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Research in Outdoor Education

Abstract

Organized camping has a long history of providing outdoor recreation and environmental education. Louv's (2005) charge that organized camping has shifted away from tradition raises many questions. This study focuses on the role and influence of camp directors on nature opportunities for children within the camp environment. Camp directors set the tone for camp through communication of the mission and philosophy, and managerial decision-making that influences the organization, daily operation, staffing, and programming options of a particular camp (Ball & Ball, 2004). If programming shifts, as Louv suggested, it requires the sanction and leadership of camp directors. Given the findings of previous research regarding the relationship between affect and decision ­making and behavior coupled with Louv's (2005) charge that the nature of organized camping has changed, we explored (a) How connected to nature do camp directors today feel? (b) Do opportunities for children to have direct experiences with nature differ at camps of directors who feel a strong personal connection to nature compared to those camp directors who feel less connection? and (c) Is the influence of camp directors' affective connection to nature strong enough to account for differences in programming related to the provision of opportunities for children to directly experience nature?

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