Reconnecting Youth to Nature: A Camp on Campus Model


  • Eddie Hill Old Dominion University



outdoor recreation camp, Leave No Trace, youth, and service-learning


Day camps are a powerful context for youth development. The American Camp Association and Leave No Trace have been integral in supporting youth development by identifying outcomes associated with participation in outdoor recreation. Recreation majors in the programming class used the camp as a service-learning component of the class that offered them valuable hands-on experience in program design, program facilitation, working with youth, and program evaluation. Therefore, this study evaluated the impact of camp on identified youth outcomes. The outdoor recreation camp was a partnership from a private school and local university. The Youth Outcomes Battery provided measures that focus on common outcomes (e.g., affinity for nature). Thirty-one of the 32 campers completed the retrospective questionnaire. The sample was 61% female, with an average age of 9 years. On a scale of 1 to 10, campers scored a 9.32 on Level of Enjoyment. Findings show that over 50% of the campers learned “a little” or “a lot” about the desired outcomes (e.g., affinity for nature). This work provides an example of an evidence-based nature camp.

Author Biography

Eddie Hill, Old Dominion University

Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies