WATERLOO, ON, June 24, 2013 /CNW/ - The positive development that
children and youth experience at summer camp results in sustained
behavioural changes at home, school and in the community, says a new
study from a team of researchers at the University of Waterloo.
"We found that summer camp allows for either improvement or
reinforcement of positive attitudes and behaviours, and these changes
are maintained long after camp has ended," said Professor Troy Glover,
a professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at
Waterloo, and the lead investigator on the study. "A lot more goes on
at summer camp than roasting marshmallows and singalongs."
Part of the multi-phase Canadian Summer Camp Research Project, the study
asked 1,405 parents of campers between the ages of 4 and 18 if they
noticed any changes in their children's attitudes or behaviours since
returning from camp. The study looked specifically at social
integration and citizenship, environmental awareness, attitudes towards
physical activity, emotional intelligence, self-confidence and personal
"Parents perceived positive development in all five areas. Regardless of
age, gender or camp experience, all campers experienced some degree of
positive outcomes and growth," said Professor Glover.
Older children tended to experience the greatest changes in attitudes
and behaviours, while female campers experienced greater levels of
social integration and citizenship than boys.
Children who stayed at camp longer exhibited greater changes in the five
areas studied, with returning campers experiencing greater positive
changes than new campers. Camp was rarely an aversive experience for
youth, nor was it associated with negative changes.
Glover suggests that the findings support the development of national
camp programs that focus on fostering positive outcomes in youth,
rather than on programs that narrowly focus on decreasing unhealthy
risk in children.
"In short, the camp experience transfers into everyday life, in the best
way possible. Parents need to leverage this and help children develop
and maintain the skills and values that will allow them to be
successful adults," said Professor Glover.
The study was prepared for the Canadian Camping Association. It
represents the third phase of the three-phase project.
About the University of Waterloo
In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart
of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading
comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in
undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's
largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its
connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in
learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is
committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by
championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant
to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about
Waterloo, please visit www.uwaterloo.ca.
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SOURCE: University of Waterloo
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