Veronica Ripp

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Anderson Young

Second Advisor

Dr. Lynn S. Anderson

Third Advisor

Sharon L. Todd


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between organized camp and character development. In particular, it looked to determine to what extent organized camp affected campers' character, including how much change in character campers' experienced in a week at camp, what aspects of character were most influenced, and what factors about camp had the most impact on campers' character. The study was multimodal in design, using the Values in Action Inventory for Youth (VIA-Youth) as a pre and posttest for quantitative analysis and camper interviews, staff interviews, and researcher observations for qualitative analysis. Seven completed VIA-Youth pre and posttests were returned to the researcher, which made the quantitative data less valid than if more surveys had been returned. It was found that camp has a positive effect on campers across several virtue categories especially transcendence. In interviews, campers almost always had a positive attitude about the benefits of camp. Older campers tended to be able to more clearly articulate complex benefits of camp. Counselors were found to be a major factor influencing the campers' experience of camp. The very structure and attitude of camp and how it is run was also highly influential on camper perceptions of camp. It was determined that, while based on the quantitative, camp had a positive effect on campers, the quantitative data was less clear because of the short time frame of a camp session as well as the nature of the survey instrument used.