The Relationship Between Participation in a Camp Program and Civic Development



Flaherty, Rebecca

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The values and morals among Americans are on a decline. In The National Center for Injury Prevention and Controls annual report on Youth Violence (2012), 4,787 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 were victims of homicide. In 2013, a nationwide survey reported that 24.7% of high school students were involved in a fight and 17.9% of students reported taking a weapon to school. Youth violence affects the overall health of a community by increasing healthcare costs, decreasing property values and causing the overall disruption of social services (Control, 2015). In 2017, the CDC reported that one in five high school students were affected by bullying and homicide is the third leading cause of death among people ages 10-24 (The National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2017). Youth are not afforded the appropriate opportunities to develop into well-informed and respectful citizens. There appears to be a disconnect where communities work as a team yet citizens lack the life skills necessary to positively contribute to society. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control suggests that involvement in parent and family -based programming may enhance problem solving skills; mentoring programs that pair an adult and a child together instills positive behavior; and changes in the physical and social environment that surround youth can be beneficial. Previous research has focused on the outcomes of extracurricular activities, youth sports, scouting, 4-H clubs and volunteer opportunities as a means of providing programming and environmental changes. The purpose of this study was to examine the programs, practices and outcomes of two youth summer camps at Adventure Links. Adventure Links is an American Camping Association (ACA) accredited experiential education organization that is located in Hemlock Overlook Regional Park (Clifton, VA). Specifically, this study focused on the Ultimate Adventure camp (grades 6-7) and the Summit Adventure camp (grades 7-8), in order to determine whether participants’ civic development was positively impacted upon completion of the week-long summer camp. Using a survey for data collection, the results provide evidence that recreational programs like Adventure Links are an important avenue for providing educational training for civic development among youth.



Nova Parks, Civic development, Camps, Youth