A New Year, a New Approach to Evaluation

Greetings camp evaluators, and Happy New Year! The year 2018 brings with it a chance to try things or look at things you are currently doing with a fresh set of eyes. Yes, of course, I am talking about evaluation, which can include anything you do at your camp to systematically gather information, analyze that information, and use what you learned to make decisions about your programs, staff, policies, or practices. Whether you do these things or not, the new year is an excellent time to consider trying something new or changing something that you’ve done in the past.

12 Gifts for Merry Evaluating

I’m going to offer something that is in the spirit of the holiday season - gifts to help your evaluations!

Social Belonging for Youth Success — Research and Promising Practices, Part 2: How Can We Improve Our Practice?

Hi everybody! Thanks for joining me again for Part 2 of the summary of the Forum for Youth Investment webinar on social belonging for youth success. In Part 1, we discussed what social belonging is and why it’s important for youth to feel a sense of social belonging.

Social Belonging for Youth Success — Research and Promising Practices, Part 1: What Do We Know?

Have you ever walked in to a meeting, a class, or even a practice or activity and thought “wow, I do NOT belong here”? What kinds of feelings does an experience like that evoke in you? Positive feelings? Do you want to return to that environment? Do you feel comfortable learning and trying new things? I doubt it. For most of us, feeling like we don’t fit in or don’t belong is not a pleasant experience. For those of you who have never been in a position like this, let me tell you a quick story…

Developing Resilience in Girls through Camp Experiences

Girls today face a diverse range of challenges that can negatively affect their development. According to a recent report by the Girl Scouts of the USA (2013), such challenges include increased poverty rates and homelessness, physical violence (rape and sexual assault), low self-esteem and body image, bullying or aggression, lack of leadership opportunities, and feelings of depression and suicide. One way to help girls navigate these challenges is to provide opportunities to develop resilience skills.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go: A Step-by-Step Guide to Reading and Using Qualitative Research

If you want to engage with research, I’ve created this easy guide to help you move from finding papers online to reading them, and ultimately implementing the suggestions in your own programs. 

From Camp Pro to Camp Researcher: Introducing ACA's New Research Assistant

Hi Camp Pros!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and let you know a bit about what I’m doing here on the American Camp Association® (ACA) Research 360 blog and in the camp world!

Have a Data Party to Share Evaluation Results!

Greetings! I am Kendra Lewis, evaluation coordinator for the California 4-H Youth Development Program at University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. I am going to share my experience with a “data party” as a way to engage camp staff in evaluation data. In California, we recently held a one-day workshop with 4-H camp staff (teens and adults) to review evaluation data collected at their camps last summer. Evaluation data was collected from two sources: youth campers and teen camp staff. We had nearly 30 people representing six camps attend.

Camp Research: A Give and Get Kind of Thing

I’m going to say this right up front: Today’s Research 360 post is a shameless plug for research — more specifically, a plug for participating in camp research, and encouraging others to do the same.

We can all agree that participating in research — namely, filling out online surveys — does not have a good rap. Understandably so: Surveys are lengthy and boring, and you never have any idea if and how your responses are used. So why bother?