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A Qualitative Analysis of Interest in Camp

Ann Gillard, Rachel F. Aaron


This study explored how interest in camp was formed in girls with little

previous experience at camp. Basic Needs Theory (Deci & Ryan,

2000) suggests that interest (i.e., feeling intrinsically motivated) in

engaging in activities requires supports that meet individuals' needs

for autonomy, relatedness, and competence. A qualitative case study

approach was used to explore the experiences of twenty-one 12 to 15

year-old girls who attended a residential Girl Scout camp. We collected

data through semi-structured interviews that were based on Basic

Needs Theory, yet remained open to other possible influences on

interest. The results showed that experiences of relatedness most

strongly influenced interest in camp. Additionally, interest in camp

arose from the setting of camp, namely engagement in new and

unique experiences, feelings of flow, and connections with nature. We

discuss implications for designing and implementing youth development



adolescent girls; basic needs theory; camp

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