What Does Camp Do for Kids? Preface

A random effects model of meta-analysis was used to identify the influence of a camp experience on youth self constructs. Twenty-two studies provided sufficient data to identify a sample of thirty-seven (37) independent measures. These cases were aggregated to identify the effect. Interpretation of the data was based on data-point line plots, regression analysis and effect size sensitivity analysis. Identified moderator variables explained 33 percent of the variance of the entire sample, R²= .330 for r = .1023. The influence of those programs focused on enhancing self constructs is r = .2006, twice the positive effect from across all studies. The random effect is positively related to the individual camp's ability to operationalize strategies that focus on enhancing self. The effect is greater for younger campers and a positive effect was found across all ages studied. These findings confirm the current thinking that positive influence on constructs of self is greater at a younger age and that the influence can be enhanced by targeted programming. The influence on self in a relatively short period of time represents an exception to current theory about the length of time required to affect the self.

Author's Note
This meta-analysis was made possible through a grant administered through the American Camping Association (ACA). Without this support from the ACA and the organizations that comprise the National Camping Executives Group the time and expense of conducting a meta-analysis would not have been possible.

The author would like to thank the following for their support during the course of this research:

  • The ACA and NCEG for making the research possible through a grant.

  • Dr. Joel Meier, Dr. Alan Ewert and Dr. Doug Knapp, the Thesis Committee.

  • Mary Beth Camp and Randall Grayson for serving as the panel of experts.

  • Mary Beth Camp for being the other meta-analyst on campus.

  • Jason B. Kay and Marc Searcey, the verification coders.

  • Florence K. G. Riley, mom.

  • Judith A. McClish, sister.