College Settlement Selected for National Study

College Settlement Camps Selected to Participate in National Study

Benefits of Camp to Campers to be Researched by ACA and University of Utah

College Settlement is participating in an innovative research project conducted by the American Camp Association (ACA) and their research partners at the University of Utah. As an ACA-accredited camp, we are proud to have been included in a select group of 50 camps that are a part of ACA’s Impact Study. When the ACA called Karyn Bonner, College Settlement’s Camp Director, to do the intake info with them, they said we were selected because of the long-term, high-quality program we have (ACA Accredited since the Accreditation was established), our longevity, our program diversity and the uniqueness of our niche. The Impact Study, which takes place over the next several years, examines how camp experiences prepare campers and camp staff to thrive in college, in their careers, and in their lives outside of camp. Evidence of the benefits of attending camp is not new; in fact, camp researchers have demonstrated for almost 90 years that camp promotes valuable outcomes, especially in areas such as social skills, personal responsibility, and self-esteem. ACA’s research partners at the University of Utah are looking to take these well-established findings a step further by exploring, for the first time, the long-term benefits of attending camp for both campers and the young adults who work as camp counselors.

What does this research project mean for College Settlement Camp? The research team will conduct surveys and interviews with campers, parents, and staff members about four times each year for three years so they can understand what happens at camp and during the non-summer months. We will be reaching out to eligible staff and parents asking them to participate — we will not contact campers directly, and the results will be shared with us anonymously. Participation is voluntary and will not affect any child’s or staff member’s experience at this camp.

We are thrilled to be involved in this project and look forward to sharing with you what we learn. Want to know more? Check out the American Camp Association’s Research 360 blog or contact Camp Director Karyn Bonner at College Settlement, 215-542-7974.

ACA is committed to conducting research in a rigorous and reliable way, which means that this study is being conducted by a university research team that was selected from a nationwide selection process. Furthermore, a group of volunteer researchers serves as an advisory committee to ensure what we learn is trustworthy and accurately represents real life camp experiences. Findings will be shared with camp professionals so they can design programs, train staff, and advocate for camp experiences to parents, educators, and other potential partners.