MARTINSVILLE, IN – The American Camp Association (ACA) and the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism program of the University of Utah have received a $400,000 grant to identify factors within structured camp-leadership training that contribute to success in college and career.

“For generations, we have understood the benefits of summertime camp, but we have lacked the empirical evidence to demonstrate the what, why, and how of that impact,” ACA President and CEO Tom Rosenberg said.

Drs. M. Deborah Bialeschki Director of Research at ACA and Jim Sibthrop, University of Utah will conduct the study. Research design for the study is under way.

“Specifically, we are interested in promising practices that can be adopted by summer programs to enhance career and college readiness through these summer leadership experiences,” Dr. Sibthrop said. “Because the American Camp Association is the accrediting body and community of practice for organized camp summer youth experiences, research findings are quickly translated to professional practice that directly impacts millions of youth attending camps each summer.”

In addition, the study will help improve recruitment, training, and retention of high-quality program staff for seasonal out-of-school time programming, he said. The research team’s focus is to better understand what these young leaders and camp staff learn and how they develop the skills, values, and dispositions through their summer experiences that enhance their lives and the lives of others.

The project is part of a long-time collaboration between ACA and the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism program.

About ACA
The American Camp Association® (ACA) is a national organization with more than 10,000 individual members and nearly 3,000 member camps.  ACA is committed to collaborating with those who believe in quality camp and outdoor experiences for children, youth, and adults.  ACA provides advocacy and evidence-based education and professional development, and is the only national accrediting body for the organized camp experience.  ACA accredits approximately 2,400 diverse camps nationally.  ACA-Accreditedâ Camps meet up to 300 health and safety standards.  Accreditation provides public evidence of a camp’s commitment to the health, safety, and overall well-being of both campers and staff.  For more information, visit  

About the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism program
Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah is a program within the College of Health’s Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation.

About the Spencer Foundation
The Spencer Foundation funds research on education. Since 1971, it has awarded grants of nearly $500 million.

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