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?

The End Is Near! Grab Social Emotional Learning Data While You Can

Social emotional learning. It’s the good stuff we know kids get out of camp: responsibility, interest in exploration, teamwork skills, independence. We also know that 93 percent of camps today intentionally target skills related to social-emotional learning in their staff training and program planning.

Mid-Summer Evaluation Shake-Up: Put the Campers in Charge!

Hello Camp Evaluators! I’m so excited you took a minute of your busy, busy summer to read the Research 360 blog.  I used to be a day camp director, so I know first-hand what is at the tops of the summertime to-do list:  Get. Through. The. Day.  With every camper and staff member safe. And happy! And, on a really good day, their parents are happy, too.   

Profile of the 2017 Recipients of the Eleanor P. Eells Award for Excellence in Research in Practice

In 2015, ACA, with the help of the Committee for the Advancement of Research and Evaluation (CARE), created the Eleanor P. Eells Award for Excellence in Research in Practice. This award is designed to honor camp programs that: