Sleepaway Camps Permitted to Open in CA!

We received good news this week. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has included “sleepaway camps” (resident camps like GAC) in businesses that are permitted to open (with COVID restrictions in place) this summer in counties that are in red, orange, or yellow tiers. The Director of CDPH also told a group of camp leaders that we can expect guidelines for resident camps by the end of this month.

Unless an unlikely shift occurs in COVID-19 transmission rates in Fresno County, Gold Arrow Camp will be permitted to operate this summer. However, until we receive the state guidelines for sleepaway camps, we still don’t know the specific procedures we will need to follow this summer, and we won’t have all those details until the guidelines are released. 

We are encouraged by reports of increased vaccine availability and the dramatic drop in COVID-19 transmission rates across California. We are optimistic that these trends will continue and will lead to eased restrictions and a return to more normalcy for all. Our US summer camp staff have been included in the CDC tier with education and childcare workers, and most of our staff will be fully vaccinated before camp starts. 

We appreciate your continued patience and flexibility. While we would love to provide you with all the details about modifications we will be required to make this summer, we cannot do so until we have the guidelines. Be assured that GAC will continue to meet the highest standards in the industry for our camper and staff members’ health and safety.

Head to our COVID-19 update for updated answers to FAQ families have about camp this summer.

2021 Dance Themes!

One of the highlights of each session is our camp dance. We don’t know exactly what the dance will look like this year, but we do know that it will still be an awesome time!

Dances feature favorite group dances, like Footloose and Tragedy. There’s also our photo booth for some pictures with friends, special snacks and drinks like the “Soy Rogers” and “Shirley Chipmunk,” and a wide selection of games for those campers that prefer playing over dancing.

Each of our dances has a theme, and campers and staff are encouraged to dress up to match the theme. Some people bring costumes from home, while others improvise using their clothes or making something at Arts & Crafts. Whatever you choose to do, we know you’ll have a great time at our dances.

This year’s dance themes are:

June Shaver Specialty: Hollywood

Come as your favorite celebrity or dress to impress as one of your favorite movie characters for this fun SoCal themed party!

Session 1: Pirates

Shiver me timbers matey! Session 1 campers will be walking the plank to fun with their peg-legs, eye patches, and other pirate accessories.

Session 2: Groovy Hippies and Tie-Dye

Let’s have some far-out fun in Session 2, when we enjoy the dance with our best hippie costumes, or your tie-dyed favorites.

Session 3: Halloween

Having a hard time coming up with a costume for Session 3’s Halloween dance? Any costume will do as we celebrate the one night of the year when people love costumes as much as we do on dance night.

Session 4: Winter Wonderland

It’ll be the end of August, but we’re going to dress like a blizzard is on the way for our Winter Wonderland dance for Session 4.

Mini Camp and August Shaver Specialty: Candy Land

It’s a night for sweet treats as we end the summer with a dance celebrating candy, or the board game Candy Land!

March GATA Webinar

For this month’s Gold Arrow Teacher Academy (GATA) webinar on Wednesday, March 10 at 5pm PT/8pm ET, we are focusing on Growing Grit!

Grit, which is another word to describe the important character trait of “resilience,” is predictive of student well-being and success. In this webinar, we’ll cover ideas and strategies for helping students grow the grit muscles they need to thrive both in and out of school.

We know from decades of research that one of the most useful predictors of student success is how persistent they are when faced with a problem. This was catapulted into the public conversation by Angela Duckworth and her groundbreaking research on grit. Many of you have probably seen her TED talk in a professional development meeting! In this webinar, we’ll share what we’ve learned about teaching kids to develop grit at camp and share ideas for how you can help kids develop grit and how you can recognize kids for using grit in your classroom.

This webinar is free for all GATA members! If you are not yet a GATA member, you can join here or register just for the webinar here. Even if you’re not able to attend the live webinar on Wednesday, you’ll be able to access the recorded webinar and the accompanying resources.


Soy’s Well-Deserved Recognition

We are so lucky to have such amazing staff at Gold Arrow Camp, and every so often they are recognized for their incredible work outside of GAC. We want to take this opportunity to congratulate our very own Andy “Soy” Moeschberger on being awarded not one, not two, but three awards this year! He has worked so hard on many projects, especially legislative work to keep camps running and at the forefront of discussions amongst our political leaders. His work does not go unnoticed and we are so glad that it was noticed on a national level!

Grant Gerson Service Award – WAIC (Western Association of Independent Camps)
-The Grant Gerson WAIC Service Award pays tribute to those who make an extraordinary contribution to WAIC and to the advancement of the camp movement, and who have played an important role in the success of the association.

Southern California/Hawaii Service Award – ACA SoCal/Hawaii (American Camp Association)
-The Service Award is given as recognition to exceptional service to camping and the local area.

National Service Award – ACA (American Camp Association)
-This Service Award is designed to recognize continued and increasing service beyond the field/affiliate office level.

National Day of Unplugging

We invite all of our friends and family to join Gold Arrow Camp in participating in the National Day of Unplugging from sundown on March 5 to sundown on March 6. This time of being unplugged is a movement to encourage people to get a “24-hour respite from technology.” If you have experienced a summer at GAC then you know the importance of unplugging and connecting face-to-face, which is why we don’t allow cell phones at camp.

The National Day of Unplugging encourages people to use 24 hours free from technology to connect with “ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.” Wow. That sounds an awful lot like camp. We love the idea of unplugging (just for a little bit) at home so that we can reforge the kind of connections there that we forge at camp, where we’re totally free from the burden of technology.

You can join us in celebrating by pledging to #unplug on social media, sharing this news story, or even planning an unplugged event with your family! You could have an old-fashioned dinner party, spend that Saturday working on puzzles or playing board games. If you need more ideas, check out the NDU 2021 Ideas List and sign up to become a FREE member!

If you have plans to unplug, please tag us in those on your social media. We’d love to share your plans (and what you did, after the fact, of course) on our social media!

Strength Spotting: Becoming Your Best Self

We are excited to be able to offer some of the friendship and fun from camp in a new setting – Outschool! Gold Arrow Camp has recently become a partner organization with Outschool in order to teach our own courses on their platform. Outschool is a wonderful marketplace that offers live online classes for children. There is a variety of over 100,000 live online classes to choose from and we are thrilled to offer one of those (& hopefully many more soon)!

Our first course offering, Strength Spotting: Becoming Your Best Self, includes some of the most popular activities from our Junior Counselor workshop on character strengths and was also a well-received part of our online camp sessions last summer. Led by long-time year-round staffer and strengths guru Delta, the course helps kids identify their strengths and learn to lean into them as they navigate school, friendships, and life. It’s a one-hour course that promises to be exciting and social.

If you would like to sign up for our character strengths course, use this link to get a $20 credit toward your first Outschool enrollment. Once you sign up with Outschool, the credit will automatically be applied to your first course. Check out all of the great academic and non-academic courses offered on Outschool, and we’ll let you know when we have more of our courses available for you.

We hope to see you in one of our upcoming strengths courses!

New GAC Program – GACpacking!

Does your camper enjoy backpacking and hiking in nature? If so, this program is a wonderful way to do all of that and more. GACpacking provides an introduction to backpacking skills and life on the trail in a fun and compact one-week trip. Our GACpacking program is designed to serve as a bridge between the one-night backpacking experience offered as a regular part of our camp program and the Outdoor Leadership Course. On the trail, our hikers will have the opportunity to prepare their own meals, practice map and compass navigation, apply Leave No Trace principles and ethics, participate in sustainable backcountry living, and study wildlife biology. Each day there will also be time for reflection, dialogue, and discussion.

For more information about the GACpacking program, please visit or email with any questions.

Bring more connection, fun, & social emotional growth to your school this year with GATA!


The webinars are great reminders of super valuable information that I’ve heard/read over the years. I love the chance to apply this information in a new teaching role. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow with like-minded people.

-Abbey, Teacher & GATA Member

This school year, GAC Directors are bringing the trainings we do with counselors each summer to educators all across the country through GATA (Gold Arrow Teacher Academy) and through custom professional development webinars for schools. Gold Arrow’s entire director team has children of their own (currently ranging in age from 4-26), and most of us were teachers before or while working at camp. Supporting children by providing teachers with training and support to create positive, connected classrooms is a natural use of our skills and experiences (and is super fun for us).

If you’re looking for a personalized, engaging professional development workshop for your school team, get in touch. We’d love to create an upbeat workshop geared specifically to the needs of the students and teachers at your school. Contact us and let us know what you’re interested in.

GATA resources have been developed based over years of training our counselors and have been implemented successfully by GATA members over first half of this school year to support students’ social and emotional well-being.

The topics we’re covering in GATA include:

Creating Connections
Celebrating Strengths
Cultivating Character

You – or your whole school – can join GATA to have immediate access to the engaging and easily implementable SEL activities that address the social and emotional well-being of students and teachers.

New GATA members have immediate access to our past resources, can join live (or access later) all of our upcoming webinars, and receive weekly PDFs with low or no-prep activities that work virtually or live.


Join GATA now for only $65 (individual members – can be gifted to teachers) or $750 for a school membership (up to 20 educators, plus a 60-minute custom professional development training).

(Non-members can purchase single webinar access.)

8+ Activities to Foster Online Classroom Connections (Watch this webinar for FREE to get an idea of the style of our webinars).

• Creating a Positive Classroom Culture

• Coaching Students to Better Collaboration & Communication

• Personal Growth & Connection Activities for Students

• Creating a Strengths-Focused Classroom


Activities to Foster Online Classroom Connections (FREE sample PDF)

Questions for Classroom Connection

Creating a Positive Classroom Culture

Songs & Videos

Build Positivity & Optimism in Your Students

Guess Who

Jokes & Riddle

Teaching Kids Better Communication & Collaboration

Rules & Language of Collaboration

Create an Animal

Chill Music for Your Class

Coaching Students to Better Listening


Autonomy & Problem Solving

Kindness Bingo

Filling Buckets

Personal Growth & Connection Activities

Friendship Bingo

Creating a Strengths-Focused Classroom

Inner Strengths

Encourage the educators at your school to join GATA for support, connection and fun SEL resources for teachers and students!

Questions? Get in touch with us to discuss your school’s SEL professional development needs!

I Heart Camp Day is February 1st!

We invite our GAC families and friends to join us in celebrating I Heart Camp Day on Monday, February 1st! If you’re nervous that you don’t have any I Heart Camp decorations and haven’t been invited to a big I Heart Camp Day block party, don’t worry! Celebrating this day doesn’t require a trip to the party store. It just requires you to love camp and to be willing to share that love.

Just take a picture of yourself holding a sign that says “I Heart Camp” (you could use the picture at the top of this story if you need inspiration) and then post it on your favorite social media on February 1st. Tag us (@goldarrowcamp) and use the hashtag #IHeartCamp. We’ll share our favorites on our accounts! We love seeing everyone from staff to campers to alumni to parents getting involved!

One Word

For each of us, 2020 held a lot of different moments and emotions. We have now entered 2021, which is a great time to sit back and reflect on all that was last year. Audrey “Sunshine” Monke, GAC’s Chief Visionary Officer, shares with us an activity that your entire family can do together that encourages everyone to choose one word that will help to provide guidance, inspiration, and direction for the year.

On her website (Sunshine Parenting) and her podcast, Sunshine shares many resources to encourage family time and reflection, among many other useful topics for parents. To access those resources, sign up to receive her weekly emails or subscribe to her podcast.