Evidence for the Impact of the Camp Experience

Why we do what we do

Low-income students typically have limited access to summer enrichment opportunities which is known to result in them falling behind academically in the early part of the school year. JACF provides these motivated and deserving young people with the opportunity to reduce the impact of this phenomenon known as “summer slide” by sending them to a multi-week summer camp experience where they continue to learn and grow.  This enables them to return to school in the fall with the ability to perform to their true potential. By removing the financial barriers to high-quality summer enrichment, we are able to immediately influence their academic success, as well as foster highly relevant personal skills that have the potential to alter their life’s trajectory.

What camp provides

Research indicates that summer camps play an important role in the development of young people. Results show that the positive supportive environments that camps create provide young people with the opportunity to grow socially, develop important life skills (including critical workforce-relates skills), and experience nature, all in a fun, hands-on setting.

Gathering Evidence for the Impact of Camp

In collaboration with the American Camp Association (www.acacamps.org), we have embarked upon a multi-year research-based project to collect data from all of our campers and their parents or guardians. The project is designed to evaluate the impact of the summer camp program upon NINE specific skills that help build successful contributing members of society. The project is based on questionnaires that are statistically tested, specific to the summer camp program, and are age appropriate.

Measuring the outcomes of attending camp is an important piece in understanding the value of the partnership we have established together.


Significant growth in AFFINITY FOR NATURE was expressed by 43% of our campers, while 30% told us that their PROBLEM SOLVING skills and their INTEREST IN EXPLORATION had increased significantly because of their camp experience this summer.

This year was one of the best summers I’ve ever had, it was like nothing I have experienced yet. Being a Junior Counselor was crazy…for the first week all the JCs lived together – these are my best friends, we have built camaraderie over the last five years and this year we learned more about each other than any of us thought possible. We shared about our lives, our passions, and how we want to be remembered. As JCs we had responsibilities and liberties that we had never had before at camp. As well as being authority figures in our individual lodges we had to balance work in activities with service learning projects. It was one of the most defining year I have had thus far.

Camp has caused me to act more mature because now I am a role model to younger kids around camp. I feel camp has allowed me to resolve issues more thoroughly than I would have prior to camp. I make sure that all loose ends are tied and that everyone can go home happy. I am very thankful that due to camp I can solve all my little issues and whatever larger ones come up in my life. Due to camp, I have learned how to adapt to group situations more and therefore am more effective when working with a group of my peers. At camp the entire time you are there you are placed into group situations, resulting in me developing more of an accepting personality which allows me to listen to everyone’s opinions and take them at face value and not be offended if they contradict my own beliefs.

Because of camp I feel like I am more capable as a human being. I know things that none of my other friends know, I can build a fire with my hands and I can identify different types of trees and build solid structures. Camp has definitely shown me that I am capable of more than I had thought before I went to camp.  I’ve done things I never thought I would, I’ve been put in situations where I’m not exactly comfortable and therefore I have gained knowledge about my limits and how I can break past them. I know I can be successful because overall I am more capable than I would be if I had never gone to camp.

– Kai R. (5th summer camper / 1st summer junior counselor)



Amber Martinez shared how camp has impacted her 14 year old son Dom:

I was amazed at how much more mature and independent he was when he came back from camp. He knows what responsibilities he needs to take care of and handles them. Learning has always been relatively difficult for my son due to his learning disabilities but this year he seems to be enjoying class more and is more interested in class. He has always been good about working in groups especially because he is the type of person to put other’s needs ahead of his own however I’ve seen a shift in the person he’s become in group settings. He used to be more of the supporter/helper but now he’s become more of a leader in group situations.

I think the amount of confidence he has gained is incredible and it is helping him so many different aspects of his life. It’s exciting seeing how he has developed and grown.

For more stories about How Camp Impacted Our Campers This Summer read our blog post: Nine Amazing Campers Share Their Experiences At Nine Incredible Camps

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