Camps and COVID-19: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, and Where We Go From Here

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18666/JOREL-2021-V13-I2-10661

Keywords:

summer camp, COVID-19, youth development

Abstract

What do we know about camps and COVID-19? About as much as we know about the virus itself, which is that it is universal, it is catastrophic, and it is forcing us to bend and shift in ways we never expected. We don’t yet know the full impact of COVID-19 on camps, although preliminary findings from a series of studies conducted by the American Camp Association suggest the effects of COVID-19 on camps and the communities they serve are significant. In this research note we present what we are learning from these ongoing efforts and what they suggest about camps and the young people they serve. While programmatic shifts, like virtual camp programming, and COVID-19 preventive measures, like masks and cohorts, are still being tested, we know that young people thrive when they feel connected to peers and adults in places like camp. We also know that coronavirus disproportionately affects communities who already face inequitable access to healthcare, education, and high-quality summertime experiences. Given what we know, and considering what we have yet to learn, we suggest some ways camp professionals and researchers can chart a path to 2021.Subscribe to JOREL

References

American Camp Association (2019, May 20). Measles update for the 2019 camp season. https://www.acacamps.org/news-publications/blogs/camp-connection/measles-update-2019-summer-camp-season

American Camp Association (2020, May 20). Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance. https://www.acacamps.org/resource-library/coronavirus/camp-business/camp-operations-guide-summer-2020

American Camp Association (forthcoming) CampCounts 2020 Survey Report.

Beam, M. R., Chen, C., & Greenberger, E. (2002). The nature of adolescents’ relationships with their “very important” nonparental adults. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30(2), 305–325. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014641213440

Bouffard, S., Wimer, C., Caronongan, P., Little, P., Dearing, E., & Simpkins, S. (2006). Demographic differences in patterns of youth out-of-school time activity participation. Journal of Youth Development, 1(1), 24-40. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2006.396

Browne, L. P. (2020). Who Has Access and Who Does Not? How Camps Are Thinking about Access and Equity in Virtual Programming. American Camp Association. https://www.acacamps.org/news-publications/blogs/camp-connection/who-has-access-who-does-not-how-camps-are-thinking-about-access-equity-virtual

Browne, L. P., Gillard, A., & Garst, B. A. (2019). Camp as an institution of socialization: Past, present, and future. Journal of Experiential Education, 42(1), 51-64. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053825918820369

Burrow, A.L., O’Dell, A.C. & Hill, P.L. (2010). Profiles of a developmental asset: Youth purpose as a context for hope and well-being. Journal of Youth Adolescence 39, 1265–1273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-009-9481-1

Callina, K.S., Mueller, M.K., Buckingham, M.H., Gutierrez, A.S. (2015). Building hope for positive youth development: Research, practice, and policy. In: Bowers E. et al. (Eds.) Promoting Positive Youth Development. Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-17166-1_5

Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (2020a, May 20). COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority groups. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html

Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (2020b, September 28). COVID-19 Trends Among School-Aged Children—United States, March 1—September 19, 2020. http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6939e2external icon

Ellett, M. (2020). Quality in online programming. American Camp Association. https://www.acacamps.org/news-publications/blogs/camp-connection/quality-online-camp-programming

Lerner, R. M., Agans, J. P., Arbeit, M. R., Chase, P. A., Weiner, M. B., Schmid, K. L., & Warren, A. E. A. (2013). Resilience and positive youth development: A relational developmental systems model. In Handbook of resilience in children (pp. 293-308). Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3661-4_17

Maine Center for Business and Economic Research and University of Southern Maine (2020). The Impact of COVID-19 on Maine Youth Camps. Unpublished technical report.

McCole, D., Bobilya, A. J., Holman, T., & Lindley, B. (2019). Benefits of summer camp: What do parents value?. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 11(3), 239-247. https://doi.org/10.18666/JOREL-2019-V11-I3-9672

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). Shaping summertime experiences: Opportunities to promote healthy development and well-being for children and youth. National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25546

Oyserman, D., & Destin, M. (2010). Identity-based motivation: Implications for intervention. The Counseling Psychologist, 38(7), 1001-1043. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011000010374775

Paris, L. (2008). Children's nature: The rise of the American summer camp (Vol. 5). NYU press.

Pittman, K. (2020, May 29). Summer. Learning. Loss. Leadership. The Forum for Youth Investment. https://forumfyi.org/blog/summer-learning-loss-leadership/?_sft_post_tag=karen-pittman

Richmond, D., Sibthorp, J., & Wilson, C. (2019). Understanding the Role of Summer Camps in the Learning Landscape: An Exploratory Sequential Study. Journal of Youth Development, 14(3), 9-30. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2019.780

Richmond, D., Sibthorp, J., Dickerson, J., Povilaitis, V., & Godwin, M. (in review). Differential Impacts of COVID-19 on Summer Experiences of Children from Income-Stratified Families. [Panel presentation] American Camp Association National Conference 2021, New Orleans, LA, United States.

Roth, J. L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003). What exactly is a youth development program? Answers from research and practice. Applied Developmental Science, 7(2), 94-111. https://doi.org/10.1207/S1532480XADS0702_6

Schmid, K. L., & Lopez, S. J. (2011). Positive pathways to adulthood: The role of hope in adolescents’ constructions of their futures. In R. M. Lerner, J. V. Lerner, & J. B. Benson (Eds.), Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 41, 69-88. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-386492-5.00004-X

Sibthorp, J., Browne, L., & Bialeschki, M. D. (2010). Measuring positive youth development at summer camp: Problem solving and camp connectedness. Research in Outdoor Education, 10, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1353/roe.2010.0002

Sibthorp, J., Wilson, C., Povilaitis, V., & Browne, L. (2020). Active ingredients of learning at summer camp. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42322-019-00050-6

Sieving, R. E., McRee, A. L., McMorris, B. J., Shlafer, R. J., Gower, A. L., Kapa, H. M., ... & Resnick, M. D. (2017). Youth–adult connectedness: a key protective factor for adolescent health. American journal of preventive medicine, 52(3), S275-S278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2016.07.037

Sorenson, J., & Fuerst, C. (2020). Finding Direction: A Camper family survey to guide Christian camps in the midst of COVID-19. Sacred Playgrounds. https://sacredplaygrounds.com/

Wycoff, T., & Browne, L. P. (in review). Camps & COVID-19: Examining summer camp operational choices amidst a pandemic. [Panel presentation]. American Camp Association National Conference 2021, New Orleans, LA, United States.

Published

2021-05-12

Issue

Section

Special Issue: Critical Exploration of Evidence-Based Practice in Organized Camping