ACA Youth Outcomes Battery

Want youth feedback about outcomes from your program?

Camp Youth Outcomes BatteryACA offers data-gathering youth self-report measures that focus on common camp outcomes related to skills that build successful contributing members of our society. Questionnaires are statistically tested, camp-specific, age-appropriate, easily administered tools AND they can be customized to any camp.

Compensation, Benefits, and Professional Development Report

The American Camp Association (ACA) continues to support the importance of research efforts into the business of camp operations through an annual systematic survey process focused on important business aspects. The focus for 2015 was on the collection of staff compensation, benefit, and professional development information.

ACA Camp Business Operations Report

Access the most recent budget and finance data for camps. Questions this year included scholarship information, discounts, marketing strategies used, revenue sources, weekly fees, detailed expenditures, profitability, and more. For ease of application, there are two sets of findings: one for overnight camps and one for day camps. Each set (overnight/day) includes:

Research

ACA research efforts center on a two-fold approach that 1) advances the knowledge about the value of the camp experience and 2) enhances the business acumen of professionals involved in the industry of camp. These approaches allow for the development of tools, information, and resources that address current societal issues such as positive youth development in camp and other out-of-school time settings, youth outcomes, workforce development, as well as business issues around industry benchmarks, staff training, and quality program improvement.

Highlights of the 2016 Compensation, Benefits, and Professional Development Survey

On the job front, national employment reports are generally coming in positive, with some indication that salaries, wages, and benefits may be rising a little (see, for example, www.bls.gov). So how is this playing out in the camp industry? The American Camp Association’s 2016 Compensation, Benefits, and Professional Development Survey provides some insight.

Research 360: Research vs Evaluation

Greetings from the ACA Research Team!  As you might have heard, ACA has identified research as one of its strategic priorities for the next 5 years. This is exciting news for camp professionals because it promises new data, recognition, and support for the camp experience from individual camps to the camp industry as a whole.

Tell the Story of Your Camp's Impact on Kids!

I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with a camp staff member who didn’t have a great story about a transformational experience that happened to some child at their camp. The shy camper that blossomed in a supportive environment, the child that took six tries before they could finally step off the zip line platform, the sullen teen on the fringe of the group who returned from a wilderness trip enthused by newfound respect and independence. We all have those stories. What many of us do not have is the evidence back these stories up.

Big R, Little r; Big A, Little a

With ACA’s new strategic focus on accreditation and research comes the need to evolve our practices and services at a national level. In order to accomplish these important tasks, two special task forces have been working diligently to prepare recommendations that will address these programs on a national level. While these national tasks forces are looking at how this new focus on research and accreditation (or BIG R and BIG A, as we’ve taken to calling them) will play out nationally, many have asked what they can to advance this strategy at the local level.

A Snapshot of Camper Enrollment in 2015

After reviewing the results of the 2015 Enrollment Survey, in general, camps had a good year as enrollment continued to rise. The majority of camps reported at least maintaining the same enrollment numbers compared to 2014, and, in many cases, they were higher. Generally, the camps in the sample were representative of overall ACA membership (231 camp directors responded). The following data, charts, and graphs are based on camp directors’ responses.

Let Your Research Flag Fly! How to Magnify Your Camp Story with Research

In one of her 2010 commentaries in Camping Magazine, former American Camp Association CEO Peg Smith reflected on her conversations with award-winning researcher Marge Scanlin nearly a decade earlier about establishing a strong research tradition in the ACA). She said, “We wanted to find a way to create a culture that could not only say, ‘Camp Gives Kids a World of Good,’ but demonstrate science-based evidence of such” (Smith, 2010). This contrasting desire for both anecdotes and evidence resonates with me.

Pages