Camp leaders believe that the camp experience teaches children how to make new friends, to work cooperatively as a team member and to approach new people, places and activities positively. We have anecdotal proof that these things do happen at camp, but currently, we lack the research to prove it. A new book with accompanying CD, Play It, Measure It, available through the American Camp Association (ACA), changes this. (Soon we will have the results of the Waterloo Summer Camp Research Project, which also measures outcomes of the camp experience.)
Play It, Measure It, written by Mark Roark of Utah State University and Faith Evans (M.Ed), combines intentionally designed sequences of themed activities with questionnaires to measure outcomes. The programs are suitable for youth ages nine to seventeen. Two sets of sequenced activities focus on friendship skills, one on teamwork and another on the affinity for exploration. The last activity in each program is an invitation to participants to complete a brief questionnaire developed by the ACA to measure outcomes. The accompanying CD provides leader resource materials and an Excel template for data entry and analysis.
The book’s prime purpose is fun. The added benefit is the ability to measure the outcomes of camp programs. Consider the benefits of actually measuring results and sharing how well your camp is achieving program goals with staff, parents, Boards of Directors or funders. Available at the online ACA bookstore on the ACA website.