Summer Camp and Positive Youth Development: Program With Romanian Youth


  • Jennifer S. Feenstra Northwestern College



camp, experiential education, citizenship, trust, honesty, empowerment


A variety of activities are used in camps to help promote positive youth development, improving social skills and self-esteem in campers. I expanded on previous camp research in this study to address the influence camps have on trust, belief in the honesty of others, empowerment, and care for others in youth in Eastern Europe. Since 1999, New Horizons Foundation has been conducting a summer camp with a focus on experiential education with Romanian youth to encourage positive development in youth and help them contribute to their communities. I evaluated change in self-reported trust, belief in the honesty of others, empowerment, and care for those less fortunate of 490 campers (Mage = 14.8 years, 52.8% female). Participants showed an increase in reported trust in others, belief in the honesty of others, and empowerment. No increase was found in caring for others. Individuals who work with youth as well as those who support camps should be encouraged by these findings as they indicate that camp has even more positive effects on a wider population of youth than previously studied.

Author Biography

Jennifer S. Feenstra, Northwestern College

Department of Psychology

Associate Professor