Examining Youth Camping Outcomes Across Multiple States: the National 4-H Camping Research Consortium (NCRC)


  • Barry Garst American Camp Association
  • Allison Nichols West Virginia University Extension
  • Jill Martz Montana State University Extension
  • Niki Nestor McNeely The Ohio State University
  • Laura Bovitz Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County
  • Denise Frebertshauser University of Maryland Extension
  • Martha Garton West Virginia University Extension
  • Suzanne Le Menestrel USDA-NIFA
  • Jill Walahoski University of Nebraska-Lincoln




The impact of residential camp participation is needed for camps focused on a variety of outcomes including education, summer fun, prevention, and youth development. One system, the Cooperative Extension Service, conducts 4-H residential camps in most states nationwide every year. These camps, though offering educational enhancement and fun activities, are focused on youth development, incorporating a framework called the essential elements of positive youth development. The National 4-H Camping Research Consortium (NCRC), a group of Extension specialists and county-level educators, designed and piloted assessment tools for 4-H camps that can be used at any camp that focuses on youth development. The camp context questionnaire measures three essential elements of youth development: relationship with a caring adult, self-determination and mastery, and safe and inclusive environments. The life skill questionnaire measures three life skills: accepting self and others, accomplishing goals, and taking responsibility. Logic models and evaluation guidelines help camp directors plan camps that work for youth.






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