Author Archive

Call To Action for Camps – Research 360

Posted on March 13, 2018 by Dr. Stephen Fine

Invitation to Canadian Camp Directors:

This is a significant opportunity for insights into the impact of summer camp on Canadian youth.

The American Camp Association is currently partnered with the University of Utah in the Research 360 Impact Study to discover if camp as a learning setting prepares youth & emerging adults for higher education, career, and success. The Study’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.

We are currently recruiting camp directors from across the country interested in participating in the Research 360 partnership between the Canadian Camping Association (CCA) and the American Camp Association. Thanks to generous funding from our camp associations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, the CCA is now able to go ahead with this significant opportunity to gather vital data on the camp industry in Canada. The survey will take place during the spring of 2018 and there is no cost for participation.

The study will be focused on new first time counselors that are hired for the 2018 summer season. These hires can include former campers, former members of your CIT/LIT programs, or others who have a past history at any camp.  Parental consent is not required for those under the age of 18 and the survey will be filled out online and submitted before camp begins. As such, the data collection process will not impinge on your camp’s programming or scheduling as staff will fill out the survey during the months of April and May. This is an industry wide study for Canadian camps.  Should you wish to have a report on data specific to your camp, additional cost would be involved.

To learn more about the findings from Phase One of the Research 360 Impact study go to:

This invitation is time sensitive. Please respond prior to March 30, 2018.

Should have any questions please contact me at:

Stephen Fine, PhD
Research Chair
Canadian Camping Association

Impressions from the 10th International Camping Congress

Posted on December 15, 2014 by Dr. Stephen Fine

ICC Turkey 2014


Today’s youth live in a complex and rapidly changing global landscape. While new technologies foster international connectivity, ideological tensions threaten to thwart peace efforts and young people across the globe stand at the forefront of both progress and conflict.

The theme of the 10th International Camping Congress (ICC) which recently convened in Antalya, Turkey was entitled “Camp for Peace.” A noble undertaking for the world’s camp community in these disquieting times. Global research has shown that the camp experience has a unique capacity to transcend cultural and national boundaries.

What better way to promote peace than to announce to the world all of the wonderful things that camp can do for children everywhere? And this is where research into the world of camp can play a very important role. What better place to express this theme than within the country that spans both east and west? And this country was Turkey.

The 10th International Camping Congress (ICC) of the International Camping Fellowship (ICF) hosted a gathering of camp professional from 29 countries. My first ICC took place in Mexico City in 2005 where I had the opportunity to present my paper on the types of learning that takes place at camp. It was here that I met face to face with a colleague Dr. Deb Bialeschki and from that moment onwards we agreed to work together to bring camp research into the international arena.

Eight years later in 2013, Dr. Bialeschki and myself were named as co-chairs of a new international committee “for the purpose of conducting and continuing research projects that involve or are relevant to, multiple member countries of the International Camping Fellowship (ICF).” Although research forums had been a part of the ICCs in the past, ICC Turkey 2014 marked the first official international research symposium dedicated to camp experience. These symposiums will now be a vital component to all future congresses.

The 10th ICC in Turkey featured papers by academics from the US, Canada, Japan, Mongolia, and Australia. A strong Canadian research presence was evident as 5 of the 12 papers presented had Canadian authorship or co-authorship. All of the papers presented can be found on the CCA website.

Highlights of the congress were many.

  • tour of the historic city of Istanbul and environs.
  • congress venue in Antalya situated on the Mediterranean coast.
  • the meeting of old friends and new.
  • the sharing of knowledge with our fellows from many countries around the world.

Current research into the evolution of camp embodies the cutting edge of what is trending in camps today and validates this within an international forum. With the establishment of the ICF’s International Research Committee, academics and scholars from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Oceania with a focus on global citizenship and youth development can now contribute to a shared discussion.

Camp Research Project: Purpose, Findings and Practical Applications

Posted on February 24, 2014 by Dr. Stephen Fine

The Canadian Camping Association, as a federation of camps across the country, is experiencing a variety of challenges: rising costs, shrinking youth market share, increased government scrutiny and regulation, and risk management issues.

Validated research is a powerful instrument for addressing and protecting this common interest because today more than ever before there is a vital need to back up our claims with evidence based research.

We now possess authoritative confirmation of our industry’s value through the findings of the CCA/ University of Waterloo (UW) “Canadian Summer Camp Research Project.” The next steps are to now effectively broadcast this information,  keep it in the public view, and to put it to practical purposes.

The research proved that camp provides development in five key areas:

Canada Kids Camps Research Benefits Development

Additionally, in the survey of over 1400 parents from across Canada, the overwhelming (or statistically significant) response was that lessons learned at camp successfully transfer from the camp environment to home, school and neighbourhood settings. Parents reported that they saw either a change for the better or an enhanced and continuing positive attitude in their children.

We do not intend to allow this study to languish. So, this is what we are now doing in order to assist you as camp professionals:

  1. The first resource soon to be available to camp directors and administrators will be a series of briefing papers. These are short, concise overviews of the findings related to each of the key development areas. These will offer insight to parents as to what outcomes a camp experience can reasonably provide for their child.
  2. The second resource will be information packages that will be of use to provincial camping associations or camps themselves. Individually keyed toward the purposes of public awareness, government lobbying, or the seeking of funding or sponsorship. These will be based on the CCA’s proven camp benefits backed up with findings from comparable research studies.
  3. In the longer run, staff training initiatives and program development based on CCA/UW research findings will be piloted at CCA camps in an effort to provide elements of intentionality to existing programs.