Differences in the Experiences of Boys and Girls in a Camp Environment


  • Margaret Miltenberger West Virginia University Extension Service
  • Jane Jopling West Virginia University Extension Service
  • Martha S. Garton West Virginia University Extension Service




Between the ages of nine and twelve, key developmental differences exist between genders. Boys’ and girls’ brains simply develop in a different sequence (Sax, 2007) and at a different rate (Hanlon, et al., 1999). Since the 1970’s a tendency toward gender blindness and a lack of understanding about the real developmental differences between boys and girls may have limited the ability of youth professionals to best serve all youth. This paper highlights a study of whether boys and girls differ in camp experience and in life skill development as a result of camp? Fifteen counties with 28 individual camps participated in the study which measured (1) camp experience; (2) targeted life skills, and (3) leadership skills. The results showed significant differences between girls and boys. Researchers recommend that gender differences no longer be ignored when programming and that camp activities and curriculum meet the developmental needs of both boys and girls.






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