Camp as Developmental Context for Specialized Youth Populations: Telling the Evaluation Stories of Three Camps
Session Number: 2826
Track: Youth Focused Evaluation
Session Type: Multipaper
Session Chair: Ryan J Gagnon, Ph.D. [Assistant Professor - Clemson University-DPRTM]
Presenter 1: Barry A Garst [Associate Professor, Youth Development Leadership - Clemson University]
Presenter 2: Ann Gillard [Director of Research and Evaluation - Hole In The Wall Gang Camp]
Presenter 3: Ryan J Gagnon, Ph.D. [Assistant Professor - Clemson University-DPRTM]
Presentation 1 Additional Author: Ryan J Gagnon, Ph.D. [Assistant Professor - Clemson University-DPRTM]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Barry A Garst [Associate Professor, Youth Development Leadership - Clemson University]
Time: Nov 14, 2019 (08:00 AM - 09:00 AM)
Room: Hilton Marquette VII
Abstract 1 Title: Pre-College STEM Camps as Gender Equalizer: Mediational Relations Between Gender, Career Decidedness, and Socioemotional Development
Presentation Abstract 1:
Females have experienced longstanding suppression and marginalization from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers. One potential mechanism to mitigate the underrepresentation of females within STEM is the use of experiential programs and camps with orientation towards socioemotional development and supportive role models. This study examined factors which may mediate the relation between gender and STEM career aspiration within a pre-collegiate week-long STEM camp experience among a sample of 365 adolescent campers. Campers were an average of 15.58 years old, primarily white (69.8%), and male (51.8%). The results of the mediational structural equation model (SEM) suggested socioemotional development did not mediate the relation between gender and career aspiration, and there was no statistical difference between male and female STEM career aspirations. The lack of effect could be a result of the systematic and ongoing emphasis towards the development of STEM skills and aspiration within minority and underrepresented groups, specifically females.
Abstract 2 Title: Camp Experiences in the Lives of Adolescents with Serious Illnesses
Presentation Abstract 2:
This study explored the experiences of a camp for adolescents with serious illnesses using interview responses from campers with different illnesses. Twenty-four adolescents aged 14–15 with cancer, sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, or metabolic diseases provided videotaped interviews analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological approach, and frequencies of responses per theme and diagnosis were tallied. Camp experiences varied across diagnostic groups and featured: a sense of belonging, enjoyment, being myself, positive affect, camp programming, adult staff, personal growth, and escape. Campers with cancer perceived camp as a place for sense of belonging, personal growth, and escape. Campers with HIV/AIDS perceived camp as an opportunity for a sense of belonging, being myself, camp programming, and escape. Campers with sickle cell disease perceived camp as a place for enjoyment, adult staff, being myself, personal growth, and escape. Campers with metabolic diseases perceived camp as a place for personal growth and positive affect.
Abstract 3 Title: Camp as a Context for Self-Determination among Native American Youth
Presentation Abstract 3:
This study examined the relations between the development of autonomy, relatedness, and competence (i.e., self-determination) with participation quality and quantity among 147 Native American youth attending a one-week culturally tailored residential summer camp. Participants were 63% female, on average 12.16 years old, and had 2.37 years of prior camp experience. Following their camp experience, participants completed measures validated through confirmatory factor analysis to assess participation quality (personal development, voice/influence, safety/support) and the targeted outcomes, autonomy, relatedness, and competence. A structural equation model was utilized to explore how participation influenced outcomes and indicated one dimension of participation quality (personal development) influenced camp outcomes, but years of camp participation, voice/influence, and safety/support had no direct influence on outcomes. This study provided evidence of the utility of residential summer camp for enhancing self-determination among Native American youth, which may promote an array of developmentally adaptive behaviors.
Audience Level: All Audiences
Session Abstract (150 words):
Summer camp may act as a powerful development context to promote physical health, socioemotional development, academic success, and psychological wellbeing for youth. Many organizations provide specialized camp experiences for youth with disabilities or chronic illnesses, youth from underserved populations, and youth with unique educational needs. Although research is emerging in support of the efficacy of these experiences for promoting positive developmental outcomes, the youth development field has limited evidence detailing the contexts and factors most likely to promote this growth. The purpose of this multipaper session is to share the unique factors which may influence the impact of specialized camp experiences on three populations: Native American youth, youth with serious illnesses, and youth with unique educational needs. The papers shared will provide insight into both the evaluation findings as well as practical applications of the assessment process to address the diverse needs of more specialized youth populations.
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