Examining Gender and Age as Predictors of Personal Development in a Summer Camp Setting as Mediated by Social Capital and Social Support
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Youth require opportunities to master and demonstrate new skills, make independent choices, and form positive social relationships to encourage positive youth development. Camps provide a unique setting that fosters the development of new sources of social capital and social support. Current literature examining positive youth development in camps has been able to identify some demographic differences in camper experiences at camp, but has not yielded statistically significant relationships and no consensus as to the explanations for those relationships. Using a longitudinal dataset gathered in a camp setting, this study examined the relationships between gender and age and personal development. Social capital and social support were found to have significant roles as mediating variables in the development of personal development at camp. This study enhances the understanding of the benefits to children from attending camp, and why females and older children may benefit the most from these experiences.