Questions raised in exploring spiritual growth and camp experiences


Camp experiences seem to have the potential to provide a significant backdrop for spiritual growth in young people. The purposes of this paper are to measure changes in spirituality for 8–14 year olds who participated in organized camp experiences and to articulate issues to consider in examining spiritual growth. Data were collected from a U.S. sample of over 5,000 families representing 92 camps. The study design included pre, post, and follow-up questionnaires given to campers and their parents as well as questionnaires to camp directors regarding outcome goals of their camps. Mixed results were found from the campers’ and parents’ perspectives. Camps that indicated that spiritual growth was one of their two most important goals (i.e., intentional programming for spirituality) had the greatest change occurring for campers from pre to post camp with a regression at the time of follow-up back to the pre-camp levels. Further questions to be considered in conducting this type of research relate to measuring spiritual development and conducting camp programming that focuses on spirituality.

Document Type





Camps, Intentional programming, Religion, Youth development

Publication Date


Journal Title

Leisure/ Loisir