Camp-School Partnership Survey

The Camp-School Partnership Survey was distributed to 2,400+ ACA camps between December 2009 to January 2010 to better understand how the camp community intersects with the school community. This critical information was needed to position the camp community and increase our value proposition around educational reform, the kinds of settings that contribute to the development of children, the opportunities that best help children learn, and our belief that camp is an essential component of the formula. This information has supported ACA’s efforts in developing relationships around expanded learning opportunities and take evidence-based actions.

Some of the key messages from the data include:

  • The majority of camps say they do partner with schools either directly or indirectly, but much room to improve.
  • Residential (overnight) programs during the school year are the most prevalent program format. Typical stay during non-summer months is 2-3 days (51%) followed by ½-1 day (47%).
  • The top reasons for offering school group programs is to generate revenue (55%) followed by keep youth engaged throughout the year (43%).
  • Not surprisingly, top academic areas are Earth/environmental science (75%), general science (51%), and biology (47%). However, quite a breadth of academic content is addressed.
  • While almost all camps say they intentionally target youth outcomes, few actually evaluate and document.
  • Camps say their staff primarily conduct the school programs (51%) or share the responsibilities with the teachers (37%). Staff generally plan customized programs with teacher input prior to the school program (72%), offer packaged programs/lessons based on a menu from which teachers choose (62%).
  • The link between the camp program and established learning standards are mixed. If linked, that process is done primarily by camp staff.
  • Learning that occurred as a part of the camp program is NOT evaluated by the school (or with camp staff) or is unknown by the camp.
  • Camps typically work with public schools (91%), private schools (77%), charters (45%), or families homeschooling (35%). Camps typically work with 2-3 school districts (28%) but 40% work with more than 6+.
  • Camps work directly with large numbers of school children during the school year.
  • Most camps (88%) are NOT partnering with school districts on educational reform grants. Most (90%) are NOT involved with Title 1 or other Dept of Ed programs.
  • Camps work across the entire K-12 spectrum with the greatest concentration on middle school (88%), followed by junior high (77%), elementary (69%), and high school (63%).

More details from the survey responses.