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Think Tank on Camp Research Strategies and Strategic Directions

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Catherine Ross

On May 7, 2017 in Toronto, Dr. Stephen Fine, Chair of the CCA Research Committee, chaired a meeting of CCA Executive Members, John Jorgenson (President of the International Camping Fellowship), and several academics representing various disciplines: education, nursing, architecture, sociology and anthropology, and recreation and leisure studies.  The focus of the Think Tank was to share experience and resources to further research in the phenomena of camp.

Academic participants at the Think Tank on Camp Research included: Dr. Troy Glover, Professor, University of Waterloo; Dr. Karla Henderson, Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina; Dr. Deb Bialeschki , Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Catherine Laing, Assistant Professor University of Calgary; Dr. Thomas McIlwraith, Assistant Professor, University of Guelph and Dr. Trevor Norris, Associate Professor, Brock University; Peter Gilbert, Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University; and John Blakey, Nature Based Learning Teacher and Educational Researcher, Montcrest School.

The group confirmed that the ultimate goal of research in camping is to assist camp professionals in maximizing the experience for campers. Research results have to be understood by camp directors and seen to have practical applications. Currently research is a strong component at International Camping Congresses.  Local camping conferences can also be suitable venues for researchers to share their work. The Waterloo research project, which proved the benefits of camp, is being used in the upcoming national campaign to promote camp. Research has a role to play in educating the public, informing camp professionals and validating and improving the camp experience.

In the Fall of 2017, the CCA will be contacting member camps across the country as to their interest towards participating in an American/Canadian research project. The project’s  aims and methods align with the National Research Council’s work on college and career readiness, which means that reports on the results of this project will help position camp within the broad context of youth development programs.  Interested parties should contact: Stephen Fine by email at sfine@alumni.utoronto.ca.

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Communications Officer at Canadian Camping Association
Catherine's lifelong love of camping began in 1953 when she accompanied her mother, the new camp cook, to Camp Tanamakoon in Algonquin Park. She remained at Tan until 1978 as a camper and in several staff roles. After five years as a teacher, in 1979, Catherine and her husband George purchased Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da for girls in Parry Sound, Ontario which they owned for 20 years. Catherine has served on the Board of the Ontario Camps Association, and is Past President of the Society of Camp Directors. She is currently Communications Officer on the Board of the CCA. She is past editor of Camps Canada, published by the CCA, and the OCAasional News, the newsletter of the OCA. She is the author of four publications. Her articles on camping have appeared in numerous magazines.