Community as the Foundation for Camp Program Quality

This Research 360 blog post provides an update on some of ACA's current research, including how the research projects have been adapted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What to Evaluate in Virtual or Alternative Programs

Hello camp friends, and welcome to the second in our short Research 360 series focusing on evaluation during the time of COVID-19. In our first blog we suggested that, like trees, your evaluation systems might contract as you focus on the health and safety of your camp community — and that’s OK! Those systems will expand again when things get back to normal.

Trees and What They Can Teach Us about Evaluation in Uncertain Times

Picture this: You notice that a small sapling you planted a while ago is at last large enough that it no longer requires stakes to stay upright. It takes two hands to wrap around its now-sturdy trunk, and the branches, in midsummer, provide shade. It might even be a fruit tree, and you think that, after years of nurturing that tiny sapling, you might actually taste one of its fruits.

"It's the Best Part of Camp": Camper Views on Smartphone Policies

As camp directors, we instinctually know that the experience is much better without smartphones and technology, but what do the campers themselves think?

Refining Survey Instruments: Amplifying the Youth Voice

Through our ongoing efforts to inform and continually improve, we’re building a multi-faceted approach to collecting camper impact data and feedback. 

From Activities and Programs to Outcomes and Impact

Helping Kids Change Their Stories — A Taste of Camp Measurement North of the Border is a short blog series that explores Tim Hortons Foundation Camps’ summer and school programs and their approach to impact measurement and camp research. The series outlines Tim Hortons Foundation Camps’ research journey from a practitioner perspective, while highlighting challenges and early learnings in their research process. This is post 2. See post 1.

What's the Impact of Gender-Inclusive Cabins on Campers' Friendships?

That question was one that I and my collaborator Leila Bighash sought to help answer in our recent study, recognized at the ACA National Conference with the Eleanor P. Eells Award for Research in Practice.

What to Know about Demographic Evaluation Questions and How to Make Them Count, Part 1

Wheewww! Summer is about over, if not over for most camps, which means that it's time to reflect on another eventful and exciting season. Along with a bit of a breather, this time of year brings lots of logistical tasks. For many camp administrators, one of these tasks is reviewing camper evaluations as part of their program quality improvement efforts.

A Better Way to Get Useful Feedback from Parents and Caregivers, Part 2

‘Tis the season of parents (and caregivers, and other adults-connected-to-children with whom you as a camp professional interact). You’ve likely dealt with parents and caregivers just about every day of this season, but that interaction tends to ramp up toward the end of the summer — especially if you are trying to capture feedback from your parent community through end-of-summer surveys.

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