Communication, Coping, and Connections: Campers’ and Parents’ Perspectives of Self-Efficacy and Benefits of Participation in Deployment Support Camps
AbstractMilitary youth have unique challenges, particularly when a parent is deployed. Camp participation has been linked to multiple positive outcomes, thus camps have become popular as a setting for addressing these youth’s unique needs. With limited existing research on outcomes related to participation, this study explored to what extent participation in OMK camps affected military youth’s self-efficacy for communication, coping, and social skills. Participants responded to an online instrument three months after camp. Both campers and parents reported the largest increase in self-efficacy for communication skills, followed by social skills, and then coping skills. Open-ended responses overwhelmingly supported that developing friendships was one of the greatest benefits of attending a camp. The results are consistent with the literature regarding the importance of connectedness. Recommendations for conducting camps are offered. These finding may also be useful to those working with other special populations in the camp setting.
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