The American Camp Association (ACA) understands the benefits for campers and staff of attending high-quality camp experiences. In August 2023, ACA and the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute (EGI) launched the first of its kind National Economic Impact Study. And we need your help.
Together, we will leverage this research for government relations and state advocacy to provide evidence that camp matters — both to the economy and to the growth and development of current and future generations. Our intent is to demonstrate that day and overnight camps provide robust economic contributions and represent a growing, thriving industry of organizations, businesses, and individuals who contribute meaningfully to communities across the US.
We know that summer camp has a profound impact on the developmental skill set of youth, setting up campers and staff to thrive well beyond summer, positively impacting educational outcomes and early career. Beyond the positive developmental role of camp in the lives of campers and staff, we must acknowledge the role of camps in supporting millions of families every summer. Current estimates indicate that just under half of all school-age children are annually enrolled in summer camp programs in the US. If this is true, then camp is a compelling contributor to solving the summer care gap for families across the US.
This is where you come in: our current data is woefully inadequate in portraying a clear picture of the monumental impact of camp, we need your help to determine the full scope of summer care provided by the entire day and overnight camp industry. This insight alone could contribute to our ability to lobby federal and state support for families interested in providing their children with the beneficial advantages of summer camp enrollment.
How Camps Can Help
All day and overnight camps, whether connected to ACA or not, are encouraged to participate.
Survey participants must have access to key camp or organizational documentation to answer questions regarding camp finances, employment, and camper numbers. While multiple individuals from an entity may contribute data to the response, please submit only one response per entity. EGI created this guide to help camp entities complete the camp survey.
We’re also asking parents of youth who attended camp during the summer of 2023 to tell us about their travel experiences related to camp. We’re specifically interested in capturing key data related to move-in, move-out, and family visit days. This survey also will collect data on the origin, length, distance, and number of trips to and from the camp, the number of travelers, and spending in key sectors.
We hope to complete the study and have the data available by the next Hill Day in Washington, DC, in May 2024.
In a post-pandemic world, the engines of progress and innovation will depend on equitable access to employment and affordable access to childcare – especially in the summer months. As more and more summer programs provide a wrap-around approach to summer learning, the call to action for scaling our industry to serve all children is clear.
Have more questions? Email Rob Lubeznik-Warner for answers.