Camping Magazine Articles
The Camp Experience: Being ALL That We Can Be
M. Deborah Bialeschki, Ph.D., and Marge Scanlin, Ed.D.
Provides the background for a youth development outcomes project, a brief summary of the initial results, and some information on how you can become involved in a similar process.
Do You Know What Your Outcomes Are? The Impact of Oregon 4-H Residential Camp Programs on Positive Youth Development
Mary Olszewski Arnold, Ph.D., Virginia D. Bourdeau, and Janet Nagele
A summary of research done at Oregon 4-H residential camp programs to evaluate positive youth development outcomes.
Beginning with the End: Day Camp Training by Design
Barry A. Garst, Ph.D., and Linda Grier Pulliam
Describes a real-life example of day camps identifying desired outcomes (and the evaluation process for assessing progress towards desired outcomes) at the beginning of the planning process, and achieving the desired outcomes by purposefully linking program content and teaching methods to the expected outcomes.
Book and DVD Resources
American Camp Association
Offers a seven-step process for program evaluation to help you increasing positive youth outcomes. Learn how to evaluate current programs and targeted youth outcomes, involve administrators and board members, incorporate your new-found data in future programs, write goals and outcomes that match your mission, help staff understand their role in achieving the youth outcomes your camp targets, and turn your targeted youth outcomes into a camp asset. This book/CD-ROM also available as an e-Institute course. 
Play It, Measure It: Experiences Designed to Elicit Specific Youth Outcomes  
Mark F. Roark and Faith Evans
A terrific resource for leaders wanting to determine the results of activities that target specific developmental youth outcomes. This unique book/CD-ROM package provides all the tools necessary in facilitating and measuring key youth developmental outcomes. With step-by-step activity instructions and over 40 digital resources, leaders are fully equipped with all the tools for activities sure to elicit friendship skills, teamwork, and affinity for exploration.
Deb Bialeschki and Laurie Browne
Provides an overview of the ACA Camp Outcomes surveys and the analysis templates that camp professionals can use to properly interpret their campers’ information. The DVD features specific examples of straightforward, easy-to-use outcome measures that camp professional can employ to evaluate the impact of their programs.
Jim Sibthorp and Laurie Browne
While camp staff are well aware that campers benefit from their time at camp, more and more often, they must provide evidence of these perceived outcomes to their stakeholders. This DVD explains how to use the assessment tools developed by ACA. It also reviews how to integrate assessment in the effort to provide high quality camp experiences. In addition, the DVD details how to employ these tools to tell a truly powerful “because of camp” story.
Outcome-based programming in summer camp is easier to objectively evaluate for activities, such as swimming and archery, for example than it is for faith-formation sessions. Through interactive sharing of success stories, this DVD explores how to better use curriculum to plan for, implement, and celebrate positive faith-forming outcomes in summer camp. The DVD is designed to serve as a resource for all faith-based camps that are seeking to grow campers spiritually.
Attention to detail and accountability are keys to the ability of camps to bring out the best in their activity instructors, as well as all of their program offerings. Raising the Bar in Activity Instruction discusses steps that camps can undertake to implement a systemic overhaul of their activity programs. The DVD explains why such an overhaul may be necessary and how it can lead to better instruction, enhanced feedback, and long-lasting results.
Research and Tools
ACA Youth Outcomes Battery
Provides measures that focus on youth outcomes common to the camp experience. The statistically tested questionnaires are camp specific, age-appropriate, easily administered tools that can be individualized to your camp. Outcomes measures available for purchase include Affinity for Nature, Friendship Skills, Problem-Solving Confidence, and more.
For use with the ACA Youth Outcomes Battery:
- ACA Youth Outcomes Analysis Tools: An excel-based free downloadable template to help guide the analysis process when collecting outcome data with the ACA Youth Outcomes Battery.
- ACA Youth Outcomes Battery Norms: These preliminary norms for the Basic format of the Youth Outcomes Battery provide comparison points for YOB scores.
ACA Report: Directions
Presents national research conducted by ACA to determine the outcomes of the camp experience as expressed by parents and children.
ACA Report: Inspirations
Presents national research conducted by ACA to determine the degree to which developmental supports and opportunities for positive youth development were reported/received by campers.
ACA Report: Innovations
Presents national research conducted by ACA to learn what strategies and approaches help strengthen the experiences of youth in four important developmental areas: supportive relationships, safety (emotional and physical), youth involvement (including decision making and leadership), and skill building.
Youth program providers are increasingly asked to identify specific programs outcomes and to justify resources, funding, and support. Based on ACA’s Creating Positive Youth Outcomes workbook, this course teaches program staff how to intentionally target positive youth outcomes using a series of simple steps. Exercises, guiding questions, and camp-specific examples will help you think about, identify, and design your program to meet and achieve positive youth outcomes. This online course also available as a book/CD-ROM. 
If you believe your program offers a quality experience for your participants but also think doing even better is ideal, this course is for you. Designing Quality Youth Programs takes you through an eight step process focused on a rewarding journey of organizational improvement that recognizes each setting is different, every program is unique, and each improvement requires a targeted set of strategies. This online course also available as a book/CD-ROM.