The Mixed Bag of Inclusion: An Examination of an Inclusive Camp Using Contact Theory


  • Mary Ann Devine
  • Mary Beth O'Brien


contact theory, inclusive camping, participants with and without disabilities, recreation inclusion, youth


The purpose of this study was to examine the quality of contact (i.e., personal vs. casual) and the conditions (i.e., organized vs. informal) under which the contact occurred in an inclusive experience. Specifically, this study sought to examine contact as it related to the roles played by staff under specific conditions and the influence of these factors on perceptions of the camp experience. Eight campers, two male and six female, four with and four without disabilities, attending a one week residential camp, agreed to be research participants. Using a qualitative method with contact theory as the framework, the campers participated in one interview that explored their perceptions of the inclusive camp experience. Data indicated that their perceptions of the inclusive experience had positive and difficult elements. Developing categories included perceptions reflecting the experience to be mutually rewarding, "good for me," and weird and frustrating. Findings are discussed in relation to theory and practice implications.





Research Papers