A Qualitative Analysis of Interest in Camp


  • Ann Gillard Springfield College
  • Rachel F. Aaron Texas A&M University


adolescent girls, basic needs theory, camp


This study explored how interest in camp was formed in girls with littleprevious experience at camp. Basic Needs Theory (Deci & Ryan,2000) suggests that interest (i.e., feeling intrinsically motivated) inengaging in activities requires supports that meet individuals' needsfor autonomy, relatedness, and competence. A qualitative case studyapproach was used to explore the experiences of twenty-one 12 to 15year-old girls who attended a residential Girl Scout camp. We collecteddata through semi-structured interviews that were based on BasicNeeds Theory, yet remained open to other possible influences oninterest. The results showed that experiences of relatedness moststrongly influenced interest in camp. Additionally, interest in camparose from the setting of camp, namely engagement in new andunique experiences, feelings of flow, and connections with nature. Wediscuss implications for designing and implementing youth developmentprograms.



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