Jackson summer camp chosen for national study

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Jackson-based Wilderness Adventures has been selected by the American Camp Association (ACA) to be one of 50 summer camps in the United States to participate in ACA’s multi-year research study: the Youth and Staff Impact Project.

The American Camp Association (ACA) is the national organization that accredits camps throughout the United States based on a variety of different factors, such as program quality, and health and safety of campers and staff. Wilderness Adventures, which operates camp programs on 6 different continents and has a local day camp program, is one of only two accredited camps based in Wyoming.

In recent years the ACA has made research about camper outcomes and the ways to provide these outcomes a national priority, which has led to this research project occurring over the next five years.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, looks to investigate the outcomes children gain from a camp experience, how these positive outcomes (such as relationship skills, teamwork, or independence for example) transfer to other settings, like school and extracurricular activities, and how these outcomes help children who attend camp to thrive later in life.

Alongside the Youth Impact Study, ACA is also conducting a Staff Impact Study to examine the outcomes for young people who are working at camp and how these outcomes may transfer to college, career, and job readiness.

“We are thrilled to be selected to participate in this important study,” said Wilderness Adventures owner and director Tom Holland. “As educators, we in the camp setting have always understood anecdotally the impacts of the camp experience on our campers and our staff. Now, we are thrilled to partner with ACA and the University of Utah to move from those anecdotes to research based evidence.”

ACA is committed to conducting research in a rigorous and reliable way, which means that this study is being conducted by a university research team that was selected from a nationwide selection process. Furthermore, a group of volunteer researchers serves as an advisory committee to ensure what we learn is trustworthy and accurately represents real life camp experiences. Findings will be shared with camp professionals so they can design programs, train staff, and advocate for camp experiences to parents, educators, and other potential partners.

Holland added, “With over 13,000 summer camps in the United States, we are thrilled that our program gets to participate in this project. We know that the experiences Wilderness Adventures have provided since 1973 have been highly impactful on the lives of our participants, and now we are thrilled to assist with this important work.”

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