Did you know that Clearwater Camp is an American Camp Association (ACA) accredited camp? We’ll try not to get too off track here, but essentially it means that every five years we undergo an extensive review of some key aspects of camp operation. When we say extensive, we mean it- we are reviewed on approximately 200 standards.
Anyway, one of the many benefits of this accreditation is access to the ACA’s Youth Outcome Battery (YOB). The ACA measures outcomes of the camp experience over the years. There are 11:
- Friendship Skills
- Family Citizenship
- Perceived Competence
- Interest in Exploration
- Affinity of Nature
- Problem- Solving Confidence
- Camp Connectedness
- Spiritual Well-Being
Click here for more information about the YOB.
Each year we ask our campers for feedback on how we are doing at camp. In addition to a few questions like, “how is camp going for you” and “what can we do better”, we decided to add three of the YOB’s outcomes of the camp experience: Friendship Skills, Responsibility, and Problem-Solving Confidence.
We chose these three outcomes because we felt they aligned with what our parents and campers were telling us in the goal section of the camper application. Using friendship skills as an example, one of the main goals we frequently saw in the application was that the campers wanted to keep and continue to make new friends. We also felt that these outcomes on the whole represent what we try to give campers in our mission, vision, and values.
The YOB includes questions that ask if the camp experience has helped campers develop:
- Friendship Skills- make friends and maintain relationships
- Responsibility- learn to be accountable for their own actions and mistakes
- Problem-Solving Confidence- believe they have abilities to resolve problems
The scale measures gains through camp experience, and those are of perceived change from the camper’s participation. It uses a 5-point Likert scale, where a value of 1 is decreased and a value of 5 is Increased a lot, I am sure.
We learned from “what is going well for you at camp?” that campers enjoyed their activities, became more confident, and felt accepted by others.
We also got some great feedback from “what can we do better for you.” Suggestions for scheduling and programming, as well as improvements for our free activities offerings. We’re really looking forward to working with our staff on these changes.
Overall, the survey indicated that our campers reported increases on all three outcomes. Average responses were 4.07 (friendship skills), 4.04 (responsibility), and 3.75 (Problem-Solving Confidence).
What does this mean?
We are excited that our campers believe that their experience as a camper at Clearwater camp have changed their ability to make friends and maintain relationships, gain responsibility skills, and believe that they have abilities to resolve problems. We think so, too.