The Value of Camp

Promoting Youth Development Through Research

Enriching the Lives of Children

  • A generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. helped support the largest research study of camper outcomes ever conducted in the United States.
  • A respected, independent research firm, Philliber Research Associates, collected longitudinal data at 92 randomly selected camps.
  • More than 5,000 families from around the country participated.
  • Results confirmed that camps build skills necessary to prepare campers to assume roles as successful adults. Parents, campers, and camp staff independently reported growth in areas such as self-confidence, independence, making friends, exploring and learning new activities, and spirituality. Indeed, camp provides growth experiences for youth that can benefit them through adulthood.

Campers Say

  • Camp helped me make new friends. (96%)
  • Camp helped me to get to know kids who are different from me. (93%)
  • The people at camp helped me feel good about myself. (92%)
  • At camp, I did things I was afraid to do at first. (74%)

Parents Say

  • My child gained self-confidence at camp. (70%)
  • My child continues to participate in some of the new activities he or she learned at camp. (63%)
  • My child remains in contact with friends made at camp. (69%)

ACA’s Commitment

The American Camp Association is committed to your child’s growth and development. Measuring how camps are doing to address the potential of every child is an integral part of ACA’s mission. Camp is both a laboratory and a catalyst for child development. By studying campers’ experiences and camp’s impact on the lives of young people, ACA provides parents with the knowledge to make good decisions, to thoughtfully guide their children, and to offer opportunities for powerful lessons in community, character building, skill development, and healthy living. Camp is a powerful, positive force!

What ACA's Commitment Means for Parents

  • ACA provides camps with the most up-to-date information and best practices in the field of youth development.
  • ACA is actively conducting research that contributes to understanding youth development.

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