Theming, Co-Creation, and Quality of Structured Experiences at Camp


  • Gary D. Ellis Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Research
  • Jingxian Jiang Texas A&M University
  • Andrew Lacanienta California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
  • Mark Carroll Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service



co-creation, experience quality, deep-structured experience, theme, theory of structured experience


Lacanienta and his colleagues (2018) recently reported results of a study of the effect of themes on quality of experience of youths during summer camp activities. Existing literature suggested that theming activity sessions would have a strong main effect. Results, though, revealed an activity-by-theme interaction effect, i.e., themes seem to be effective in some activities but not others. In this follow-up study, we describe results of a secondary analysis revealing significant new insights regarding theme. Adding an indicator of campers’ co-created, lived-experience theme into the models tested substantially clarified how objective theme, lived-experience theme, and activity interact in influencing the quality of structured experiences. This study, then, underscores the importance of including measures of participants’ co-created lived experience as we seek to understand techniques that can be used to enhance the quality of youths’ structured camp experiences.

Author Biographies

Gary D. Ellis, Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Dr. Gary Ellis is Professor at Texas A&M University in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences.

Jingxian Jiang, Texas A&M University

Jingxian Jiang is an assistant professor at Flagler College in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Managemenet

Andrew Lacanienta, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo

Andrew Lacanienta is a second year PhD student at Texas A&M University in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences.

Mark Carroll, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Mark Carroll is the Director of the 4-H Center in Brownwood Texas


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