2019 ACA Research Forum

The American Camp Association invites researchers to present results of camp-related studies at the ACA Research Forum to be held during the Association's 2019 National Conference from February 19-22, 2019 in Nashville, TN.

ACA Research Forum Submission Details

We welcome studies completed by faculty, students, researchers, and camp professionals. The focus of this Forum is to communicate the applications of completed research to camp professionals. A double-blind peer-review process will examine the appropriate research designs and rigor, but the presentations need to be practitioner-friendly and emphasize the application of the findings to building a body of camp knowledge.

We welcome submissions on all topics related to organized camps but are particularly interested in studies that focus on:

  • Qualities of camp: Processes and components
  • Benefits/Outcomes of the camp experience
  • Parental perspectives
  • Staff development

The ACA Research Forum proposals should include (and will be reviewed by) the following criteria: timeliness and importance given trends and issues affecting camp, theoretical framework, methods, analysis procedures, conclusions, and clear and actionable recommendations for camp practice. The submission of research proposals is an online process and allows uploading a Word document of the proposal. The submission site allows for approximately 1000 words in 12 pt Times New Roman font. Graphs and charts may be included but should be limited as they are part of the word counts. The expectation is that the research abstract includes at least a minimum of preliminary results from completed data collection at the time of submission. The proposed paper should not have been previously presented at another conference or published elsewhere. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Ann Gillard (Forum Coordinator) at anngillard@gmail.com.

The ACA Research Forum consists of two presentation formats: verbal presentations and poster presentations. The author(s) will be asked for a preference but that request cannot be guaranteed. The schedule regarding the format will depend on the way that papers group together as well as the space limitations at the conference. A blind peer-review will occur of all submissions with no distinction made regarding presentation format. All individuals who make oral presentations are also required to provide a poster. The verbal presentations will be moderated and will consist of 15-minute time slots followed by a brief question and answer period. Related topics will be grouped to form topical sessions. The poster session will be held in/near the exhibit hall for a 1-2 hour time block during unopposed program time. Authors are expected to be present during the poster session. While the Camp Research Forum proposals should include the traditional research details for the review process, the presentations should focus on applications and implications – a sizeable percentage of attendees of the Forum are non-academic camp professionals. If selected for the ACA Research Forum, presenters will be expected to provide an abstract and presentation slides to be posted on the ACA research web site for wider distribution.

Marge Scanlin Outstanding Student Research Award 

Student researchers may want to submit their project for consideration for the Marge Scanlin Outstanding Student Research Award. This Scholarship is awarded each year to a deserving student who has contributed to the camp research body of knowledge. The purpose of the award is to encourage students to undertake camp research and present their findings at the annual ACA conference. Selection is based on the quality of the abstract as well as the overall contributions the student as well as the research project has made to the camp movement. Students wishing to be accepted for the Scanlin Award should be the first author on the abstract. A monetary scholarship will be awarded to the student who is selected for the Scanlin Award. The student is expected to attend the conference to present the research and to use the monetary award to help defray conference expenses.  The student selected must join ACA, if not already a member. All student members receive complimentary registration for the conference. For more information on the Scanlin Award, visit: https://www.acacamps.org/about/who-we-are/research/marge-scanlin-outstanding-research-award or contact Dr. Cass Morgan at cassmorgan@weber.edu.

Presenter Expectations

If a proposal is accepted for presentation and/or as a poster, we expect the author to attend the conference to fulfill that obligation. People presenting their research at the conference are expected to register for at least one day. We appreciate the contributions made by researchers through their participation in the Camp Research Forum and the conference in general.

Review Expectations

Summaries will undergo review by a review team with expertise in camp and youth development research. Submissions for the Marge Scanlin Research Award will undergo a separate review process by ACA’s Committee for the Advancement of Research and Evaluation (CARE). Papers may be rejected due to ineffective development of the summary, weaknesses in the study design, lack of developed applications, or time and space limitations.

Submission Deadline and Timetable

Call for Proposals will close September 30, 2018 and e-mail notification of status will be made no later than November 15, 2018. Revised abstracts will be due in late November and posters completed and submitted by late December.

Many thanks to Dr. Karla Henderson for her excellent stewardship of the Research Forum over the past several years.

We hope you will submit your research for consideration and look forward to offering a premier Forum on camp-related research.


Submissions will remain open until September 30, 2018.

Special thanks to The Redwoods Group for sponsoring the Research Forum.
Redwoods Group