gadgets and activities that often compete with theme parks and carnivals in an attempt to be relevant to today’s youth culture.

Perhaps it’s the nostalgia talking, but I often miss the good ole’ days when camp was simply camping, and the escape offered was more valuable than the excitement found.

2013 is a big year for camping in America. Many of the battle lines have been drawn, and the fight for the right to camp is on. Reports of Colorado’s vanishing landscape to large-lot development threatens camp land access, while Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court challenges a camp’s non-profit tax-exempt status.

However, with more than 8 million kids still attending summer camps, the need is great, and camp leaders are more educated and prepared than ever before. So, as the inaugural guest editor for the Jan/Feb issue of Camp Business in 2013, I say the best is yet to come!

Rick Braschler

Director of Risk Management

Kanakuk Kamps