Influence of a Training Program on Camp Counselors’ Perceived Competency When Accounting for Prior Camp Experience


  • Zachary Wahl-Alexander Northern Illinois University
  • Steven Howell Northern Illinois University
  • K. Andrew R. Richards University of Alabama



Camp counselors, Kirkpatricks model of evaluation, staff training, summer camp


The purpose of this study was to evaluate summer camp counselors’ perceived competency prior to and after an 8-day training at an independent for-profit overnight camp. The participants in this study were 101 camp counselors who were employed at an overnight summer camp in the northeastern United States. Counselors’ perceived competency was measured with a 21-item survey with seven subscales including typical day routine, conflict management, counselor expectations, safe camp environment, relationships, develop camper skills, and behavior management, prior to and following staff training. Results from the survey indicate increases across all constructs were significant, and the three factors with the largest increase after the orientation training were typical day routine, counselor expectations, and developing camper skills. The two factors with the smallest increase were behavior management and creating a safe camp environment. Devoting additional time teaching tangible methods on how to handle conflict and cultivate camp skills may similarly lead to stronger competency in staff. In the future, integrating video module training for staff prior to training may be beneficial.

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