Components of Camp Experiences for Positive Youth Development
Keywords:youth development, logic model, outcomes, program components, staff training, mission statements
AbstractYouth development specialists advocate that well designed, implemented, and staffed youth centered programs result in positive outcomes for young people. Youth organizations have provided opportunities for young people to participate in camping experiences for over a century. The purpose of this paper is to describe what program components were related to camp environments and positive youth development. We describe these program components related to positive youth development based on a large scale national study of ACA (American Camp Association) accredited camps that included independent, religiously affiliated, government, and not-for-profit organizations. Based on the responses given by camp directors, contact and leadership from trained staff and the supportive relationships they provided were essential elements of camp. Other aspects leading to positive youth development in camps were program mission and structure along with elements of accountability, assessment of outcomes, and opportunities for skill building.
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