Program Quality Matters for Youth Development

Greetings camp evaluators! Congratulations on making it to the end (or very nearly the end) of your summer season.

Let's Get Retrospective!

Think back to the start of summer—are there things you know now that you wish you knew then?

How to Measure Success

I used to be a camp director, which means that, like many of you, my summers were spent in the whirl of camp. Each day flew into the next, and never did a day pass without a crisis (or 30). After ten weeks, I was left with a pile of mismatched socks and moldy towels and a deep sense that something had just happened, although I really did not know what.

Yet.

How to Measure Enrollment: Part Three

Hello camp evaluators! Welcome to Part 3 of my series on measuring enrollment. When I started this series, I believe I had in mind that it would be a single blog, but that blog extended into two and here we are at Part 3. The fact that this series has blossomed like this is an indicator of the thing we are dealing with — enrollment as a concept is more expansive and complex than it might seem.

Program Outcomes at a Resident Camp for Youth with Serious Illnesses, Disabilities, and Life Challenges

In 2005, the American Camp Association (ACA) published the first large-scale national research project assessing the youth development outcomes of children who attend day and resident camps in the summer. Children between the ages of eight and 14 from 80 ACA-accredited day and resident camps participated in the study. Results indicated the camp experience was a positive influence on youth development in four domains: positive identity, physical and thinking skills, social skills, and positive values and spirituality.

How to Measure Enrollment: Part Two

To truly understand if you are serving campers in the ways you hope, you need to look at enrollment from several different angles.

How to Measure Enrollment: Part One

Enrollment represents the number of campers we serve — but, as straightforward as that sounds, it’s not. 

Introducing a New (and Free!) Friend: The Camp Program Quality Staff Checklist

Before I get started, I have a confession: I lied. I said in the title that in this post I was going to introduce you to a new friend, but that’s not entirely true. The Camp Program Quality Staff Checklist is not in fact new: it’s been available (for FREE!) on the ACA website for almost ten years. But it is likely new to some of you, and I’m going to discuss some new ways to use it, so the use of the word new is not entirely misleading. Now on to business.

Calling All Camp Enthusiasts! A Special Issue of Camp Research Is Here

This blog is about a special double issue of the Journal of Youth Development focused entirely on camp research.

Happy Campers: How Camp Relationships Promote Social and Emotional Learning

Young people are diverse and dynamic, and they have myriad pathways to success. Unfortunately, youth development research often highlights watered-down averages of sample sets that offer limited insight and inspiration, in part because they don’t represent the youth that organizations serve.

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