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New Spirituality Research Initiative
RAC has long been active within ACA in promoting outcomes research. In recent years, ACA research has focused on the value of the camp experience in the positive development of young people. The Youth Camp Outcomes Battery currently offers camps measures that focus on ten outcomes common to the camp experience. The statistically-tested questionnaires are camp specific, age-appropriate, easily administered tools that can be individualized to any camp.
The original 2007 landmark "Directions" study reported significant camper growth along four domains: Positive Identity, Social Skills, Physical & Thinking Skills, and Positive Values & Spirituality. The spirituality results, predictably, were stronger among religiously-affiliated camps. At this time, ACA and RAC are embarking on new research which will provide a tool for camp leaders to measure spirituality outcomes. While anecdotally we know that the camp experience is spiritually enriching, the outcomes battery will help to quantify pre- and post-camp measures of spirituality.
With sponsorship from RAC, ACA and the University of Utah research team will design the new measure this summer focusing specifically on the spirituality dimension. Five religiously-affiliated camps will participate in the pilot testing/analysis phase during the 2010 summer camp season. The new measure, slated to be ready by the 2011 summer camp season, will be usable by faith-based or secular camps. As in the past, ACA will design downloadable Excel templates for analyzing survey data so that you can create your own camp-specific statistics. At RAC, we are glad to play a role in developing this valuable resource.