Developing a Common Evaluation Tool for Camps


  • Kendra M. Lewis University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Marianne Bird University of California Cooperative Extension
  • Tamekia Wilkins University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • John Borba University of California Cooperative Extension
  • Keith Nathaniel University of California Cooperative Extension
  • Emily Schoenfelder University of Illinois Extension



camp, 4-H, evaluation, common measure


Evaluation has become a standard for youth programming, to provide both evidence for improvement recommendations and an assessment of program outcomes. Having a common evaluation tool across programs (in this case, camps) is beneficial in aggregating measurements and understanding similarities and differences between programs. The purpose of this paper is to describe the process of working with the California 4-H Camping Advisory Committee to develop a common evaluation tool for all California 4-H camps, and to share initial findings from the instrument. We present results from two years of data collection, and the multiple uses of the findings.

Author Biography

Kendra M. Lewis, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources

Kendra is the Evaluation Coordinator for California 4-H. She coordinates the evaluation of statewide 4-H programming and builds the capacity of county 4-H staff to conduct evaluation on their programs.


American Camp Association. (2009). Camp Youth Outcomes Battery: Measuring developmental outcomes in youth programs. Available at

Arnold, M. E., Nott, B. D., & Meinhold, J. L. (2012). The positive youth development inventory. Corvalis: Oregon State University 4-H Youth Development. Retrieved from

Lerner, R. M., Lerner, J. V., Almerigi, J. B., Theokas, C., Phelps, E., Gestsdottir, S., . . . von Eye, A. (2005). Positive youth development, participation in community youth development programs, and community contributions of fifth-grade adolescents: Findings from the first wave of the 4-H study of Positive Youth Development. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 25, 17-71. doi: 10.1177/0272431604272461

Lewis, K. M. (2015). 4-H common measure: Social-emotional development. Davis: University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. Available from:

Lewis, K. M.. (2017, September). Have a data party to share evaluation results! Retrieved from

Lewis, K. M., & Bird, M.. (2017, October). Helping stakeholders understand and embrace evaluation data. Demonstration presented at the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.

Lewis, K. M., Bird, M., Borba, J., Nathaniel, K., & Schoenfelder, E. (2017). Teen staff experiences in California 4-H camps. 2017 American Camp Association Research Forum Abstracts (pp. 19-21). Retrieved from

Payne, P. B., & McDonald, D. A. (2012). Using common evaluation instruments across multi-site community programs: A pilot study. Journal of Extension, 50(4). Retrieved from

Santos, J. R. A., & Clegg, M. D. (1999). Factor analysis adds new dimension to extension surveys. Journal of Extension, 37(5). Retrieved from






Research & Evaluation Studies