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Camp Employment as a Developmental Setting for Emerging Adults: A National Mixed-Methods Study

Victoria Povilaitis, Jim Sibthorp, Dan Richmond


Emerging adults engage in a range of education, employment, and other experiences that provide opportunities to build skills necessary for future success. The camp industry employs 1.5 million individuals each summer, and its potential as a setting for development is important to understand. The purpose of this study was to identify the outcomes of camp employment and compare these outcomes across settings. Participants were 254 individuals engaged in a longitudinal study, all of whom were camp staff during summer 2018. This study employed an explanatory sequential design. Quantitative survey data were analyzed using RMANOVAs and paired t-tests. Qualitative data were analyzed using a multi-step coding process including open (survey responses) and utilitarian coding (interviews). Findings indicated emerging adults learned relationship skills, leadership, and appreciation for being present and that camp employment is a rich setting for emerging adults to learn skills they may not learn elsewhere.

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summer camp; developmental setting; emerging adult; mixed methods

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