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Research in Outdoor Education

DOI

10.1353/roe.2015.0003

Abstract

The social capital and civic engagement literature indicate a similar concern: Americans today are less connected to their communities than in the recent past. The purpose of this study was to explore intentional summer camp programming as a possible avenue to engendering social capital and civic engagement in campers' home communities. Eight campers and their parents were interviewed at least three months after the campers participated in a structured camp program designed to increase campers' civic engagement and social capital. Campers experienced post-camp gains in their motivation for civic engagement and their bonding and bridging social networks; however, not all of these gains were sustained after the camp experience. Further, the camp program displayed some of the features recommended in the civic engagement and social capital literatures for contexts wishing to foster those outcomes. Practice implications and future research directions are explored.

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