by Andrew Motiwalla

The ACA 5-Year Camp Impact Study explores if and how camp prepares youth participants for college, career, and their lives outside of camp. Under the direction of an all-volunteer Research Advisory Committee and in partnership with researchers at the University of Utah, the Youth Impact Study aims to document the distinct and transferable outcomes of camp.

We recently shared a blog post that provides evidence that social skills are learned at summer programs and may be transferred to academics and the workplace.  We learned that young people gain a great deal when they attend camp, notably in the areas of social-emotional learning, but that was just Phase 1 of the study.

Phase 2 is built on what was learned in Phase 1 with a larger sample and more quantitative look at the lasting outcomes of camp.

The outcomes on both maps are represented by bubbles mapped out in a grip based on “Importance in Daily Life” (horizontal axis) and “The Role of Camp” (vertical axis). You can see that the strongest outcomes, those that are most important later in life and most distinct to camp, are all related to social-emotional learning.  

Main Takeaways from Phase 2:

  • Relationship skills, appreciation for living in the moment, independence, responsibility, and appreciation for individual differences are among the things participants reported learning at camp that are most important in their lives today and learning outcomes that appear to be most unique to camp.

The most memorable moment of my summer was definitely the ones shared with my peers. At first, I was skeptical and didn’t think I was going to make new friends easily. But, I can honestly say that Summer Springboard was the most inclusive community I have ever been a part of. There was no exclusion based on religion, gender, age or even language. Instead, there was bonding, teamwork, and a sense of happiness present among us all.” – Adilene K.

  • When compared to school, camp appears to uniquely promote an appreciation for living in the moment, an affinity for nature, and a willingness to try new things, among other outcomes.

I came back feeling like a new person and truly felt like I was not completely spooked about the idea of college. I had felt comfortable living without my mother and being responsible about going to classes. I would recommend Summer Springboard to anyone who wants to gain knowledge about college and gain skills to help them for the rest of their lives.” – Adilene K.

  • Participants reported that the most powerful source of lasting learning was the people at camp — camp staff and their peers. Opportunities for active engagement and, at overnight camps, the separation from home were also identified as mechanisms for growth.

The friends I made are people who I still talk to on a daily basis. The community at Summer Springboard was welcoming and the staff helped us feel comfortable from the beginning to the end. The bonding time and activities helped us create a better working environment when learning. These bonding experiences helped us develop our social skills in which we can apply for our future careers.” – Adilene K.

Summer Camp for Teens:

Many parents send their child to Summer Springboard to let them explore their academic passions before committing to a college major. However, the residential camp experience helps students have a successful transition to college on many more levels. As you can see in the testimonials above from Adilene, some former Summer Springboard students expressed that they can trace decisions about choice of college, identification of a major, and career choices back to their camp experience.

Interested in learning more?

Summer Springboard provides pre-college summer programs for teens at UC Berkeley, Yale, and Georgetown. The innovative 2-week summer programs for high school students combine self-discovery with hands-on learning and college preparation. Call 858-780-5660.