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A Closer Look at the Camp Experience: Examining Relationships Between Life Skills, Elements of Positive Youth Development, and Antecedents of Change Among Camp Alumni

Barry A. Garst, Ryan J. Gagnon, Anja Whittington


Understanding program components that contribute to positive youth outcomes following camp experiences can help program providers bring a greater level of intentionality to their efforts. The purposes of this study were twofold: (a) to develop reliable and valid measures of life skill development, elements of positive youth development (PYD), and antecedents of change within the context of camp and (b) to examine potential relationships between life skill development, elements of PYD, and antecedents of change to better understand elements that influence youth outcomes in camp. Data were collected from 429 camp alumni using an online survey. Exploratory factor analysis was used to explore the reliability and validity of the three proposed scales, and hierarchical multiple regression was used to examine how selected variables contributed to the participants’ outcomes scores. Study results suggest three psychometrically sound instruments were developed to measure these constructs. Implications for research and practice are explored.


camp experiences; positive youth development; life skills; antecedents of change; exploratory factor analysis

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