Recap of A+DEN Network Meeting, May 15

At this meeting, representatives from 11 organizations (for a list of participants click here) across the AAO Network convened a call to discuss planning for virtual summer design camps. The following resources were shared amongst participants:

Participants also collectively compiled a Google Sheet outlining basic plans and capacity for camp offerings among the A+DEN organizations represented on the call. This is a handy reference for benchmarking and to see if there are specific individuals with whom you might connect for more conversation, as they might be developing camp components similar to yours. For access to this resource, please email

The American Camp Association has been out front on developing and communicating guidelines for gathering youth either in person or virtually this summer amidst COVID-19. Just this week they released some rather comprehensive guidelines for in-person camps, developed in concert with a reputable environmental health organization and following CDC guidelines. You can access it here.

The CDC has issued preliminary guidance for staff considering the re-opening of community centers for learning, such as K-12 schools and summer day camps. The document can be found here.

During the call, three topics emerged where the A+DEN participants are still looking for quality resources, sample documents, and advice from fellow educators. (If you come across additional resources or have information worth sharing, please do send it out to all included on the attendees list above, or email us at and we can pass it along for you):

Legal advice: Including sample language for a participant waiver for online programs, guidelines around the copyright and usage rules of what is shared/used/generated during an online session, and applicability of Child Abuse Training for remote programming.

Orientation (i.e., setting up both caregivers and students for success): Suggestions included the provision of daily materials list, packet, and checklist--some organizations are even mailing out physical supply packets to their students (or setting up curbside pick-up so students can get the necessary supplies). If you can document how you are doing this, or take a picture of your supply kits, it could be instructive for your fellow educators.

Keeping the spirit of hands-on learning alive and well: Suggestions included asking parents to take photos of learning in process, before/after photos, etc. and then sharing out students’ progress throughout the work day or project duration; this helps with student motivation and praise and helps them see their classmates’ work. Some educators are holding online "office hours," so students can pop in and out to receive more personalized feedback; others are creating a daily journals or even blogs with images, descriptions, vocab, and questions for caregivers to ask students to heighten engagement. And breakout rooms are key for getting the students to encounter, interact, and really listen to one another. Any and all additional advice whether it’s a big idea or a little one, please keep it coming!

As for next steps, we will schedule a next meet-up in a few weeks’ time, so be on the lookout for an announcement on that soon—we will post the date/time in our next monthly newsletter in early June.

At that next meeting, we can share everyone’s progress and early experiences in planning their virtual summer camps. It might be interesting to see if anyone is also starting to consider the possibility/feasibility/cost effectiveness of bringing in-person walking tours or limited outdoor classroom activities into their overall programming portfolios, as public confidence in outdoor programming may soon grow while indoor activities are likely to have limited capacity for some time to come.