Measuring the Impact of a Medical Specialty Camp: Using Self-Determination Theory


  • Eddie Hill Old Dominion University
  • Ryan Gagnon Clemson University
  • Ron Ramsing Western Kentucky University
  • Jennifer Goff Old Dominion University
  • Betsy Kennedy Old Dominion University
  • Taylor Hooker Old Dominion University



diabetes, medical speciality camp, self-determination theory, youth, outcome-focused programming, recreation therapy


Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses facing youth. The American Diabetes Association (2012) states camps for children and youth that are focused on diabetes are invaluable. Medical camp programs for youth with illnesses have been shown to increase self-esteem, self-image, and motivation. Grounded in self-determination theory, this medical specialty camp took place in the eastern portion of the United States in the summer of 2014. Campers reported significantly higher levels of perceived competence of diabetes knowledge from pre (M  = 5.11, SD  = 1.05) to post-camp (M  = 5.15, SD  = 1.02), a mean increase of .04, 95% CI [4.78, 5.68], [F (1, 11) = 8.56, p  = .014, partial η. = .438]. This data is useful as CTRSs, recreation therapy students, and other healthcare professionals continue to program for medical specialty camps. This evidence-based medical camp can create a standard for diabetes camps to better prepare youth to manage their diabetes as they transition to healthy young adults.

Author Biographies

Eddie Hill, Old Dominion University

Human Movement Sciences Department

Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies Program

Assistant Professor

Certified Park and Recreation Professional

Ryan Gagnon, Clemson University

Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management

PhD Student

Ron Ramsing, Western Kentucky University

Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport

Associate Professor

Jennifer Goff, Old Dominion University

Department of Human Movement Sciences

PhD Student

Certified Park and Recreation Professional

Betsy Kennedy, Old Dominion University

Department of Human Movement Sciences

Senior Lecturer

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

Taylor Hooker, Old Dominion University

Recreation Therapy Undergraduate Student





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