Gathering Evidence for the Impact of Camp

We are convinced that kids need camp: Today, like never before, teens and pre-teens are under tremendous pressure. Self-doubt, peer pressure, and a host of other harmful influences nag at kids every day.  Even kids who enjoy a strong support structure face hurdles. Camp provides opportunities for children and young adults to pull away and catch their breath – catch a vision for the bigger picture of their lives and cultivate critical skills. They explore nature, participate in new adventures and test their limits by problem-solving, engaging in teamwork, citizenship and independent activity in a safe and healthy environment surrounded by caring and supporting adult role models. A growing body of research in youth development suggests that summer camps play an important role in the growth and development of the kids who attend. Results show that camp provides an opportunity for youth to GROW SOCIALLY, DEVELOP IMPORTANT LIFE SKILLS, and EXPERIENCE NATURE, all in a fun, hands-on setting.

We are convinced that long-term partnerships to provide long-term access to camp produces the greatest long-term impact upon the kids we serve: It is through our strength of partnerships with GREAT camps and aligned youth mentoring organizations that we can help to change the trajectory of the lives of the kids we serve.

This combination of elements, shared experiences and opportunities has a changing influence upon the kids we serve – it is the power of the camp experience, and it can last a lifetime, helping young people navigate the challenges ahead.

Measuring The Outcomes

JACF has embarked upon a multi-year outcomes-based research project to collect data from our campers and their parents or guardians to evaluate the impact of camp upon NINE specific skills that help build successful contributing members of society.

I was amazed at how much more mature and independent my son 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 in so many different aspects of his life. It’s exciting seeing how he has developed and grown over the 5 years he has attended camp in a JACF Campership.

Did You Know That...

Our campers reported significant growth in the following areas as a direct result of attending camp last summer: AFFINITY FOR NATURE, PROBLEM-SOLVING and INTEREST IN EXPLORATION.



79% of our 2017 campers have reapplied to return to camp in 2018 – aiming to continue to build up the growth and development they achieved during the course of last summer.


We partner with NINE high-quality residential summer camps located in ARIZONA, COLORADO, MAINE, MINNEAPOLIS and WISCONSIN.


We partner with an increasing number of mentor-based youth development organizations across the country to help identify highly motivated low-income kids for our Campership Program.


We take a true partnership approach to funding this life-changing opportunity – sharing the load between ourselves, our partners and the families of the kids we serve. Everyone involved in supporting these kids’ successes is also financially invested in the process.


Low-income students typically have limited access to summer enrichment opportunities which causes them to fall behind academically in the early part of the school year. Our Campership Program provides motivated young people with the opportunity to reduce this phenomenon known as ‘summer slide’, enabling them to return to school with the ability to perform to their true potential, leading to increased academic success.


According to researchers, kids spend on average 3.5 minutes in meaningful conversation with their parents each week. At camp, caring adults, counselors and mentors help kids think through decisions and experiences in a way that will prepare them for their future. Many campers point back to the challenges and successes of their camp experiences, including the relationships they developed there and identify them as helping shape the positive direction of their lives.


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

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