Tools for Assessing Camp Program Quality

A quality camp program is one that consistently promotes camper and staff growth and safety over time. Experts in youth development have identified things camps can do, from staff practices, activities, policies, and overall camp climate, to support youth development, which also serve as a rubric for continuous program improvement. With your own camp as a baseline, these tools can help your staff plan and practice camp program quality, and assess the effects of your improvement efforts over time.

Camp Program Quality Assessment (CPQA)—Short Form

The Camp PQA Short Form is a free downloadable PDF designed for your staff team to use to examine, discuss, and plan to improve the quality of your camp program. The Short Form provides an introduction to the best practices of positive youth development based on the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality’s widely used Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) tool. 

The CPQA—Short Form contains three sections:

  • Program offerings. This observational form is designed for structured programs that youth attend for a set time with a set purpose while at camp. These offerings may be referred to as programs, clubs, workshops, classes, etc.
  • Informal climate. This observational form is designed to capture youth experiences in non-program offering times, such as meal time, transitions, or free time. This form also includes an optional segment that focuses on the camp's attempts to develop an affinity for nature in their programs for campers.
  • Camp structure and administration. This form is intended to capture how the camp's structure and administration support program quality. This form is completed through an interview with the camp director or other appropriate person.

Download the CPQA Short Form

CPQA Staff Checklist

The Staff Checklist is a condensed version of the Short Form and is perfect for staff training and observation. 

Download the CPQA Staff Checklist