Research 360: Research vs Evaluation

Greetings from the ACA Research Team!  As you might have heard, ACA has identified research as one of its strategic priorities for the next 5 years. This is exciting news for camp professionals because it promises new data, recognition, and support for the camp experience from individual camps to the camp industry as a whole.

Tell the Story of Your Camp's Impact on Kids!

I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with a camp staff member who didn’t have a great story about a transformational experience that happened to some child at their camp. The shy camper that blossomed in a supportive environment, the child that took six tries before they could finally step off the zip line platform, the sullen teen on the fringe of the group who returned from a wilderness trip enthused by newfound respect and independence. We all have those stories. What many of us do not have is the evidence back these stories up.

Big R, Little r; Big A, Little a

With ACA’s new strategic focus on accreditation and research comes the need to evolve our practices and services at a national level. In order to accomplish these important tasks, two special task forces have been working diligently to prepare recommendations that will address these programs on a national level. While these national tasks forces are looking at how this new focus on research and accreditation (or BIG R and BIG A, as we’ve taken to calling them) will play out nationally, many have asked what they can to advance this strategy at the local level.

Evaluating Appreciation, Possibility, and Friendship Skills at a Camp for Youth with Serious Illness

The purpose of this evaluation was to understand the outcomes of appreciation, possibility, and friendship skills in a traditional camp program for youth with serious and life-threatening illnesses. A second purpose was to use the American Camp Association's (ACA) Friendship Skills outcome measures with a specific population of campers: youth with serious illness. A third purpose was to explore potential relations between campers' self-reports of appreciation, possibility, and friendship skills, and reports from parents/caregivers on these measures.

A Snapshot of Camper Enrollment in 2015

After reviewing the results of the 2015 Enrollment Survey, in general, camps had a good year as enrollment continued to rise. The majority of camps reported at least maintaining the same enrollment numbers compared to 2014, and, in many cases, they were higher. Generally, the camps in the sample were representative of overall ACA membership (231 camp directors responded). The following data, charts, and graphs are based on camp directors’ responses.

Let Your Research Flag Fly! How to Magnify Your Camp Story with Research

In one of her 2010 commentaries in Camping Magazine, former American Camp Association CEO Peg Smith reflected on her conversations with award-winning researcher Marge Scanlin nearly a decade earlier about establishing a strong research tradition in the ACA). She said, “We wanted to find a way to create a culture that could not only say, ‘Camp Gives Kids a World of Good,’ but demonstrate science-based evidence of such” (Smith, 2010). This contrasting desire for both anecdotes and evidence resonates with me.

Program Quality Enhancement

The resources on this page will help you address quality improvement in your programs, staff training, and health practices.

Research Column Manuscript Requirements

Academic research articles must contain information useful to camp professionals. All manuscripts must be the original work of the author and not currently under review elsewhere or previously published.
 
Research article ideas for Camping Magazine's Research column are accepted from camp researchers on an ongoing basis. The Research column reflects current findings of camp-related research in a format that Camping Magazine readers can use to improve the quality of their programs and staff and enhance the experience of the campers.
 

2019 Camp Research Forum

Submit Your Camp Research Forum Call for Proposals

 

The American Camp Association invites researchers to present results of camp-related studies at the ACA Camp Research Forum to be held during the Association's 2019 National Conference from February 19-22, 2019 in Nashville, TN.

Camp Research Forum Submission Details

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