Community, Conversation, Creative Thinking

GrowING together


Hey you! Yeah, you! You sound like a passionate camp pro.  You know a lot but desperately want more, you believe in the power of powerful experiences to grow individuals and communities, and you want to push yourself on what is possible through camp. 

The Summer Camp Society is a community learning program for people like you.  It’s where fresh-thinking camp professionals from all over the country (and the world) can gather online and in-person to learn, philosophize, solve problems, and get better at our jobs...all so we can make more impact.

None of us have all the answers, but together we have a lot more. 

Questions? Send Kurtz an email


Thank you to our program sponsors

campminder logo.png
outfit your logo.jpg

"The Summer Camp Society is a fantastic opportunity to meet people, brainstorm new ideas, receive mentoring from some awesome humans, and geek out about Camp, which is every camp person’s favorite activity. 10/10 would recommend to every Camp professional I know!” 

Alice Haefeli, Program Director 
Camp Wingate*Kirkland (Massachusetts)



3 Programs

For Different Experience Levels


Emerging Leaders Semester

Program Option 1

Camp leadership and community for new-ish camp professionals. This semester is perfect for folks who have fewer than 10 years of experience running camp. It's also great for experienced seasonal leaders who are  looking for their first year round job at camp. Like all our programs, we focus on community building, conversation, and creative thinking over the "right answers".

The retreat will be November 20-22 at Howell Nature Center in Michigan! Participants will be assigned cohort groups and will meet online for hourlong facilitated discussions for the five weeks before the conference.

fall 2019 facilitators:

Anna Hopkins, Sarah Kurtz McKinnon, peter drews & Jack Schott



Advanced Leadership Semester*

program option 2

*Prerequisite: completion of camp leadership semester

Join us as we dig deeper, explore even more complex topics, problem-solve together, build closer relationships, and push ourselves to constantly improve. We will have interactive challenges, guest collaborators, and lots of somebody-somethings. Participants are welcome to repeat this semester up to three times as topics and activities will cycle. We will offer two options this fall: Fundraising Deep Dive and Camp Controversies.

The retreat will be November 20-22 at Howell Nature Center in Michigan!

Fall 2019 facilitators:

Sarah Kurtz McKinnon, jason smith and Jack Schott

$499 (includes one online program + conference registration)


Executive Semester

Program option 3 - spring Program

the buck mostly stops with you

You have enough experience to have perspective but have a constant drive to innovate and improve. You are thinking not just days ahead but decades down the road. As the world changes, so must camp—and you’re one of the people who has the potential to push our industry forward. You’re ready to explore new ideas and challenges with other people who are also ready to listen, learn, and experiment. No prerequisite required, but this program is aimed at leaders who have jobs like executive director, owner/operator, and operations director—who are ready to share their acquired wisdom AND innovate.

online program


The Structure



1) Five weekly collaborative online meetings  each with a learning theme.

2) Weekly real life projects/experiments that will help you learn and help your camp improve.

3) Personal development and individual coaching.

4) In-person conference with 2.5 days of workshops, innovation and camaraderie. This year’s retreat will be from November 20-22, 2019, at an awesome camp less than 1 hour away from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

5) A lifelong community of fellow dynamic camp professionals



  • Develop a foundation of best practices in camp management

  • Lead with confidence in ambiguous situations

  • Build a professional network of industry contacts

  • Gain fluency in the business side of camp

  • Think critically about camp structures and philosophies

  • Better serve kids and the greater camp community



  • Hiring: From Pitfalls to Best Practices

  • Camper Recruitment

  • Making Management Decisions

  • Networking in the Camping World

  • Facility Management 101

  • Racial Diversity at Camp

  • Working with Parents

  • Tough Conversations with Staff

  • Finding and Utilizing a Mentor

  • Youth Development Philosophy

  • Developing Junior Leaders


The Nitty Gritty

Dates, Rates, Schedule



Tuition covers all expenses except travel to and from the conference:

  • Camp Leadership Semester: $699

  • Advanced Leadership Semester: $499

Fall 2019 SCHEDULE

  • Five weekly, online sessions starting the week of September 30 (1 hour/week; participants preference the time slots that work for them on application)

  • A one-on-one personal coaching session (1 hour) with a facilitator of your choice, scheduled at your convenience during the semester


Here’s how you can join us!

1. Apply online.  Applications are due for Spring 2019 by Monday, September 16.

2. Once your application is reviewed, you will be contacted to set up a phone interview during the week of September 16 at the latest.

3. Acceptances will be sent via email on Friday, September 20.

4. Participants will enroll by Friday, September 27.

5. Online sessions start the week of September 30.