Directors, please give the university students particularly graduate students on your staff and your alumni, the opportunity to enter and maybe win.
We welcome papers from any academic discipline with a topic that can be related to camping.
Jennifer Straver, M.Ed., U. Windsor, ON, wrote the winning research paper: “Returning Year After Year: The Motivation and Retention of Coaches at Madawaska Volleyball Camp”.
This is a one week, end of season camp on the Camp Walden site. She explains why these dedicated staff keep returning for many more years than you would think possible.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CCARAE 2017 Call for Papers is now online.
Please bring it to the attention of all staff or alumni who are engaged in camping–related research in their studies or work.
At the request of the Ottawa Parenting Times, Catherine Ross, Communications Officer for the CCA wrote this article for publication in their magazine. Directors may find the content useful for educating current or prospective parents on the proven benefits of the camp experience.
Children benefit greatly from going to camp. Camp directors have observed this since campers started attending Canadian camps over a hundred years ago. Parents discover this when their children return home at the end of their session. In wonder and appreciation, they frequently write letters to directors.
Camp is the place where our kids became aware of themselves, where their self-esteem blossomed, their hearts thumped wildly and their growth spurts happened…what did you feed them?
It is two weeks since the boys came home and every dinner conversation still revolves around camp! They both had such a positive experience.
Our daughter came home with many new skills. Not only did she learn more hard skills in canoeing, kayaking and sailing, but she learned a lot about how to be a leader and to work even better as a member of a team.
Even campers know it.
After two weeks of desperately trying to do kayak rolls, I finally accomplished it. It was the most amazing feeling.
I learned about patience, tolerance and don’t give up.
I learned that it takes team work to get through an activity because you can’t do everything by yourself.
At camp you feel free from all the stress of your life.
However, it is only recently that we acquired documented proof of these claims based on thorough, academic, research and analysis. In 2011, Dr. Troy Glover and his team from The University of Waterloo in co-operation with the Canadian Camping Association completed a six-year study. The research team based their conclusions on interviews with many directors and the observation and questioning of hundreds of campers in a variety of camps across Canada.
They discovered that campers showed improvement in five key areas: social integration and citizenship, environmental awareness, self confidence and personal development, emotional intelligence and attitudes towards physical activity.
The findings came as no surprise to camp leaders but were welcomed as concrete evidence of the value of the camp experience to assist parents when they are considering how best to invest their money and their child’s time.
At camp, children live, work and play with other campers, many of whom may be strangers on arrival day. Some may be from different faiths and cultures. In resident camps, they often come from other cities, provinces or countries. But by departure day, despite the differences, with the guidance of a caring, capable counselor, they have become close friends. Even at an all boys’ camp, I have witnessed tears streaming down young faces as they say their goodbyes till next year. And the wonderful thing is– many of these friendships that start and are nurtured at camp last a lifetime. Fifteen years ago, my daughter moved to British Columbia. On her annual visit home to Ontario, without exception, the friends she strives to connect with are all camp friends.
Camp friends are the best. Campers frequently comment that “at camp I can be myself”. “Everyone accepts me for who I am.” Living in close proximity, it is impossible to pretend to be what you are not for too long. At camp, emulating the role modeling of a well-trained counselor, children learn to be accepting and tolerant.
Living in the out of doors, campers are exposed to the wonders of nature, which develops into an appreciation, concern and caring for our environment. An added bonus is that current research proves that time spent out of doors is essential and beneficial to the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development of children.
How is it possible that even in a short period at camp, children grow in confidence? First, because their parents have trusted them to try a little independence. Second because their counselor (a young leader who in a short time, they will respect, admire and choose to emulate) is there at all times to help, teach, encourage and guide them as they achieve small goals. At camp, learning is fun. Every success, large or small, is recognized and cheered, whether making a bed for the first time or swimming the length of the pool. When goals are not reached, an empathetic counselor will remind a disappointed camper that there are no failures as long as you try. In this child-centered, positive, environment, children blossom.
At camp, children play hard, eat well and sleep like logs. It is a healthy place to be. Also, campers often express how safe and secure they feel at camp, which contributes to their physical and emotional well being.
But before any of these benefits can be realized, parents and prospective campers have an important job. They need to research and choose among the many, great, options the one accredited camp that best meets their family’s needs and expectations. Good luck in the search. And be prepared, if you choose wisely, your new camper will want to return for years to come!
This annual award, the Canadian Camping Research Award of Excellence, recognizes and celebrates excellence in research and writing that makes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge relevant to organized camping in Canada. It encourages graduate students, faculty and independent scholars from any academic discipline or professional field to examine issues and or practicalities of the camp industry from a social, educational, economic, technological, political, natural and/or organizational perspective.
Camp Directors, please share this announcement with interested current or former staff.
Amanda Shore’s 2015 CCRAE winning paper, Notes on Camp: A Decolonizing Strategy, addresses a fundamental recurring Canadian social issue, which is now bordering on a crisis.
Shore describes our indigenous peoples as the colonized, while European settlers and governments are the colonizers. Her research into indigenous programs at camps is based on historical records, academic literature and personal interviews.
Shore recognizes the importance of repetitive traditional programming while questioning the need to re-evaluate some camp traditions for 21st century youth.
This richly layered qualitative study merits the attention of all camps that have “Indian Councils” or related programs. Please click here to download the paper.
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.
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.
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:
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: