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1 LEADERSHIP AND GROUP FACILITATION SKILLS IN FLORIDA 4 H CAMP COUNSELORS By STEFANIE L DUDA A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUI REMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Stefanie L. Duda
3 To my parents, Ray and Debbi
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My accomplishments as a graduate student would not have been possible without the love and support of my family. Mom and Dad, thank you for your unending support. I would not be where I am today without it. There were times when I wondered if I would ever graduate. Life seemed to be throwing me curveballs, and as my mother can test ify, I was never the best batter I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to my advisor, Joy Jordan, who hit those curve balls for me. Her constant motivation, guidance, and support pushed me when I could no longer find the strength to push myself. This project would have been impossible to complete without her. I will for ever be in her debt. The warmest t hanks goes out to Dr. Jordan! I would like to thank Dr. Jerry Culen and Dr. Nicole Ste dman for serving on my committee. Their support guided this research an d their never -ending faith gave me the courage to pursue my dream. I would also like to thank all the faculty and staff of the Family, Youth, and Commun i ty Sciences department and all staff of the Florida 4 H Camping program. It has been a pleasure working with all of you during the past three years. I had no idea what to expect when I embarked on this journey. Thanks for making it truly spectacular an d for helping me find my passion. A special thanks goes to Mr. Kim, Mr. Steve, Jennifer, Neva, and Shawn for showing me the true spirit of 4 H Camping. Finally, to all the camp counselors who made this project possible. Thank you for your participation and thank you for continuing to make Florida 4 H Camping so special!
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................................ 7 LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................................................. 8 ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................................... 9 CH A P T E R 1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 11 Background .................................................................................................................................. 11 Problem Statement ...................................................................................................................... 14 Research Quest ions ..................................................................................................................... 15 Limitations ................................................................................................................................... 15 Definition of Terms ..................................................................................................................... 16 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ..................................................................................................... 18 Residential Camping ................................................................................................................... 18 4 H Camp Cou nselors ................................................................................................................. 20 Youth Leadership ........................................................................................................................ 23 Group Facilitation ....................................................................................................................... 27 Practice ......................................................................................................................................... 29 Camp Programming for Cou nselors .......................................................................................... 30 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................... 34 3 METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................................... 37 Purpose ......................................................................................................................................... 37 Research Design .......................................................................................................................... 37 Population and Sample ............................................................................................................... 38 Quantitati ve Measures ................................................................................................................ 38 Qualitative measures ................................................................................................................... 39 Survey Design ............................................................................................................................. 40 Administration ............................................................................................................................. 41 Respondents. ................................................................................................................................ 43 Data Analysis ............................................................................................................................... 43 Basic Leadership Skills ............................................................................................................... 45 Group Facilitation Skills ............................................................................................................. 45
6 4 RESULT S .................................................................................................................................... 47 Demographics of Florida Camp Counselors ............................................................................. 47 Are Leadership Skills, specifically Group Facilitation, Developed or Enhanced by Participation as a Camp Counselor in Florida 4 H Residential Camping Program? .......... 52 Amount of Practice with Leadership and Group facilitation Skills .................................. 52 Basis leadership skills. ................................................................................................. 52 Group fa cilitation skills. .............................................................................................. 53 Ability to Perform Leadership and Group Facilitation Skills ........................................... 55 Qualitative Data. .................................................................................................................. 57 Are Leadership Skills, specifically Group Facilitation, Developed or Enhanced by Participation in the Florida 4 H State Camp Counselor Certification Training Program? .................................................................................................................................. 58 Qualitative Data. .......................................................................................................................... 60 Does Extensiveness of Camp Counselor Training Affect the Development of Leadership Skills, spe cifically, Group Facilitation? ............................................................. 61 Do Demographic Variables (Age, Gender, Years as a Camp Counselor etc.) Affect the Development of L eadership Skills, specifically, Group Facilitation? ................................. 62 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS ........................ 66 Limitations ................................................................................................................................... 66 Summary ...................................................................................................................................... 67 Demographic Makeup. ........................................................................................................ 67 Leadership Skill Development at 4 H Camp. .................................................................... 68 CCT and Leadership Development. ................................................................................... 68 Extensiveness of Counselor Training. ................................................................................ 69 Other Influences. .................................................................................................................. 70 Recommendations ....................................................................................................................... 71 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................... 73 APPENDIX A YOUTH CAMP COUNSELOR QUESTIONSIONNAIRE .................................................... 75 B DATA COLLECTION PROTOCOL ........................................................................................ 79 C FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW PROTOCOL .......................................................................... 81 D IRB CONSENT LETTER TO PARENTS ................................................................................ 82 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................................... 83 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................................................................. 87
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Basic Leadership variables used in factor analysis. ............................................................. 45 3 2 Group Facilitation variables used in factor analysis. .......................................................... 46 4 1 Percent and numbers of Counselors by Age and Camp Location. ...................................... 48 4 2 Percent and numbers of Counselors by Gender and Camp Location ................................. 49 4 3 Percent and numbers of Counselors by Ethnicity and Camp Location .............................. 49 4 4 Percent and numbers of Counselors by Residence and Camp Location. ............................ 50 4 5 Statewide and camp means of practice with basic leadership skills. .................................. 53 4 6 Statewide and camp means of amount of practice with group fac ilitation skills. .............. 54 4 7 Post -then item means and calculated mean differences. ...................................................... 56 4 8 Basic leadership and group facilitation skills; before and after camp. .............................. 58 4 9 Pearson Product Moment Correlation results. ..................................................................... 63
8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Conceptual Framework of Camp Counselor Experience .................................................... 36
9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degre e of Masters of Science LEADERSHIP AND GROUP FACILITATION SKILLS IN FLORIDA 4 H CAMP COUNSELORS By STEFANIE L. DUDA May 2009 Chair: Joy C. Jordan Major: Family, Youth, and Community Sciences Florida, like many other states, recognizes residential camping as one of the major delivery modes of 4 H programming. Extension 4 H Agents are responsible for designing their week -long program as well as training and using camp counselors to help facilitate their program. Camp counselors are youth volunteers with a unique, dual role in 4 H camp residential camping (McNeely, 2004). They receive the education programming and are responsible for teaching and supervising younger campers (Garst & Johnson, 2005 and McNeely, 2004). This experience aids in the development of leadership and life skills of camp counselors (Thomas, 1996; Purcell, 1998). A 2006 study conducted in Oregon asked 205 alumni camp counselors about their experience. Counselors indicated that leadership was one of the topranked life skills affected (Brandt & Arnold, 2006). Forsythe, Matysik, and Nelson (2004) focused their research on the leadership skills gained by Wisconsin camp counselors. Results indicated that most youth reported an improvement in their knowledge of and abilities to perform leadership tasks. From these and other studies (Garst & Bruce, 2005; McNeely, 2004; Carter, 2006), motivation for conducting a similar study on Florida youth evolved.
10 A researcher -created instrument, designed to measure the before and after camp scores of the youths ability to perform certain basic leadership and group facilitation skills, was given to counselors at the conclusion of their week of summer camp. Also included on the questionnaire was a measure of amount of time spent practi cing these skills during camp. Independent t tests, one -way ANOVAs and Pearson product -moment correlations were performed. T tests were conducted to test whether there was a significant difference between before and after camp scores. One -way ANOVA s and Pearson Product Moment Correlations were used to isolate which factors contributed to the change in leadership and group facilitation skills. Analyse s indicated that the factor most influential on the change in leadership and group facilitation skill s was the amount of time one spent practicing these skills at camp. Other factors (age and years of experience as a camp counselor) also played a distinct role in contributing to higher levels of after camp scores. Also telling was the fact that counsel ors who participated in the State Camp Counselor Certification Training rated their change in some group facilitation skills significantly higher than counselors who did not attend. While the amount of training was not found to be as important, without proper training in leadership, counselors will be less prone to practice these skills. Additionally, not allowing counselors to take an active role in precamp planning or during camp implementation of activities and classes will hamper their ability to prac tice leadership thereby reducing the effect that camp has on developing or enhancing these skills. Agents should focus on ensuring counselors get the most out of their experience to gain valuable leadership skills that will be transferred to others contexts within their life. (Digby, 2005). Youth want to be leaders and 4 H camp provides the perfect opportunity for young people to practice their skills.
11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background There are currently over 12 ,000 day or residential camps in the United States. It is estimated that each year over 12 million children are served by these camps (ACA, 2007; Henderson, et. at., 2007). Of those 12 million, 4 H serves approximately 400,000 annually through its reside ntial camping pro gram (Garst, 2003). 4 H camps exists to provide members and non -members alike many of the essential elements of positive youth development (National 4 H Headquarters, 2001) including: (a) the presence of caring adults; (b) physical and e motional safety; (c) age appropriate structure and limits; (d) sense of belonging; and (e) opportunities to build and master content and life skills (Garst & Johnson, 2005). A key element of all 4 H programming is to provide ways for youth to develop pract ical life skills. The Targeting 4 H Life Skills Model (Hendricks 1998) was introduced to give Extension professionals a more concrete idea of the different life skills that need to be addressed throu gh programming It is widely recognized that camping h elps youth enhance many forms of growth including affective, cognitive, behavioral, physical, social, and spiritual growth. According to Garst and Bruce (2003), for campers, this translates into the ability to: (1) make new friends; (2) be more independent; (3) develop new skills; and (4) take care of ones self. For parents, this translates into their child learning to: (1) take care of their own things; (2) take care of responsibilities; and (3) have self -initiative. Camper perceived benefits from participation in residential camping ar e all related to responsibility. However, summer ca mp is not just for campers; it is for the counselors too. Forsythe, Matysik, and Nelson in their 2004 study on the impact of camping on Wisconsin counselors, identified teamwork, communication, decision -making, and planning and organizing as core life
12 skills that counselors gained by participating in residential camping (pg. 4). 4 H residential camps are a perfect example of positive yo uth development program s which exist to intentionally incorporate experiences and learning to address and advance the positive development of children and youth (Benson and Saito, 2000, p. 126). Florida, like many other states, recognizes residential camping as one of the major delivery mo des of 4 H programming. Extension 4 H faculty or program assistants in county extension offices are generally held accountable for designing their week long program tailored to the developmental needs of campers, children age 8 to 12 year s old. Each w eek long camp should foster the objectives of Floridas camping program, which are for youth campers too: 1 understand self and others; 2 respect and enjoying nature; 3 apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes to real life situations; 4 live safely and healthfully outdoors; and 5 develop lifelong natural resource, agriculture, an d other environmental interests (Executive Summary, Florida 4 H Camping, Business Plan, 2004). S tudies have shown that 4 H develops practical life skills in older youth that they carry on into adulthood (Fitzpatrick, et. at., 2005). For this reason and because county faculty would be remiss to engage 80 4 H ers between the ages of 8 and 12 in summer camp programs with only 13 adults and 7 8 camp staff youth camp counselors are train ed and use d to help facilitate the program Camp counselors are youth volunteers with a unique dual role in 4 H camp residential camping (McNeely, 2004). They are recipients of the educational program and are responsible for teaching a nd supervising younger campers (Garst & Johnson, 2005; McNeely, 2004). This experience of teaching and supervising allows the counselor s to learn much (Purcell, 1996) about the development of leadership and life skills (Thomas, 1996; Purcell, 1998). Although the counselors are there to provide assistance in assuring the week of camp runs as smooth as possible, they too are benefiting from the experience. McNeely (2004) argued th at
13 specific benefits of the 4 H camping program for camp counselors are leadership life skills targeted through the camp counseling experience such as: 1 learning how to lead people and activities; 2 planning and conducting programs; 3 supervising younger chi ldren; 4 dealing with emergencies; and 5 teaching in either a structured setting or unstructured setting (p. 23). Each summer over 450 camp counselors participate in this unique, leadershipbuilding experience at one of four residential camps in Florida ( Personal interview: Kim Gumbiner, Business Manager, Florida 4H Camps). In order for Floridas youth, both campers and counselors, to have a positive educational experience for campers and counselors, proper counselor training is a must ( 4 -H Camp Counsel or Training, 2009). Similarly, Wisconsin encourages up to 30 hours of training before camp ( 4 -H Camp Counselor Training, 2009) and Ohio 4 H camp counselors reported receiving an average of 20 hours of training prior to their summer camp experience (McNeely & Ferrari, 2005). Camp counselor training is importan t because it helps the youth to understand what is expected of them, develop important skills they will use at camp, prepare them for emergenc y situations, as well as orient them to specific camp progr am components (Forsythe, K., Matysik, R., & Nelson, K. 2004). A 2002 Kentucky 4-H Camp Counselor study reported that training impacts both campers and counselors; it helped decrease the amount of disruptive behavior by campers and increased the positive experienc e of counselors (Weese, 2002). Previous research indicates that training is a must if counselors and campers are going to have positive experiences and develop and enhance the life skills targeted by camp. In order to meet the requirements for counselor training, Florida chose to implement a statewide camp counselor certification program. The design of this training was meant to help orient counselors
14 to the camp setting as well as introduce youth to the b asic concepts and components of residential camping, focusing on their role in the program. Four weekend trainings were undertaken in order to teach counselors how to work with campers. Counselors were taught a variety of useful tools including plan ning and conduct ing activities, facilitating groups, supervising children, and deal ing with emergencies. While it was important to accomplish these goals, a second motive was to help Extension 4 -H Faculty with Camp Counselor Training By offering the state ca mp counselor certification program, youth were introduced to their roles and responsibilities and then given the opportunity to practice them. They were not intended to serve as the only tra ining for youth camp counselors but to increase the amount of trai ning provided. Problem Statement To this point, the evaluations conducted by the Florida 4 H Camping Program have centered on youth reported outcomes of skills gained during the week long camp experience. While this type of evaluation provides Extension 4 H faculty implications for best practices when preparing cou nselors for the camping season (Jordan, 2007), it does not provide a measure of change in life skills. This measure of change is what provides camp professionals with information about the tru e impact of the residential camping program on the development or enhancement of life skills. Specifically, no evaluation tool has been used to measure change, if any, in the leaders hip knowledge and ability of camp counselors after pa rticipation in 4 H c amp If the objective of developing camp counselors is to further the development of leadership life skills, some measurement must be taken to be certain that this objective is actually being met and to what degree. This study will examine the developmental outcomes of Florida 4 H camp counselors as a result of participating in 4 H summer camp. The focus of this study will be on leadership life skills with a particular emphasis on the ability of a counselor to facilitate or
15 manage groups. The results o f such a study would provide information used to improve the quality of Florida 4 H camp counselors along the lines of: 1 continuing positive improvement regarding the development of leadership life skills in Florida 4 H youth; 2 developing of a state -wide co unselor training curriculum with helpful tools for Extension faculty; and 3 providing faculty, volunteers and other stakeholders with tangible evidence that older youth benefit from Florida 4 H camping. Research Questions Con sidering the lack of literature which exists about Florida 4 H camp counselors, particularly in the area of how well leadership life skills are being developed through camp counseling, the following research questions were developed: 1 Who are Florida 4 H Camp Counselors? 2 To what degree ar e leadership skills, specifically group facilitation, developed or enhanced by participation as a camp c ounselor in Florida 4 H Residential Camping program? 3 To what degree are leadership skills, specifically group facilitation, developed or enhanced by pa rticipation in the Florida 4 H State Camp Counselor Certification Training program? 4 To what degree does extensiveness of camp counselor training affect the development of leadership skills, specifically, group facilitation? 5 T o what degree do demographic variables (age, gender, years as a camp counselor etc.) affect the development of leadership skills, specifically, group facilitation? Limitations This study was limited to only those 4 H youth who served as camp counselors for the summer of 2008. Y outh who participate as camp counselors will likely hold other leadership positions as well. Youth may not remember the actual amount of camp counselor training they received. Choosing to isolate one camp-oriented leadership life skill (group facilitatio n) was at the discretion of the researcher. This was done in order to test the effectiveness of a state-
16 implemented counselor training versus those offered in some counties. A pilot test of counselor training was undertaken first in 2007 and went through testing in 2008 with the intent of producing a statewide, basic cou nselor training curriculum. Definition of Terms 4 -H A program carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture in connection with land -grant universities. The program is a non -formal, youth development program offered to individuals from 5 to 18 years old. Through experiential learning, 4 H promotes learn by doing. 4 H CAMP. For purposes of this study, a large gathering of 4 H members between the ages of 8 and 18 for a perio d of 5 days and 4 nights during which youth are offered the opportunity to get to know others through a series of group activities, formal and informal educational experiences, and communal living. AMERICAN CAMP ASSOCIATION (ACA) A community of camp profe ssionals who have joined together to share knowledge and experience to ensure the quality of camp programs. CAMP COUNSELOR. A ny youth between the age of 13 and 18 that serves in a leadership and supervisory capacity over younger campers during a week of summer residential camp. EXTENSION 4 -H FACULTY. A youth development professional that works for a land -grant university at county extension offices. It is the job of the county faculty to develop and implement the program for the week of camp. EXTENSIVENESS. T he number of hours of training a counselor had before participating in the actual week of 4 H camp. FLORIDA 4 -H STATE CAMP COUNSELOR CERTIFICATION PROGRAM. A weekend long counselor training intended to introduce youth camp counselors to the basic roles and responsibilities they will be required to fulfill during summer residential camp.
17 GROUP DEVELOPMENT. F or purposes of this paper it is the forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning stages that a groups progresses through. GROUP FACILITATION. F or purposes of this research it is the ability to lead a group through any type of initiative or activity. LEADERSHIP LIFE SKILL S. Self assessed and organiz ation -specific life skills necessary to perform leadership functions in real life (Miller, 1976, p. 2). LIFE SKILLS. The abilities individuals can learn that will help them to be successful in living a productive and satisfying life.
18 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship that exists between 4 H camp counselor participation during the 2008 4H program year and leadership life skill development, specifically group facilitation. It was necessary then, to re view literature about (1) 4 H camping; (2) youth leadership development; (3) youth leadership development within the context of 4H camp; (4) group development and group facilitation. Residential Camping Residential camping has been used a tool to teach educational concepts to youth since the founding of the first residential camp in 1823 at Round Hill Schools Summer Camp in Massachusetts (Meadows, 1997). West Virginia led the way for 4 H when it conducted its first county camp and formalized camping as part of its program in 1915 (Meadows, 1997 & vanHorn, Flanagan, & Thomson, 1998). Although education was a major focus of early camping programs, they also offered youth the opportunity to develop their leadership abilities (Rasmussen, 1989 & Meadows, 1997). Camp best contributes to the growth and development of youth by using unique opportunities (Heller, 1972, p. 14). The unique opportunities that camp affords to youth that attend are such things as kayaking, archery, horse back riding, sewing, cooking, and a variety of other activities they may not experience at home while learning to live and interact with individuals in a way they never have before. Although often times overlooked, this type of experience makes camp programs a venue for positive youth development (Henderson et.al ., 2007). Researchers (Garst & Bruce, 2003; Arnold, Bourdeau, & Nagele, 2005; Garton, Miltenberger, & Pruett, 2007; Thurber, et. al., 2007; Bialeschki, Henderson, & James, 2007)
19 have evaluated residential camping on its ability to grow and develop the youth who attend. Garst and Bruce (2003) discovered that Virginia 4 H campers felt camp helped them learn to take better care of themselves, become more independent, make new friends, a nd develop new skills. Parents of those Virginia campers felt their children learned self -care, were more independent, and were more responsible as a result of their time spent at 4 -H camp. Arnold, Bourdeau, and Nagele (2005) found that Oregon 4 H reside ntial camping helped campers learn cooperation with one another, feel good about themselves, make new friends, learn new things, and learn about the natural world. Garton, Miltenberger, and Pruett (2007) found that 4 H camp positively affects the life skil ls of West Virginia campers. Those skills most affected were responsible citizenship, accepting differences, accepting responsibility, and teamwork. In this particular study, the life skill learning to learn had one of the lowest mean scores for all of the age groups discussed. In this case the researchers concluded that while youth enjoy learning at 4 H camp, it is clear they see other skills being developed more. Using multiple raters (campers, parents, and camp staff) Thurber, et. al. (2007) found that positive identity, social skills, physical and thinking skills, and positive values and spirituality were all affected in a nation -wide sample of 8 14 year olds who attended American Camp Association (ACA) accredited camps during the sum mers of 2002 a nd 2003. Further more, in their study on ACA accredited camps, Bialeschki, Henderson, and James (2007) comment ed that camps may be one of the largest organized interventions for children in the United States other than sc hools and churchesserv(ing) an estimated 12 million campers each yea r (p. 770). T hey summarize that the positive youth development that occurs as a result of participation in camping may v ary by camp and by camper, but the success of camp in achieving outcomes makes matching of the camp experience to the needs of the child integral (p. 785). In other words,
20 intentionality in program design is crucial to helping campers experience the positive growth that occurs as a result of camping ( Bialeschki, Henderson, and James 2007). Literature shows that camper skills, abilities, and attitu des are affected from camp participation But what about the counselors? Most of the outcomes mentioned thus far were reported by th ose youth age 8 to 14. Although some children in that category would f all into the age range of what Florida 4 H Camp ing would consider counselors, if a child attended camp at the age of 14 as a camper, he or she likely had a very different experience than a child the same age attending as a counselor. It would be unwise to lump the experiences of campers and counselors into one category. Furthermore, because 4 H camping operates so differently in each state, it is impossible to generalize one states results to another. The following is a summary of what some states have found relating to the development of life skills, specifically leadership, in their 4 H camp counselors as it relates to their specific residential camping programs. 4 -H Camp Counselors In 2006, Brandt and Arnold conducted a study with 205 alumni ca mp counselors from ten different c ounties in Oregon. T his study differed from most of the ones discussed thus far because youth participants were months, if not years, removed from their camp counselor experience. However, based on the responses of the p articipants, the experience of being involved in camp as a camp counselor has positive, longlasting effects on youth. Those life skills that ranked the highest were: leadership, responsible citizenship, contribution, and teamwork. Researchers acknowledg ed that given the hands on nature of being a camp counselor and the need for counselors to be leadersthis is not surprising. (Brandt & Arnold, 2006).
21 A West Virginia study conducted in 2000 with youth between the ages of 13 and 15 asked youth camp cou nselors to report their self -perceived gain of leadership life skills as a result of their 4 H camping experience. Using the Youth Leadership Life Skills Development Scale youth reported themselves as having a high gain of leadership life skills as a resu lt of their participation in the Virginia 4 H camping program (Duncan, 2000). Another West Virginia study conducted by Garton, Miltenberger, and Pruett (2007) studied the experiences of camp counselors directly following their experience in the summer of 2003. Older campers (age 1221) with leadership roles were asked to fill out a separate evaluation than campers. This evaluation consisted of a retrospective pretesting of leadership skills (Garton, Miltenberger, & Pruett, 2007). This evaluation w as designed to be given at the end of the camp week in order to measure before and after changes in confidence relating to leadership and teamwork skills. Older youths perceived gains were measured on the following leadership skills: 1 working well with o thers, 2 workings as a member of a team, 3 leading a group or team, 4 taking charge of an activity, 5 knowing how to prepare or lead an activity, 6 sharing leadership with others, and 7 knowing the responsibilities of a leader Results indicated that significant changes occurred for all leadership item s when compared to before and after camp differences. Furthermore, the increase in th e number of counselors that reported positive improvement in their leadership skills as compared to those who reported a decrease in their leadership skills was significant. Overall, the West Virginia camping experience lead to leadership develo pment for those older youth who attend ed and he ld leadership positions.
22 Forsythe, Matysik, and Nelson (2004) researched leaders hip development gained from the experience as a Wisconsin camp counselor. For purposes of their study, they defined leadership as: teamwork, communication, decision -making, and planning and organizing. Overall, 93% of Wisconsin counselors reported having learned or improved at least one leadership skill that would help them improve their role as a leader (Forsythe, Matysik, and Nelson, 2004). Garst and Johnson (2005) conducted a study to explore the lived experiences of 4 H teen counselors [during camp] a nd to better understand the leadership and life skill outcomes of 4 H camp participation. The age of participants in this study ranged from 1418 years old. Researchers concluded that participation as a Virginia 4 H camp counselor has positive effects o n teens by helping them acquire leadershiprelated knowledge, skills, a nd behaviors. Furthermore, counselors became more aware of themselves as leaders and became more confident in their leadership abilities (Garst and Johnson, 2005). After conducting a state -wide study of Ohio teens experience with camping, McNeely (2004) concluded that camp counselors who ranged in age from 12 to 20, reported a high level in teamwork and social skills, initiative, identity, and interpersonal relationshipsthere is [a lso] a significant relationship between the number of years as a camp counselor and the development of leadership and responsibility (p.100). Again, leadership is mentioned as one of the core developmental skills that camp counselors gain as a result of participating in residential c amping. A notable outcome related specifically to questions raised in the current research project was the link age found by McNeely showing a correlation between leadership and years of experience.
23 Carter (2006) conducted a s imilar study with Louisiana camp counselors. One objective of his research was to document the developmental experiences of camp counselors. A few areas in which counselors perceived to have positive experiences included leadership and responsibility, gr oup process skills, and problem solving. Louisiana c ounselors who ranged in age 13 to 19, reported high levels of positive experiences in teamwork and social skills, positive relationships, and initiative experiences. Developing plans to solve a problem considering possible obstacles when making plans, finding ways to achieve goals, and time management are examples of the initiative experiences described in this study. Carter (2006) conclusively stated that serving as a 4 H camp counselor leads to sig nificant positive experiences that may enhance counselors ability to develop life skills and leadership assets that will be valuable tools in their futures (p. 104). Research shows that for teens between the ages of 12 and 20 years old, l eadership appear s on the list of those skills perceived by youth to be affected as a result of their residential camping experience. H owever, left without a definition is a youths view of leadership. Therefore, Extension 4 H agents and any adult working to develop a re sidential camping program must have a solid understanding of leadership and what it means to youth camp counselors. Youth Leadership One very common definition of leadership is that it is a process whereby one individual influences a group of indiv iduals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2007, p. 3). Another, time -honored view of a leader has always been comparable to that of a hero: someone who inspires; someone who influences others in positive ways; someone who encourages others to solve pro blems; and someone who motivates people to achieve goals (Sandmann & Vandenburg, 1995). Leadership, like youth development, has made a transition. No longer does one have to
24 be a superhero in order to lead a group or run a company. In fact, in the past 14 years, a new post heroic philosophy of leadership has rapidly started to emerge (Huey, 1994). People have become mesmerized by the idea of leadership and how to become a leader. Youth programs, like 4 H, have begun to push leadership development bec ause of the emphasis for incorporation of these skills into daily, adult life. However, i n order for adults challenged to get teens excited about leadership, it is important that a mutual understanding of the term exists. Adolescents have the same potenti al to be leaders that adults do. The reason many teens do not believe they have the potential to be leaders is because they do not fully understand leadership (Ricketts & Rudd, 2002 ). van Linden and Fertman (1999) came up with a mutual definition of lead ership that is easy for adults and teenagers to grasp: leadership is a set of skills and attitudes that can b e learned and practiced ( p. 10). Moreover, it cannot be understated that all adolescents can develop leadership skills and abilities given the p resence of an environment that pledges to foster leadership in a way that allows for teenagers to practice their skills. Adolescents need the help of adults in developing their leadership potential ( van Linden and Fertman 1999) It is important to reme mber that in order to be meaningful, leadership development must consider an adolescents idealism, quest for independence, and identity formation. Programs designed to cultivate adolescent leadership development need to be a creative and useful vehicle for involving teens and helping them make a differenceleadership development gives adolescents a voice in the decision -making pro cess that affect their lives (v an Linden & Fertman 1998, p. 16). 4 H is one youth development organization that has assumed responsibility and accountability for developing leadership skills in todays youth (See vers, Dormody, & Clason, 1995).
25 As van Linden & Fertman (1998) explain, teenagers feel leadership is often very task oriented: leaders lead meetings, leaders speak in public, leaders are class presidents and team captains. In the eyes of teenager s one is either a leader or is not. Unfortunately, this leads to many incorrect assumptions about leadership such that it is not cool and teenagers are not and cannot be leaders. That simply is not the case. All people, adolescents included, have the potential to be leaders ( van Linden & Fertman, 1998, p. 17). Researchers contend that adolescent leadership d evelopment occurs in three stages. T hese stages do not happen sequentially, but rather fluidly. An adolescent m ay progress through a stage, only to return to it and pass through it again at a later date. These three stages are: awareness, interaction, and mastery. In awareness, adolescents notice the leadership p otential in themselves and others. The interaction stage typically occurs when youths begin to explore leadership while mastery (or integration) involves the actual practice of leadership concepts and ideas (Ricketts & Rudd, 2002). However, it is also im portant to note that previous research (vanLinden & Fertman, 1998; Fertman & Long, 1990; Fertman & Chubb, 1993; Wald & Pringle, 1995; Long, Wald, & Graf, 1996) has identified that each stage of leadership development is made up of five dimensions: (1) lead ership information; (2) leadership attitude; (3) communication; (4) decision making; and (5) stress management. In order to understand the stages of youth leadership development, one must first understand the five dimensions that encompass each stage of de velopment. These dimensions encompass cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects[and] provide a consistent frame of reference to assess, monitor, and evaluate an adolescents leadership development (vanLinden & Fertman, 1998, pg. 40). These five dim ensions are: 1. Leadership information: what adolescents know about leaders and leadership. Accurate, useful, attractive, and appealing information is critical to youth leadership development.
26 2. Leadership attitude: is a teens thoughts and feelings about being a leader. These thoughts and feelings can be good or bad, predisposes him or her to lead, and are learned, and are acquired through instruction, by adopting viewpoints or by taking on social roles (i.e. a camp counselor). 3. Communication skills: permit the successful flow of knowledge, interests, attitudes, opinions, feelings, and ideas from one individual to another or to a group. 4. Decision -making skills: the ability to take others thoughts and opinions into mind before taking best course of action for the group (Forsythe, Matysik, & Nelson 2004). 5. Stress -management skills: the ability to react and deal with stress in a way that does not affect leadership capabilities or performance. Leadership is inherently soci al. It does not take place in a vacuum. The act of being a leader cannot take place in isolation, but rather with people and interaction among others. Youth leadership development needs to be practiced in real life situations where caring, trained adult s can provide the guidance and support youth need in order to continue to grow their leadership abilities. Research (Brandt & Arnold, 2006; Garton, Miltenberger, & Pruett, 2007; McNeely, 2004; Carter, 2006) has shown that 4 -H residential camping is one op portunity which allows you th t o practice leadership skil ls More specifically, Florida 4 H Camping provides youth with the opportunity to acquire and develop, through hands -on, experiential activities, life skills including leadership, that will help the m become productive members of society (Florida 4 H Program Handbook). vanLinden and Fertman (1998) argue that youth need to experience a variety of activities in order to test themselves against new and difficult tasks. Adolescents need a range of act ivities [in order] to broaden their base of experience (pg. 53). 4 -H C amping allows youth to test their leadership skills in an environment that is friendly, forgiving, and most importantly, full of variety. Perhaps one of the most practiced, but leas t studied, leadership skill s that camp counselors have the opportunity to practice and perfect at camp is group facilitation.
27 Group Facilitation The atmosphere of residential camping requires youth camp counselors to manage and facilitate a number of diff erent groups throughout the week camp. Facilitation is viewed as a set of functions or activities carried out before, during, and after [an activity] to help the group achieve its own outcomes. The essential characteristic of facilitation is to help ma ke an outcome easier to achieve. Facilitation functions may be accomplished by group members or leaders (Bostrom, Anson and Clawson, p. 147). As a facilitator, camp counselors are to help campers achieve the desired outcome in a m ore trouble -free mann er. Providing leadership and dir ection during activities and other camp events is one way counselors act out their role as a facilitator. Adults involved in youth programming where youth have the ability to become facilitators, are, in essence, training youth in facilitation techniques. Early in group interaction (for example, during counselor training) adults guide youth in a more hands -on manner, while later on in the process adults step back and give youth control. One of the primary responsibilitie s of adult facilitators is to set ground rules about group behavior (Kirshner, 2008). This same type of behavior is mirrored when camp counselors facilitate groups of campers at camp. At the beginning of the week counselors provide ground rules about appropriate group behavior. Towards the end of the week counselors relinquish some control to allow for the group to develop and function on its own with only suggestions from the counselors. Allowing counselors to facilitate groups during the week of camp will help them learn how to work collaboratively with others and learn how to facilitate meetings and discussions (Kirshner, 2008). These leadership and facilitation skills can be used within the camp context as well as transferred to the counselors live s beyond the borders of camp into the workplace, higher education, and the comm unity (Digby, 2005).
28 The role of the facilitator may change depending on the group dynamic However, there are five main functions of a facilitator that are key to ensuring successful group functioning: 1. establish the goal of the group; 2. establish the norms that will encourage positive group interaction and development. This will usually require the facilitator to be more active in the beginning stages of group development and less active at the end; 3. promot e a cohesive climate where participants feel comfortable and willing to take risks; 4. relinquish group control to the participants so that a leader -dependent group is not created; 5. know the group process (Anderson & Robertson, 1985, p. 154). Furthermore, a s a group facilitator, and more importantl y as a camp counselor, one must be able to help a group work through challenges. Bostrom, Anson, and Clawson (2000) suggest ed that when a facilitator is calle d to this type of action, using s tructured intervention procedures produce d better results on mor e occasions that did naturally occurring group interaction and intervention procedures In earlier research, Clawson and Bostrom (1995) argue that many current bus iness and industry leaders were not prepared for their role as facilitators even though they designed and facilitate d meetings on a regular basis. The development of strong facilitator competencies, through education and training, is necessary in order to produce successful leaders and group facilitators. 4 H uses youth to facilitate and impleme nt many different programs. Essentially, 4 H camp counselors are youth facilitators. The benefits of having youth facilitators is two-fold in nature. First, it allows extension professionals to concentrate their efforts on areas of the program where yout h implementation or facilitation would be counterproductive or harmful. Second, it allows youth to gain valuable experienc e leading and managing groups. Part of their role as a facilitator is to assist county faculty, volunteers, and camp staff in maintai ning a safe
29 and productive program by helping manage groups of campers. Camp counselors maintain leadership positions over various groups of campers throughout the day, but manage these groups in such a way that campers make group decisions while counselors oversee the group. They supervise cabin groups such that communities are formed with campers playing the lead roles and counselors merely supporting their decisions. However, in all of these act ions, counselors are learning how to facilitation. As research suggests (Bostrom, Anson, & Clawson, 2000; vanLinden & Fertman,1998), and perhaps the evidence with the most significance, is that the leadership and group facilitation knowledge and abilities of counselors can improve, with training. However, th e ability to put new knowledge to work and practice new skills also plays a role in a counselors overall comfort with being a leader and group facilitator. Practice Digby and Ferrari (2005) conducted research with Ohio alumni camp counselors to examine whether youth were able to transfer skills gained at camp into other contexts and experiences in their lives. While the specific focus of this research differs from their s tudy, it is interesting to note that practice with skills during training is mentioned as one method used to enhance the ability of a counselor to transfer skills and abilities to other areas in their lives. This conclusion, applied to the growth and deve lopment of leadership and group facilitation skills of camp counselors, suggests that counselors need the ability to practice skills, both before and during camp, in order to increase the likelihood of successful enhancement and development of these skills Bialeschki, Henderson and James (2007) note d that providing the camp experience alone will not automatically ensure that program goals and objectives are met. The organizational practice, such as an enhanced ability to experience, beforehand, the camp structure, policies, and
30 activities provides the necessary building blocks that ensure positive youth development outcomes. Perhaps even more telling is the need for a strong relationship between program elements and desired developmental outcomes (p. 7 73). An increase in a youths ability to perform leadership and group facilitation skills are the desired outcomes of the camp counselor experience. Planning and programming needs to include training before camp and the ability to practice skills during the camp experience to aid in the achievement of program goals. Ele ments of practice were also included in the 2004 study of Ohio camp counselors. One focus of the study was on the intensity of the experience and how it contributed to positive experience s. Again, participation in camp as a counselor was not enough to reach the desired level of youth development. The number and type of activities and the amount of time exposed to an experience need to be sufficient enough so that counselors feel engaged in the program and process (McNeely, 2004). Providing camp counselors with rich training experience and the ability to participate in the implementation of the program while at camp provides youth with the necessary element of practice that will guarant ee ample growth and enhancement of targeted life skills. Florida Extension 4 H professionals looking to increase leadership and group facilitation skills of camp counselors need to design a program that includes training on and practice with these skills. Camp Programming for Counselors Although 4 H Ca mping i s viewed as one of the major delivery modes for positive youth development and as an environment where life skills could be enhanced (Garst & Johnson, 2005), the challenge for county faculty i s to design their camp program such that it incorporates the lessons of research (Walker, 2006, p. 75) but keeps youth engaged and learning at the same time. Thus far, research h as shown us that camp counselors are affected by their week long residential c amping experience (Brandt & Arnold, 2006; Duncan, 2000; Garton, Miltenberger, &
31 Pruett, 2007; Forsythe, Matysik, and Nelson, 2004; McNeely, 2004; Carter, 2006). In all of these cases, counselors reported positive gains in leadership skills as a result o f the program. How then, is residential camping tied to the gain of leadership and group facilitation skills? An in -depth look at the theory of developmental intentionality explains the relationship as well as provides a way for Extension 4 H professionals to strengthen their current residential camping program by increasing the skills development of youth. A new emerging theory in the world of positive youth development is the theory of developmental intentionality (DI) DI serves as the connection betwe en the scientific nature of youth development and the practice of developing youth programs that target the skills development of youth. Positive youth development has grow n from a practice focusing on practical understandings of youth played out in a lo ose system of nontheoretically driven practices that relied heavily on organizational tradition and the common wisdom of the time to one needing to use the evidence of research and theory, as well as best practice experience, to define its goals, outcome s, and program strategies ( Walker, Marczak, Blyth, & Borden, 2005, p. 399). Developmental intentionality fits this need with its emphasis on designing and delivering programs to youth that have taken into account the complex relationships between develop mental outcomes, engagement, and intentionality. Walker (2006) defines the linkages between the constructs of DI: (1) intentionality, (2) engagement and (3) goodness of fit. When these three come together they provide youth programs with the necessary energy to help them achieve their intended outcomes. Intentionality in youth programming describes the decisions made to create a learning experience for youth. These decisions should be deliberate and strategic. These characteristics help focus the progr am experience ( Walker, Marczak, Blyth, & Borden, 2005). Individuals in
32 charge of planning need to be aware that focusing on too many goals or achievement outcomes will lessen the effect of the program. While intentional, the learning experience can also be flexible. This allows for the program leader to deliberately adjust aspects of the learning experience to best achieve outcomes (Walker, 2006). Best practices and theoretical foundations need to be taken into context when planning youth programs. For example, previous research in the field of residential camping and the industrys best practices need to be considered when developing a camp counselor program. Intentionality speaks to the program being delivered. The following constructs deal more dir ectly with those individuals participating in the programs rather than with the programs themselves. Walker (2006) points out that it is important to embrace all participants in every program: The young people coming to youth programs bring all the value s, experiences, customs, culture, assets, and deficits of their developmental ecology: their life stories; their families, neighborhoods and schools; and the larger city, state, and nation in which they live. They come to build on their strengths with ne eds to be addressed, interested to be explored, and assets of all s orts to contribute. They are fu ll of possibility, energy, and challenges. Young people want to be welcomed and respected for all that they are, not approached and treated as neutral being s absent their larger ecology. Knowing and embracing the fullness of young people are critical to stimulating engagement and determining a good developmental fit for each person (p. 81). Engagement regarding youth programs speaks to the need for youth to feel excited about and focused on the activity in which they are participating. Although many teens participating in youth development programming cannot drive, they certainly can walk away when they lose interest or have a bad experience! Consequently, w hen young people are engaged in their own learning and development, desired developmental outcomes are more likely to occur (Walker, 2006). 4 H, like many other out -of -school programs, should consider engagement as willingness to take part, become moti vated and challenged by learning opportunities, experience some success, feel a sense of belonging, and a desire to stay involved for a significant
33 period of time ( Walker, Marczak, Blyth, & Borden, 2005, p. 403). T his definition of engagement includes tw o of the four essential elements (mastery and belonging) needed for positive youth development to occur in all 4 H programming, includi ng residential camping (Kress, 1999). While the emerging nature of the theory does not allow for a generalization abou t how much time needs to evolve before engagement is truly realized, a general guideline suggests that a program needs to have distinct beginning and end ( Walker, Marczak, Blyth, & Borden, 2005). Goodness of fit is also a must for programs that intend to have positive effects of youth that attend. With respect to DI, goodness of fit means experiences offered by a program should embrace and take into account what a young person needs. Programs tha t are weak in intentionality will be weak in goodness of fit, and subsequently weak in engagement ( Walker, Marczak, Blyth, & Borden, 2005). Individuals responsible for program planning and implementation for Florida 4 H camping programs, specifically thos e targeting camp counselors, need to make sure the experiences being provided are ones that increase the skills that youth need to develop. Intentional training to help increase youths understanding of why leadership and group facilitation skills are important will likely increase engagement, satisfaction, and the development of those skills (Walker, 2006). The constructs and linkages of the theory of developmental intentionality explain why youth acting as leaders and facilitators during a week long res idential camping experience would gain and improve their leadership skills: (1) program goals and outcomes are clear and intentional : counselor trainings are designed to teach and develop leadership and group facilitation skills; summer camp is designed to allow counselors the opportunity to practice these skills (see Figure 2:1 for a conceptual model); (2) youth are actively engaged in their own
34 learning: counselors lead and manage groups multiple times a day during their week long residential camping expe rience; (3 ) the goodness of fit between the goals of the program and the youth participating in t he program is strong : the program meets the needs of the youth involved and is intentionally designed to help youth learn skills key to success in life. The c onceptual model presented in Figure 2:1 provides an overview of the Florida 4 H Camp Counselor experience as explained through the theory of developmental intentionality. Most y outh often want to be leaders. Often times they lack the knowledge or oppor tunities to practice what they know about being a leader. The 4 H camp program provides both the educational background to learn about leadership and the arena in which to apply those skills. In reality, life skills, such as leadership, developed and enhanced as a result of participating in the residential camping program are directly correlated with the intentional processes and procedures designed to maximize the benefit of the camp experience for youth participants (National 4 H Camping Research Cons ortium, 2008, p. 15). In other words, if Extension 4 H faculty intend to develop life skills in youth, specifically leadership skills in their camp counselors, their programming must have a purpose and an int ention (Walker, 2006). Additionally, even if county faculty had no intention of providing youth with leadership programming while at camp, previous research shows that the inherent gains in such areas as a result of the experience warrant the presence of, at minimum, training and practice in the subjec t area. Conclusion 4 H camp is a unique environment where youth camp counselors are given the o pportunity learn and develop many life skills. Leadership, often misunderstood by adolesce nts, is one of those skills. In addition, counselors are given the opportunity to practice a new type of leadership: group facilitation. While many camp counselors may be unfamiliar with the term or
35 meaning of facilitation, their actions during camp encompass all that it means to be a group facilitator. Other states have conducted studies and proven that camping positively affects the leadership capabilities their camp counselors. Florida 4 H Camping has not yet conducted a program evaluation to measure the impact of residential camping on the leadership skills of its ca mp counselors. Furthermore, facilitation has not been studied as a subset of the leadership gains found in camp counselors from previous states. Do Florida 4 H camp counselors develop or improve their leadership skills, specifically group facilitation, as a result of participating in 4 H camp? This question will be answered in a study of Florida 4 H camp counselors.
36 Figure 2 1. C onceptual Framework of Camp Counselor Experience
37 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Purpose This study was conducted with the intent to measure the change, if any, in the leadership and group facilitation skills of Florida camp counselors as a result of their participation in 4 H camp. This study was also conducted to measure the effects of counselor training in furthering the development of leadership and group facilitation skills. Surveys were used to collect quantitative data and focus gr oups were conducted to collect qualitative data used to answer this question. This chapter describes both the quantitative and qualitative data collection procedures and describes the study participants. Before those procedures are explained, the overall research design will be discussed. Research Design A mixed -method, quasi -experimental design was chosen for this research. This type of design was chosen in order to trace whether leadership and group facilitation skills were more affected by the Florid a 4 H State Camp Counselor Certification Training (CCT) than by county trainings. This was the first year for the implementation of CCT. It was offered statewide at all four residential camping facilities. Registration was capped at 50 participants fo r each training. Q uasi -experimental designs call for controlling the majority of the extraneous variables (Gersten, Baker, & Lloyd, 2000). T reatment and control groups were monitored by controlling the group facilitation variable. Those youth participating in CCT followed a tract that provided them with specific information on how groups function, individual learning styles, the role of a group facilitator or group manager, and how to incorporate that into improving the learning experiences and the group experience of their campers and themselves during the week of camp. Those counselors not participating in CCT received training in their home counties from their
38 Extension 4 H faculty. Group facilitation training was not available to Extension 4 H facu lty as it was developed and conducted only with the treatment group by the researcher Group facilitation and management was likely NOT an emphasis at county trainings exemplifying the main purpose of quasi -experimental designs: [to] estimate th e relative effects of programs that are being compared (Boruch, et.al ., 1998, p. 128). Population and Sample The population of this study was all 4 H youth that participated in Florida 4 -Hs residential camping pro gram as a camp counselor. A census sample was taken of these youth. Completion of a full week of summer camp was required in order for a counselor to qualify for inclusion is the study. Five hundred twenty youth responded to the survey. Focus groups we re convenience samples of eight counselors from two different camps. The sixteen camp counselors who participated in the focus group interviews did so on a voluntary basis. Quantitative Measures This study examined two major components of the camp counselor experience: (1) the amount of practice with certain leadership and group management skills during the week of camp and (2) the difference from the beginning to the end of camp on ability to per form leadership and group management skills. It was hypothesized that training prior to camp and practice during the week of camp would influence the end of camp score. Furthermore, this study also measured the role that the type and amount of camp cou nselor training played in developing or enhancing leadership and group facilitation skills Counselors who participated in the Florida 4 H State Camp Counselor Certification Training were compared against those counselors not participat ing. Similarly, co unselors who had one hour or less of training in their home counties were compared to those that had at least a half day of training and those that had 12 or more hours of training.
39 Qualitative measures Qualitative research was undertaken in order to valid ate survey responses. Focus groups were chosen as the primary method of qualitative data collection. Focus groups were selected for their ability to allow the research participants to interact with themselves and the researcher while providing valuable i nformation towards the collection of data (Morgan, 1996). As it is necessary to concentrate the collection of qualitative data around one central issue (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003), focus group questions were designed around the issue of context: what does lea dership mean to camp counselors living the experience and how does it manifest itself in different youth? Studying an issue contextually allows one to understand how that issue is viewed by the individuals connected with it (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003). In ot her words, the addition of focus groups gave the researcher the ability to learn how the participants viewed their responsibilities and duties in relation to leadership and group facilitation skills. For the purpose of data collection within the focus gro ups, special emphasis was placed on the leadership skill of group facilitation or group management due to the inherent nature of the camping program and the job of a camp counselor that requires one possess these skills. Focus groups, when conducted corre ctly, can serve as a needs assessment for programs looking to improve upon certain aspects of their program (Morgan, 1996). In the case of Florida 4 H and its camp counselor training program, learning more about current camp counselors and how they view t heir counselor training and leadership experiences at camp will help to design better, more intentional program s that fit youth needs and will help ensure youth are engaged in the total camp counselor experience, from training through summer camp. An im provement in camp counselor programming will help maximize the experience for teens such that they are developing and enhancing skills to the fullest potential.
40 Survey Design The questionnaire used in this study was designed by the res earcher and was adapted from a ser ies of instruments addressing leadership and group facilitation. All items from the inst ruments examined ( Brooks Harris & Shollenberger, 1998; Newman 2002 as adapted from Blackwell, 1990; and Baker, 1998) were relevant to the actual experience of a week at 4 H camp. The instrument was comprised of a 19item scale designed to measure the overall amount of practice with basic leadership and group facilitation skills a camp counselor experienced during summer camp. Counselors were asked to rank the 19 items on a scale from 1 4, asking youth how much practice they had with a certain skill during the week of camp. The scale was 1 No experience, 2 Very little experience, Some experience, 4 A lot of experience. A 17ite m scale designed to measure the a ffect that camp had on the basic leadership and group facilitation skills of camp counselors was also included on the survey This scale served as the post then section of the survey. Camp counselors were asked to rank the series of 17 items on a scale of 0 4, asking youth to rate their level of ability to perform a certain skill pre and post camp. The scale was 0 No ability, 1 poor, 2 fair, g ood, 4 excellent. Each of the practice and ability sections of the instruments were further subdivided into basic leadership and group facilitation skills. This was done to emphasize those behaviors and leadership skills that, although not as widely stated, are more engrained in youth that serve as camp c ounselors. Face validity was controlled using a panel of experts consisting of four faculty members from in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Florida They reviewed the survey and provided feedback on order, wording, and l ayout and design. The use of an
41 expert panel and previously tested instruments helped ensure the reliability and validity of the instrument. Institutional Review Board (IRB ) approval (#2008-U 0357) was sought achieve d (Appendix D ). IRB approved consent letters were posted on Florida 4 Hs website for easy access as well as emailed to all Extension 4 -H Faculty It was t he responsibility Extension 4 H Faculty to provide parents of camp counselors with IRB approved consent letters. A pilot test was also c onducted with a population of similar youth (all preparing to be camp counselors) in another state that had a camping philosophy equivalent to Florida in order to test for readability, reliability, and validity. The pilot test of the questionnaire returne d a Cronbachs Alpha Coefficient of .93 on the Leadership Skills assessment (p. 1 of the Camp Counse lor Evaluation 2008 Appendix A ) and a Cronbachs Alpha Coefficient of .98 on the Leadership and Group Skills A T CAMP portion (p. 2, Appendix A ). Due to results from the pilot test and youth feedback, item 16 on the AT CAMP portion of the test (understand myself) was removed for the actual implementation of the survey Floridas 4 H camp counselors. Administration Data collection o ccurred during two dif ferent phases : counselor questionnaire completion and focus group interviews All camp counselors who were given permission to participate in the research study were asked to fill out the questionnaire following the conclusion of their week of camp. One trained individual at each camp was responsible for administering the survey. Prior to survey implementation, the researcher oriented these individuals on proper data collection and provided scripts (Appendix B ) to be read to the counselors prior to start ing the survey. Counselors were taken to a quiet, separate building on the facility and read the release form. Those wishing not to participate were allowed to leave at anytime during the survey
42 without negative consequences. Questionnaires were administ ered on Friday morning to en sure a high response rate. The camp ex perience was also fresh in the mind of camp counselors Survey administrators were instructed to immediately place completed questionnaires into an envelope to ensure confidentiality. Onc e all counselors had completed the questionnaire, administrators were to seal the envelope and mail it to the researcher at 4 H Camp Timpoochee. This process was repeated every week with a new group of camp counselors during the summer of 2008. The secon d phase of data collection occurred when groups of counselors volunteered to be interviewed about their experien ces. I nitially, focus groups were intended to be purposive in nature. The goal was to conduct four focus groups, one at each facility. The ma ke up of these groups was to include males and females, rookie and veteran counselors, as well as those who di d and did not participate in the Florida 4 H State Camp Counselor Certification Training Program Due to time constrain ts placed on the researcher, only two focus groups were conducted and recorded by the researcher; one at Camp Timpoochee and one at Camp Ocala. Appendix C contains the interview schedule that guided the focus group discussions. Participants were told they could refuse to answer a ny question during the interview, but were encouraged to speak freely about their experience. A tape recorder was placed in the middle of the table to record the interview. The researcher posed questions and probed further into the group discussion when necessary as well as brought the group back to focus when necessary. The researcher transcribed and coded the interviews in order to measure what types of leadership and group facilitation skills the counselors believed they were gaining or improving. These reported skills were compared to the basic leadership and group facilitation skills measured by
43 the survey to see how accurate the instrument was in measuring the actual practice and ability to perform leadership skills and tasks during the week of c amp. Respondents The manner in which the surveys we re distributed allowed for a high response rate. Counselors and campers have become accustomed to filling out some type of survey or questionnaire at the end of camp. The only visible differences that c ounselors were made aware of was the change in location (they look their survey in a location separate from the campers) and were read a statement prior to taking the actual survey itself (Appendix B). The statement allows for the counselor to refuse part icipation at any time without negative consequences. No counselor, to the knowledge of the researcher, chose this course. A total of 520 surveys were collected. Two hundred forty -one counselors attended one of four Florida 4 H State Camp Counselor Certification Trainings (CCT) prior to attending summer camp. Of those, 181 ( 75%) counselors reported to having attended a CCT after successful completion of a week of summer camp Sixteen counselor s from two different camps participated in focus group i nterviews. Four counselors reported that they did not attend the CCT while 12 did. Six counselors were in their first year of the experience and the remaining 10 were in at least their second year. A total of nine males and 7 females participated. The average age of focus group participants was 16 Data Analysis Data collected were analyzed using SPSS 16.0. Independent variables included degree of camp experience, extensiveness of counselor training, extensiveness of 4 H participation, and participant demographics. Descriptive statistics were conducted on the participant demographics in order to describe t he population. Dependent variables were divided into two different constructs: basic leadership and group facilitation skills. Paired sample t tests were done to
44 calculate the before and after camp scores and significances regarding the level of ability to perform basic leadership and group facilitation skills. Independent sample t tests were run in order to discover if the Florida 4 H Camp Counselor Certification Training and other variables added significantly to the development or enhancement of basic leadership and group facilitation skills. Correlations were run between the amount of practice variables and demographic variables and totaled basic leadership and group facilitation scores. For the independent variable measuring degree of ca mp experien ce, open -ended questions were asked about years spent as a camper and counsel or (Appendix A ). Extensiveness of counselor training was measured by four variables: (1) participation in counselor training, (2) participation in CCT, (3) hours spent in trainin g, and (4) number of time s one met for training. Both participation in training and CCT were binary with a yes = 1 and no = 2. Hours spent in training are coded as follows: one hour or less = 1, two to 11 hours = 2, and at least 12 hours = 3. An open -en ded question was asked to calculate number of times a counselor met for their training. Extensiveness of 4 H participation was measured using binary response items used to determine if and what other 4 H or leadership experiences a counselor had. A respo nse of yes = 1 and no = 2. Demographic variables that were collected include d age, gender, ethnicity, and residence. Dependent variable items were divided into two different constructs: basic leadership and group facilitation skills. Dependent variables measuring the amount of practice were re ported on a 4 -point scale (Appendix A). Dependent variables measure the ability to perform was reporte d on a 5 point scale (Appendix A ). A factor analysis was also done to ensure that items within the constructs w ere appropriately related. Reliability analyses were also conducted for the amount of ability to practice and ability to perform scales. The Cronbachs alpha coefficient for the
45 practice scale was strong at .89. The Cronbachs alpha coefficient for the ability to perform scale was also strong at .92. The following sections report the results of the factor analysis by construct. Basic Leadership S kills Cross indexing four survey instruments was done to attain the questions that made up the basic leaders hip skills scale. This scale was researcher -defined such that certain items were chosen specifically for their ability to define general leadership responsibilities and tasks that counselors encounter during summer camp. A factor analysis of the research er defined scale produced a two -construct scale with the first having an Eigenvalue of 3.286 which explained 41% of the variance. The Cronbachs Alpha reliability for the index was a .79. The summated mean for basic leadership skills was 3.21 with a stan dard deviation of 3.95. These results show that for the eight items, respondents tended to have some experience with each item. Table 3 1 Basic Leadership variables used in factor analysis. Variable Factor loading 1. Organized a group activity. .846 2. Organized information to present to campers. .737 4. Followed a process to make decisions. .577 5. Planned activities. .759 6. Lead activities. .564 7. Shared new ideas with others. .790 8. Taught others on an individual basis. .772 15. Gave directions for group tasks. .595 The factor analysis yielded an Eigenvalue of 3.28 which explained 41% of the model variation. Alpha index reliability = .79. Mean basic leadership score of the model = 3.21, SD = 3.95. Group Facilitation Skills The nature of residential camping calls for camp counselors to manage and work with groups multiple times per day for the duration of the week of camp. This construct was measured using ten different items (8 items on the ability to perform scale). Again, this scale
46 was researcher -defined such that certain items were chosen specifically fo r their ability to define group facilitation and group management skills that counselors are required to perform during the week of summer camp. A factor analysis of the researcher -defined scale produced a two construct scale with the first having an Eige nvalue of 3.834 which explained 38% of the variance. The Cronbachs Alpha reliability for the index was a .82. The summated mean for basic leadership skills was 3.03 with a standard deviation of 4.52. These results show that for the ten items, responden ts tended to have some experience with each item. Table 3 2 Group Facilitation variables used in factor analysis. Variable Factor loading 3 Lead group discussions or de briefing exercises. 559 9. Facilitated the group dynamics in the cabin or other camp setting. 635 10. Encouraged participation from all participants in my group. 560 11. Got involved when a group was not functi oning properly. 631 12. Helped a group build a sense of teamwork and unity to accomplish a specific task 705 13. Help a group establish its purpose. 651 14. Listened carefully to the opinions of group members. 586 16. M ade sure that all points of view were represented within group discussions. 585 18. Recognized the behaviors of a group that was not functioning well and had a chance to intervene. .615 19. Taught others in a group setting. .648 The factor analysis yielded an Eigenvalue of 3.83 which explained 38% of the model var iation. Alpha index reliability = .82. Mean basic leadership score of the model = 3.03, SD = 4.52. Descriptive statistics and one -way ANOVAs were conducted on the amount of practice portion of basic leadership and group facilitation constructs. Paired sample t -tests were run on the before and after measure of the basic leadership and group facilitation constructs to test for change. Independent samples t -test were done in order to test whether counselors who participated in CCT showed a larger improve ment in basic leadership and group facilitation skills. The final steps of data analyse s included conducting a Pearson R correlation between
47 practice and ability dependent variables and independent variables measuring breadth of 4 H leadership experience and a ge. All results of data analyse s are presented in Chapter 4. CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Chapter three summarized the research design and methodology. A quasi -experimental design was used to trace whether leadership and group facilitation skills were affected by participation in counselor training 4 H summer camp. Furthermore, participation in Floridas State Camp Counselor Certification Training was traced to see if it had any particular influence on the leadership or group facili tation skills of camp counselors A researcher created, post reflective instrument was used to measure this chan ge Focus groups were also used to collect qualitative data in order to help the researcher understand the deeper contextual issue of leadership at 4 -H camp. Also, this information provided further data relating to the type of leadership experience gaine d, amount of counselor training, and recommendations for future additions or changes to programs related to counselor training. Chapter four contains the findings of the data collected. Five hundred twenty survey s were collected from Floridas 2008 summer camp counselors. The first objective of this research was to describe Florida 4 H camp counselors based on the following characteristics: age, gender, ethnicity, and hometown, years in 4 H, attendance of camp as a camper, years as a 4 H camp counselor, hours of counselor training, participation in other 4 H or non 4 H activities. Demographics of Florida Camp Counselors The age of Florida 4 H camp counselors ranged from 12 to 19 years old with t he mean age at approximately 15 years of age. The la rgest group of counselors were those between the ages of 14 and 16, with 15 years old being the largest group (26.7%, n =502). Next were 14 and 16 year olds with nearly equal percentages of counselors represented (20.5% and 20.7%
48 respectively). Only five counselors were 12 years old (1.0%) and two counselors were 19 years old (.40%). Table 4 1 represents the age distribution of the camp counselors across Floridas camping facilities. At three of the four residential camping facilities, 15 year olds were the most predominant. The majority of camp counselors at Camp Timpoochee were 16 years of age. T hat the majority of Floridas camp counselors were 15 years old fell s lightly inconsistent with other states data that found camp counselors to be between 16 and 17 years of a ge (McNeely, 2004; Carter 2006). While it was the intention of the researcher to use only counselors in this study, the large number of respondents as well as the age distribution shows that some counselors in training may have been incl uded in the sample. Table 4 1. Percent and numbers of Counselors by Age and Camp Location O f the respondents, 39.8% ( n =500) w ere male and 60.2% were female. The majority of Floridas camp counselors were Caucasian (73.6%, n =492). African Americans made up the next largest category (12.4%) while 4.7% were Hispanics and 9.3% responded to the Other cate gory. The demographics for male and female counselors were fairly consiste nt throughout the state. Cherry Age State wide (n=500) Timpoochee (n=104) Cherry Lake (n=124) Ocala (n=127) Cloverleaf (n=147) 12 1% (5) 2.9% (3) 0% (0) .8% (1) .7% (1) 13 7% (35) 14.4% (15) 8.1% (10) .8% (1) 6.1% (9) 14 20.5% (103) 18.3% (19) 25% (31) 13.4% (17) 24.5% (36) 15 26.7% (134) 17.3% (18) 26.6% (33) 29.9% (38) 30.6% (45) 16 20.7% (104) 27.9% (29) 16.9% (21) 22% (28) 17.7% (26) 17 16.1% (81) 14.4% (15) 16.9% (21) 22.8% (29) 10.9% (16) 18 7.6% (38) 4.6% (5) 6.5% (8) 9.4% (12) 8.8% (13) 19 .4% (2) 0% (0) 0% (0) .8% (1) .7% (1)
49 Lake and Camp Ocala participants most closely resembled that of the state whereas Camp Cloverleaf had significantly more females than males and Camp Timpoochee had nearly equal numbers of both genders. The majority of camp counselors that attended camp during the summer of 2008 were Caucasian. Camp Cherry Lake h ad most African American counselors and Camper Ocala had the majority of campers who reported to be of Hispanic decent followed very closely by Camp Cloverleaf. Camps Cloverleaf and Ocala had near equal p ercent ages of counselors of Ca ucasian decent. Table 4 2 provides the distribution of male and female counselors across Floridas four resident ial camping facilities. Table 4 3 provides similar information on counselor ethnicity. Table 4 2: Percent and numbers of Counselors by Gender and Camp Location Table 4 3 Percent and numbers of Counselors by Ethnicity and Camp Location Another personal characteristi c described was the residence (rural, suburban, urban) of camp counselors. Results indicted that nearly equal amounts of counselors were from rural or suburban locations in Florida (37.8% and 40.4% respectively, n =490) whil e 21.8% were from urban areas. Nearly equal percentages of counselors from Camps Cherry Lake and Timpoochee Gender State (n=500) Timpoochee (n=104) Cherry Lake (n=123) Ocala (n=123) Cloverleaf (n=146) Male 39.8 % (199 ) 49 % (51 ) 43.9 % (54 ) 37.8 % (48 ) 31.5 % (46 ) Female 60.2% (301) 51% (53) 56.1% (69) 62.2% (79) 68.5% (100) Ethnicity State (n=492) Timpoochee (n=99) Cherry Lake (n=122) Ocala (n=127) Cloverleaf (n=144) Caucasian 73.6 % (362 ) 69.7 % (69 ) 60.7 % (74 ) 81.1 % (103 ) 80.6 % (116 ) African American 12.4 % (61 ) 12.1 % (12 ) 32.8 % (40 ) 2.4 % (3 ) 4.2 % (6 ) Hispanic 4.7 % (23 ) 7.1 % (7 ) 0 % (0 ) 7.1 % (9 ) 4.9 % (7 ) Other 9.3 % (46 ) 11.1 % (11 ) 6.6 % (8 ) 9.4 % (12 ) 10.4 % (15 )
50 reported living in suburban areas. Counselors attending Camp Cloverleaf had the most even distribution of rural, suburban, and urban living environments. Camp Ocala counselors r eported living in rural areas more frequently that did counselors from any other camp. Table 4 4 summarizes the statewide and camp results. Table 4 4 Percent and numbers of Counselors by Residence and Camp Location Counselors were asked to report how many years they had bee n involved in the 4 H program. P articipation ranged from zero to 14 years. The counselors that reported zero years of participation (12 total, n =455) either did not participate in 4H, except to be a counselor at camp, or are members at la rge and not members of 4 H clubs. Th e mean years of participation was 6.04 ( SD =3.30). The next variable to be described was the number of years spent attending summer camp as a camper. T he largest number o f respondents (32.7%, n =508) reported to having never attended camp as a camper. Of the counselors that participated in camp, 15.4% attended camp as a camper for one year and 12.4% attended camp for two years, 10.4% attended camp for three years, 10.6% at tended for four years and 10.6% attended for five years. Overall, the mean years of participation was 2.16 ( SD =2.13). The low mean can be attributed to the fact that the majority of camp counselor reported to never having attended camp as a camper. Fo llowing camper experiences, the researcher analyzed number of years as a camp counselor. W ith a range from zero to seven m ean years of experience as a counselor was 1.94 Residence State (n=490) Timpoochee (n=101) Cherry Lake (n=121) Ocala (n=125) Cloverleaf (n=143) Rural 37.8 % (185) 35.6 % (36 ) 38 % (46 ) 40.8 % (51 ) 36.4 % (52 ) Suburban 40.4 % (198 ) 45.5 % (46 ) 46.3 % (56 ) 37.6 % (47 ) 34.3 % (49 ) Urban 21.8 % (107) 18.8 % (19 ) 15.7 % (19 ) 21.6 % (27 ) 29.4 % (42 )
51 (SD =1.31) years Just under half of Floridas counselors (47%) had only one year of experience (n =515). One counselor had seven years experience and 21 counselors had reported no previous years of experience. In this case, it is likely that the wording of the question How many years have you been a camp counselor? led to some confusi on. If the counselor was filling out the questionnaire, he or she was working their first year of summer camp. In the case of camp counselors, one year of experience is equal to one week (five days, four nights) of summer camp because 4 H camp occurs onc e a year for one week. To measure the level of training the counselors receive d, they were asked to answer three different questions. The first was to respond YES or NO to the question Did you participate in a 4 H camp counselor training before attending 4 H camp? If they responded YES, the counselors were directed to another question that asked them to report the amount of training they received (number of hours/days) and how many times they met for their training. All counselors were also asked to re spond YES or NO to the question Did you participate in the Florida 4 H State Camp Counselor Certification Training? Results of the study indicate that 79.4% ( n =514) received some type of training before participating in camp as a camp counselor. Of tho se that received training, the majority reported having had at least 12 hours (or 2 full days) of training (47.9%, n =413). Twenty -four counselors (5.8%) reported they received 1 hour or less of training and 20.6% ( n =514) of counselors reported they received no type of training. Of the original 241 Counselor Training Certification program participants, 181 served as 4 H summer camp counselors. Lastly, it was necessary to measure the amount of other leadership experiences (4 H or other) of Florid a camp counselors. With a range from zero to seven other experiences, counselors reported a mean of 1.33 ( SD =1.71) for other leadership experiences. Two hundred
52 twenty one (43.7%) counselors reported to having no othe r leadership experiences ( n =506). O f those that reported having leadership experiences other than being a camp counselor, 229 (n =502) reported serving as a Club Officer/Committee Member and 126 reported to serving as a County Council Member ( n =502). The nature of these demographic variables will result in their treatment as independent variables at various points throughout the remainder of this study. A re Leadership Skills, s pecifically Group Facilitation, Developed or Enhanced by Participation as a Camp C ounselor in Florida 4 -H Residentia l Camping P rogram ? The next objective of this study was to determine if the week long experience of serving as a camp counselor at 4 H Camp led to the development or enhancement of leadership skills in Floridas camp counselors. Emphasis was placed on the ability to manage or facilitate groups as the l eadership skill most necessary in the camping setting. Along with a pre and post measure of ability to perform counselors were also asked to reflect on the amount of practice they had with basic leade rship and group faci litation skills while at camp. Amount of Practice with Leadership and Group facilitation S kills Practice variables were examined first as it was hypothesized that counselors that reported larger amounts of practice would also report hi gher levels of ability to perform the same type of variable. Nearly equal amounts of practice time occurred during the week with regards to the basic leadership skills and group facilitation skills ( M=3.28 and M=3.27 respectively). Basis leadership s kills. This scale was comprised of eight items. All of the items on th is scale had a mean between 3.01 and 3.40. This indicated that the week long camp experience allowed counselors to practice those skills some of the time. Gave directions for group tasks had the highest mean of all the items in this scale ( M= 3.40 and SD =.688). Organized information to present to
53 campers and Taught others on an individual basis had the lowest means on this scale ( M= 3.01 and SD =.801, M= 3.03 and SD= .835 respective ly). A one -way ANOVA was conducted between each item on the basic leadership scale the four different residential c amping facilities. On Table 4 5 camps (and their camp counselors) with bolded means were found to be significantly different (higher) than camps with means not bolded for that particular item. Camp Ocala counselor s ranked statistically different on five of eight items on the scale. Camp Cloverleaf counselors did not have significantly higher means than counselors from other camps on any ite m on the basic leadership scale. For this and all subsequent statistical analyses, the alpha set apriori is p .05. Table 4 5 Statewide and camp means of practice with basic leadership skills Construct Variable State (n=508) Timp (n=108) Cherry (n=126) Ocala (n=130) Clover (n=145) B asic Leadership Skills 15. Gave directions for groups tasks. 3.40 3.43 3.34 3.52 3.33 2. Organized information to present to camper. 3.01 3.01 2.91 3.29 3.01 8. Taught other on an individual basis. 3.03 3.05 2.99 3.16 3.05 1. Organized a group activity. 3.17 3.13 3.10 3.40 3.07 4. Followed a process to make decisions. 3.29 3.37 3.41 3.29 3.14 5. Planned activities. 3.10 2.95 3.09 3.35 3.00 6. Lead activities. 3.19 3.17 3.21 3.40 3.01 7. Shared new ideas with others. 3.35 3.36 3.35 3.42 3.27 *Bolded means indicate a sig nificant between camp differences in the amount of practice time with certain basic leadership variables. Group facilitation s kills. This scale was comprised of eleven items. Once again, most items on th is scale had a mean between 2.82 and 3.77. Like the Basic Leadership Skill scale, the mean scores indicated that the camp experience allowed counselors to practice the items on this scale some of the time during their week at camp. Encouraged participation from all participants in my group had the highest mean of 3.69 ( SD =.573) indicating that counselors received A lot of practic e
54 on this skill during camp Lead group discussions or de -briefing experiences was the lowest item on this scale with a mean of 2.89 ( SD =.858). Again, a one -way ANOVA was run between each item on the group facilitation skills scale and the four diffe rent residential camping facilities. Significant differences were found on the facilitated the group dynamics in the cabin or other camp setting item. The difference in the mean scores of counselors from Camps Ocala, Timpoochee, and Cherry Lake were si gnificantly higher than those from Camp Cloverleaf. As m entioned in Chapter 3, this construct was used to measure the effectiveness of the CCT and track those individuals associated with the treatment group of this r esearch (those that attended). Compa rison between the averaged statewide mean and the individual c am p mean is displayed in Table 4 6 Table 4 6 Statewide and camp means of amount of practice with group facilitation skills C onstruct Variable State (n=510) Timp ( n=108) Cherry (n=126) Ocala ( n=130) Clover ( n=145) Group Facilitation Skills 10. Encouraged participation from all participants in my group. 3.69 3.71 3.68 3.77 3.62 3. Lead group discussions or de briefing activities. 2.89 2.82 2.99 2.98 2.78 9. Facilitated the group dynamics in the cabin or other camp setting. 3.26 3.40 3.21 3.40 3.07 11. Got involved when a group was not functioning properly. 3.38 3.39 3.36 3.48 3.30 12. Helped a group build a sense of teamwork and unity to accomplish a specific task. 3.26 3.23 3.28 3.36 3.17 13. Helped a group establish its purpose. 2.97 2.96 3.00 3.07 2.96 14. Listened carefully to the opinions of group members. 3.58 3.61 3.60 3.67 3.47 16. Made sure that all points of view were represented within group discussions. 3.27 3.35 3.26 3.35 3.15 17. Used past experiences in managing groups to help me make good decisions. 3.50 3.63 3.44 3.55 3.41 18. Recognized the behaviors of a group that was not funct ioning well and had a chance to intervene. 3.27 3.24 3.34 3.38 3.13 19. Taught others in a group setting. 3.30 3.29 3.25 3.42 3.23 *Bolded means indicate a sign ificant between camp differences in the amount of practice time with certain group facilitation variables.
55 Ability to Perform Leadership and Group Facilitation Skills The second part of the evaluation was a post -reflective section that asked counselors to rate their level of ability to perform a series of skills at the beginning of camp and by the end of camp. Having the counselors report at the end of their week of camp about their leadership and group facilitation ability pre and post camp allowed for a measure of change that could be is olated to the camp coun selor experience onl y. Table 4 7 shows the post then item means as well as the calculated mean difference that counselors believed was a result of their week long camping experience. The basic leadership and g roup facilitation construc ts th at appeared on the post then section of the survey were recomputed into two new variables With a range from zero to four for each of 17 items (no ability to excellent ability), the totaled mean for the skills appearing on the ability to pract ice before scale was a 46.9 ( SD= .506) while the after camp mean was a 57.5 ( SD =.380). A paired -samples t test analysis was conducted to see if the difference between the before and after camp scores were significant. M ean difference between before and aft er camp scores was found to be significant at p .05 Subsequent paired-samples t -test analyses were done on each individual item within the scale to test for significance. Results showed that the changes between all 17 before and after items all occurred in the positive direction and were all significant at p .05 At the beginning of camp, 119 ( n= 469) counselors reported to having no ability, poor, or fair abilities of skills while at the end of camp only 15 ( n= 471) counselors r eported the same. At the beginning of camp, the number of counselors who reported having a good ability to perform the items on the Leadership and Groups skill scale was 359 (n= 480) By the end of camp it was 127 (n= 484) Lastly, the number of counsel ors that started off the week with an excellent ability to perform different leadership tasks was 112. By the end of the week the number of counselors that rated their ability as excellent had risen to 327.
56 Table 4 7: Post then item means and calculat ed mean differences. Scale (# of items) Scale /Item Mean (Before) Scale /Item Mean (After ) Mean Difference Leadership and Group Skills (17) 46.9 57.5 10.6 Basic Leadership Skills (9) 1. Organize a group activity. 2.50 3.28 .781 2. Organize information. 2.61 3.19 .583 4. Follow a process to make decisions. 2.68 3.28 .609 5. Plan activities. 2.65 3.22 .571 6. Lead activities. 2.77 3.39 .636 7. Share new ideas with others. 2.91 3.46 .551 8. Teach others. 2.87 3.45 .575 15. Give clear directions. 2.83 3.46 .634 16. Use past experiences in making Decisions. 3.13 3.54 .403 Group Facilitation Skills (8) 3. Lead group discussions. 2.56 3.23 .656 9. Group dynamics in the cabin setting or other setting. 2.56 3.28 .725 10. Encourage quiet or non participating individuals. 2.91 3.59 .685 11. To do an intervention when group is not functioning properly. 2.50 3.21 .712 12. Build a sense of teamwork and U nity within a group. 2.77 3.40 .634 13. Help a group establish its purpose. 2.51 3.08 .573 14. Listen carefully to opinion of group members and make sure that all points of view are represented. 2.87 3.48 .608 17. Recognize the behaviors of a group that is not functioning well. 2.88 3.51 .622 Florida 4 Hs residential camping experience proved to positively change the leadership and group facilitation skill ability of those youth attend ing as camp counse lors. Specifically counselors that have had experience with other types of leadership, are older, and have been a camp counselors before are more likely to be affected by this change. Furthe r discussion follows in an attempt to isolate exactly what about the c amp experience causes this change, other than characteristics about the camp counselors themselves.
57 Qualitative D ata. Sixteen counselors participated in t wo focus groups took place during the summer. Eight counselors were in each grou p. Focus groups consisted of ten males and six females. Experienced counselors were defined as those that had three or more years of experience while those that had one and two years of experience were considered new counselors. Ten focus group part icipants were experienced and six were new. While o nly conveni ence samples were achieved, useful information was gained. Participants were asked to talk about the type of leadership experiences they had during their week of 4H camp. Counselors reported such things as giving clear directions, encouraging campers to participate by helping build the self confidence thats found within each of the campers who participated, building a sense of teamwork and unity within their groups during the day and their cabins at night and intervening with groups or individual campers. Intervening was the most mentioned type of leadership skill. Interestingly, coun selors also reported that they learned new things about themselves while serving different leadership roles. Counselors sometime s lead because we were put on the spot and you know we have to take care of them [the campers] because we wanted to do the right thing and because we care about them. Camp counselors were also asked to describe how their leadership roles and experiences at 4 H camp differed from other roles and experiences they had. To this end, counselors m entioned time and again how spending a week with the same kids [campers] helps you get to know them better individually and as a group. An understanding of group dynamics is crucial to camp counselors in helping them build a sense of unity within their ca mp ers. Looking back at Table 4 6 which breaks down amount of practice with group facilitation skills, one finds that counselors at three of the four 4 H camps had t he ability to practice facilitating group dynamics
58 during the week. These interviews confirm the data. Counselors also reported that they enjoyed being the leaders at 4 H camp, when given the opportunity. When youth were asked to define their roles as gr oup managers or leaders at 4 H camp, their responses were: 1. To encourage ( n= 3) 2. Give clear directions ( n= 3) 3. Build a sense of unity and teamwork ( n= 2) 4. Aid campers in decision making ( n= 1) Counselors (n =3) also noted that in certain situations, campers did not see them as authority figures. This made leading activities or discussions difficult because campers did not want to take direction from counselors. This supports data collected which indicated that both lead activities and lead group discussions was rated good both before and after camp. A re Leadership Skills, s pecifical ly Group Facilitation, Developed or Enhanced by P articipation in the Florida 4 -H State Camp Co unselor Certification Training Program? The third objective was to determine if p articipation in Floridas camp counselor certification training program led to a larger increase in the change between a counselors ability to perform the leadership and group skills before and after camp. To measure for this difference, youth were asked to respond yes or no to the following question: Did you participate in a State Camp Counselor Certification T raining weekend (CCT)? Paired samples t tests were run against the before and after cam p scores for each group of counselors The results of these ana lyses are presented in Table 4 7 Table 4 8 Basic leadershi p and group facilitation skills; before and after camp. Not CCT Partic. (n= 334) CCT Participants (n=181) Scale Survey Item Before After Before After Basic Leadership Skills 1. Organize a group activity. 2.54 3.29 2.44 3.28 2. Organize information. 2.61 3.17 2.60 3.23 4. Follow a process to make decisions. 2.72 3.25 2.63 3.31
59 Table 4 8 Continued. Not CCT Partic. (n= 334) CCT Participants (n=181) Scale Survey Item Before After Before After 5. Plan activities. 2.66 3.19 2.64 3.27 6. Lead activities. 2.81 3.39 2.68 3.39 7. Share new ideas with others. 2.94 3.44 2.86 3.50 8. Teach others. 2.88 3.44 2.87 3.46 15. Give clear directions. 2.81 3.42 2.83 3.52 16. Use past experiences in making decisions. 3.09 3.51 3.01 3.57 Group Facilitation Skills 3. Lead group discussions. 2.56 3.20 2.58 3.28 9. Group dynamics in the cabin setting. 2.61 3.29 2.47 3.26 10. Encourage quiet or non participating individuals. 2.91 3.58 2.90 3.61 11. To do an intervention when a group is not functioning properly. 2.57 3.22 2.39 3.22 12. Build a sense of teamwork and unity within a group. 2.80 3.38 2.72 3.44 13. Help a group establish its purpose. 2.51 3.06 2.48 3.11 14. Listen carefully to opinion of group members and make sure that all points of view are represented. 2.90 3.46 2.81 3.51 17. Recognize the behaviors of a group tha t is not functioning well. 2.87 3.47 2.91 3.56 *Bolded mean was found significantly different between counselors who did and did not attend the CCT. Paired samples t -tests did not yield significant results for any Basic Leadership items. One Group Facilitation item, to do an intervention when a group is not functioning properly was found to be significantly different between counselor s who attended the CCT on the before camp result. However, as can be seen in Table 4 7, all after camp item means were higher than before camp means indicating counselors felt their leade rship and group facilitation skills improved during the week of 4 H camp. Independent samples t tests were also conducted on the after camp score s in order to compare CCT and nonCCT participants. No significant results were found for independent t -
60 test s conducted on after camp scores. Mean difference was also calculated in order to measure the overall change in leadership and group facilitation behavior of youth camp counselors Independent samples t tests were also conducted against this calculation. Overall, the change that occurred in the totaled basic leadership scale was found significant Give clear directions, lead group discussions, and [facilitate the] group dynamics in the cabin setting were the individual items whose changes were fou nd to be significant at p .01. Qualitative D ata. The total make up of the two focus groups i ncluded fourteen counselors who participated in the CCT and two that did not. However, all counselors who participated in the CCT did report to having a dditional training beyond the certification During the focus group interview, counselors were asked to explain where they learned different leadersh ip techniques. Regarding building a sense of unity within their groups, counselors were asked to explain where they learned this trait. Older counselors explained that when they were new (in their first year), training played a larger role in how they handled situations and campers. However, the more years of experience they gained, the more they learned from the past. One counselor who was in her fourth year stated that you refresh your skills and fix what you might have done differently from the previous year. A fellow male counselor from her camping cluster called it a trial and error process. While used past experiences in making decisions was not found to be significant between counselors who part icipated in the CCT and those who did not, clearly, it is a skill that counselors use in order to better themselves in their leadership roles at 4 H camp. Overall, all 16 counselors who participated in focus group interviews agreed that the CCT was very b eneficial for first and second year counselors but those in their third or more year would not find the weekend very helpful, unless it was modified to fit their skill level.
61 D oes Extensiveness of Camp Counselor Training Affect the Development of Leader ship Skills, specifically, Group Facilitation? To measure extensiveness of training, counselors were asked a series of questions about the length and breadth of training. They were asked for the total number of hours they met for training and on how many different occasions this occurred (See pg. 3, Appendix A) One hundred ninety-seven counselors (39%), the largest group, reported that they had a t least 12 hours of training ( n =506) One hundred ninety-one counselo rs reported between two and 11 hours o f t raining while 117 reported that they spent one hour or less in training. For number of training sessions, only 368 counselors responded. Of those, 182 reported they met on one occasion (49. 5%), 87 counselors met twice for their training (23.6%) and 47 met three times (12.5% ). In order to test whether training affected the total change in basic leadership and group facilitation skills, ANOVAs were conducted. No statistically significant results were found. No leadership and group facilitation skill differences existed between counselors that received 1) little to no training 2) 2 11 hours of training, and 3) those who received at least 12 hours of training. Although no significant results were found when comparing amount of training to the change in leadership and group facilitation variables (see Table 4 7) further analysis was conducted to see which characteristic about the camp experience could explain the significant change in skills. It is important to mention that while statistically significant results were not found wh en comparing extensiveness of counselor training, results revealed indicated practically significant results. Time and again in focus group interviews experienced and non-experienced counselors mentioned the need for trainin g (on general topics or more in -depth issues). Furthermore, quality of counselor training plays a large part in developing a counselors pre -
62 camp abilities and during camp confidence. While most states require a minimum of 24 to 30 hours of traini ng, Florida counselors are fortunate if they have 12 hours of training. ANOVAs were run between the totaled Leadership Experiences variable and each of the items from the 19 item amount of practice section of the survey All items on the Basic Leaders hip skills scale, Group Facilitation skills scale, and all individual after camp items were found significant at p .05 Results of this test show that during camp, the amount of practice that a counselor had with a certain skill correlated directly to t he amount of change before and after camp. Those counselors reporting no ne to very little experience had statistically significant lower means on after camp scores of ability to perform leadership and group facilitation skills than counselors who repo rted some to a lot of experience. Do Demographic Variables (Age, Gender, Years as a Camp Counselor etc.) Affect the Development of Leadership S kills, s pecifically, Group F acilitation? To this point, isolation of the change in leadership and group fa cilitation skills before and after camp has center ed around variables related to preparation for and the actual camp experience itself. Results indicated that counselor training did not play as large of a role as it was originally assumed. T hus far cert ain demogra phics have proven to have a larger effect on the development and enhancement of leadership and group facilitation skills. Practice with skills has also been shown to have an effect. Pearsons product -moment correla tion coefficients were comput ed in order to show the strength of the relationship between practice and ability to perform leadership and group facilitation skills. Table 4 8 displays the results from this test.
63 Table 4 9 Pearson Product Moment Correlation results. Correlation Tota l Leadership Total Basic Leadership Total Group Facilitation Total Leadership 1.000 .958** .921 Total Basic Leadership .958** 1.000 .772** Total Group Facilitation .921** .772** 1.000 **Correlation is significant at the p .01 level When interpreting the results of Pearsons correlation coef ficients, one must keep in mind that just because a positive relationship exists the relationship is not always strong. While previous analysis had already revealed a relationship between change in leadership and group facilitation skills and amount of practice during the week of camp with these skills, Pearson product moment correlation c oefficients w ere computed in order to find the strength and direction of the relationship. Results of this an alysis showed that the relationship between basic leadership skills and totaled amount of practice time was .958. This explains 9 % of the variance. The same strong, positive relationship was found for facilitation skills and the totaled amount of practic e with leadership skills while at camp (.921). This explains 8 % of the variance. Both of these results indicate that more practice time with leadership and group facilitation skills has a direct influence on a counselors ability to perform these skills. Results of this an a lysis are also show in Table 4 8 One -way analysis of variance analyses (ANOVAs) and independent samples t tests were conducted between certain demographic variables and the two different leadership practice sca les. W hen total number of years as a cam p counselor and other 4 H leadership experiences beyond that of camp counseling was compared to the tot aled scales, significant differences we re found. Those counselors who reported four or more years of experience as a camp counselor rep orted a significantly higher mean s on both basic leadership ( M =37. 9) and group facilitation
64 experiences at camp (M =27.2) than did those counselors who reported to having only one year of experience ( M =35.2 and M =25.5 respectively). Counselors who reported four other leadership experiences ranked significantly higher in the amount of practice of basic leadership skills while at camp than did those counse lors who reported other amount of leadership experience Co unselors who reported participating in five leadership experiences beyond that of camp counseling ranked significantly higher in the amount of practice with group facilitation skills at camp when compared to counselors reporting between one and seven other leadership experiences. Interestingly, when independent samples t tests were run against these two scales and whether a counselor participated in a certain 4 H leadership activity, significant results were found for those counselors who reported to serve as Club Officers or Committee Members, 4 H Legislature Participants, and 4 -H Congress Delegates These results indicate that the experience of participating in Florida 4 -H Congress, 4 H Legislature, and club and committee leadership roles combined youth more opportunity to practice leadership and group facilitation skills. Lastly, AN OVA results between basic leadership and group facilitation constructs and age revealed significant results. In order to conduct this analysis, counselors were divided into three age groups. This was done to create near equal groups with which to conduct the analyses. Of the counselors who reported to be in their early teens (1213), middle teens (1416), and late teens (17 19), counselors in their early teens ranked signi ficantly lower in the amount of practice with basic leadership and group facilitation experiences at camp than did those in their late te ens. Early teens reported a mean of 24.5 on the group facilitation skills scale while late teens reported a mean of 27.4 ( p .05 ). Early teens reported a mean of 33.9 on the basic leadership skills s cale while late teens r eported a mean of 38.6 ( p .05 ).
65 Results indicated that experience as a c amp counselor, total other leadership experiences and age affected the am ount of leadership and group facilitation practice that camp counselors received at camp. These m easures of the perceived leadership and group facilitation practice were important to know before moving on to the amount of perceived change in leadership and group skills. At this point, one should expect that areas in which counselors had some a nd a lot of practice during the week should show change in the positive direction. Furthermore, demographic variables should affect the change in leader ship and group facilitation skills in the same way that they affected the practice of these items.
66 CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSS IONS, RECOMMENDATION S The purpose of this study was to determine if camp c ounselors develop and enhance leadership and group facilitation skills as a result of their 4 H camping experience. Camp counselors are those youth between the ages of 13 and 18 who serve a unique dual role in 4 H resi dential camping (McNeely, 2004). They teach a nd supervise younger campers (Garst & Johnson, 2005) while also receiving the educational prog ramming (McNeely, 2004, p. 2). A total of 520 surveys were collected from Florida 4 H camp counselors during the summer of 2008 for this study The independe nt variables measured were the degree of camp experience, extensiveness of counselor training, extensiveness of 4 H participation, and participant demographics. The dependent variables measured were divided into two different constructs: basic leadership a nd group facilitation skills. Data collection procedures were followed precisely as described in Chapter 3. Limitations Several limitations existed within the design of this study. The que stionnaire was self evaluative in nature. These types of evaluati ons, if not followed with an additional observational measure or tool, may lead to overestimations of talents or abilities. To correct for the possibility of overestimation, county faculty and summer camp staff would need to fill out a similar tool measur ing the leadership and group facilitation skills of camp counselors. Data from all three groups would then be compared to ch eck for inter -rater reliability (Goodman, Meltzer, & Bailey, 1998). Another limitation to this study regarded the use of time data for hours and days that counselors spent in training. It may have been difficult for youth to recall the exact number of
67 hours and days they met for counselor training. In order to verify their information, the researcher would have needed to contact 62 county faculty and inquire about counselor training programs and instruction. While a significant amount of time had not passed between counselor t raining and 4 H camp the researcher trusted that the majority of counselors were able to report this infor mation correc tly. Summary Demographic Makeup Objective one was to determine the demographic makeup of Florida 4 H camp counselors. The average age of Florida camp counselors was 15 years old with a range from 12 19 years of age. Females outnumber ma le counselors 3 to 2. Caucasians were the most highly represented (73.6%) followed by African American (12.4%) and Hispanics (4.7%). Nearly equal amounts of counselors resided in suburban or rural areas (40.4% and 37.8%) while only 21.8% resided in urb an areas. The average years of participation in 4 H was 6 years with a range from 0 14. The mean years of attendance of camp as a camper were 2.16 ( SD =2.13) with a range from 0 to 5 years. However, the largest group of respondents (32.7%, n= 508) never a ttended camp as a camper. Most camp counselors were in their first year (47%) and one counselor reported up to seven years experience. Four out of every five counselors reported to having some type of training before their actual counselor experience dur ing the summer. Of those, 47.9% received at least 12 or more hours of training and only 24 counselors reported to having received one hour or less of training. However, 20.6% of counselors did admit they received no training at all. Lastly, 221 counselo rs reported that camp counseling was their only leadership experience. Of those that reported having more than one leadership experience 229 reported they were Club Officers or Committee members and 129 said they served as a county council member.
68 Scores from the 2008 Camp Counselor Evaluation were used in order to measure the amount of practice and ability to perform basic leadership and group facilitation skills. This evaluation identified which skills were practiced the most during the week of camp and subsequently which skills counselor s felt they improved the most during the week of 4 H camp. A s trong correlatio n was found between t he amount practice time with basic leadership and group facilitation skills and a counselors reported improvem ent during the week of summer camp. Leadershi p Skill Development at 4 -H Camp The second objective of this study was to de termine if the week long residential camping experience led to the development (or enhancement) of leadership skills in Florida camp counselors. During their week of 4 H Camp, counselors have responsibilities that require them to serve leadership roles an d manage groups. Results from this study indicate that the leadership and group facilitation skills of Florida camp counselors improved as a result of their participation in 4 H Camp. This outcome supports previous research. An Oregon study of 4 H camp counselors revealed that leadership was among the top-ranked life skills that counselors reported to have gained (Brandt & Arnold, 2006). A 2004 Wisconsin study concluded that 93% of camp counselors learned or improved at least one leadership skill (Forsythe, Matysik, & Nelson, 2004). Louisiana camp counselors also reported high levels of positive experiences with leadership (Carter, 2006). To date, no study has been conducted on 4 H camp counselors and their ability to manage groups. CCT and Leadership Development The third objective of this study was to determi ne if participation in Florida 4 H State Camp Counselor Certification Training program (CCT) led to a larger increase in the change in a counselors ability to perform leadership and group fac ilitation skills before and after camp.
69 The spring of 2008 was the time in which this program was offered to youth camp counselors. It was intended to provide foundational knowledge about 4 H camp, job responsibilities, how to manage groups in a number o f different camp settings, and ages and stages of camper development. This program was pr omoted to all Extension 4 -H Faculty as a supplement to counselor trainings that were taking place in their home county. Results of this study indicated that counselors who participated in this program showed significantly more improvement in their basic leadership skills from the beginning to the e nd of camp ( before: M= 46.2, SD= 10.36 and after: M= 57.8, SD= 6.92) Although the totaled group facilitation skill was not s ignificant, certain items within the scale did generate significant results. Counselors who participated in the CCT did show significantly more improvement in their ability to lead group discussions and facilitate or manage group dynamics in various camp settings. Lastly, while not statistically significant, a practically signific ant result was found in the ability for counselors to recognize behaviors of a group that is not functioning well. Practical significance deals with the real world usage of st atistical analysis (Kirk, 1996) Exte nsiveness of Counselor Training The fourth objective of this research was added to measure length and breadth of training. It was expected that counselors who had more hours of training and met more times for their training would show higher after camp scores in basic leadership and group facilitation skil ls. Results indicated that 2 of 5 counselors spent at lea st 12 hours in training but 1 of 2 met on only once occasi on for camp preparation. Two of 5 counselors a lso reported between two and six hours of training. No significant results were found when length and breadth of training were compared to change in leadership and group facilitation skills. States with historically strong camping programs and the Americ an Camp Association recommend a minimum 24 hours of training prior
70 to the camp experience (McNeely, 2004; UWEX, 2008). University of Wisconsin Extension recommends a minimum of six hours of instructional time with the following five subject areas: (1) pro blem solving; (2) physical and emotional health; (3) understanding campers; (4) attitude; and (5) counselor responsibilities (UWEX, 2008). Not enough training may be the cause of the lack of significant results. If counselors had more pre -camp training i n different areas, including leadership and group facilitation they would be more likely to practice and improve their skills. Even with the State Camp Counselor Certification Training, youth only participated in a one time, three hour group facilitation training workshop. Other Influences All research questions discussed thus far have centered around the camp experience of pre camp training. The last question to be answered was whether other demographic variables played a role in the development or enhancement of leadership and group facilitation skills of Florida 4 H camp counselors. A 2004 study of Ohio camp counselors was able to link experience as a camp counselor to development of leadership (McNeely, 2004). The results of this study showed that there was a low correlation between years of experience as a camp counselor and basic leadership and group facilitation skills developed. However, results may have differed because the entirely of the questionnaire centered on some type of leadership skill whereas the Ohio study included life skills other than leadership. Additionally, results did not indicated a relationship between age, ethnicity, residence gender, years in 4H, or other leadership experiences and the development or enhancements of leadership and group facilitation skills. However, a significant and strong relationship was found bet ween amount of practice and ability to perform these skills (Basic, r =. 958 and Group, r = .921). This relationship between practice and performance illustrates vanLinden and Fertmans stages of adolescent leadership development. In stage two, interaction youth begin to explore or and experiment leadership as it
71 has been taught to them whereas in stage three, mastery (or integration as referred to Ricketts and Rudd) adolescents begin the actual practice of leadership concepts and ideas (vanLinden & Fertma n, 1998; Ricketts & Rudd, 2002). This relationship between practice and performance is so strong within the camping environment because youth, if given the opportunity, have the ability to continually practice and perfect these skills through trial and e rror process (Focus Group, 2008). Recommendations The results of this study suggest a number of important programmatic and research implications. Throughout this study, it has been noted that the amount of practice with leadership skills overwhelmingly l eads to a change in the level of ability to perform these skills. Counselors will be more likely to step up and practice these leadership skills, as well as other job responsibilities, if they have been properly trained and introduced to these subject -mat ter areas. Even though this study did not yield signi ficant results for extensiveness of training, counselors who participated in the state certification training did report significant differences in their after camp basic leadership skills and some group facilitation items. In order for counselors to gain the most out of their 4 H camp experience it is recommended that county faculty arrange at least 24 hours of training for their teen volunteers. This can occur within individual counties or ca mp clusters Research has show that campers whose counselors have been through training have a mo re positive experience (ACA, 2007). When Extension 4 H Agents are preparing for counselor training and 4 H summer camp, it is important to rem ember to the theory of developmental intentionality Be intentional with programming: have specific goals in mind for each counselor training session as well as for summer camp as a whole. Keep youth engagement high by building on the basic needs of youth participating in the program. Youth need to discover themselves and develop self -worth. Design
72 programs so that youth are given the opportunity to build quality relationships with peers and adults However, provide youth with some choice and flexibility in their program ming (Walker, 2006) 4 H has a solid background in youth adult partnerships. Working together with counselors to create a summer camp program will allow their creativity to be expressed in the program as well as give them a larger stake 4 H camping. All owing youth to help with 4 H camp will also lead to an increase in counselor retention because they feel more connected to the program. Results of this study indicated that practice with basic leadership and group facilitation skills was the factor that mo st significantly affected the change ability to perform these skills. Programs that allow youth the opportunity to practice skills are those designed with an emphasis on experiential learning. Experiential learning is the basis for all programs and activ ities that are conducted in 4H. As a part of the 4 H Youth Development Program residential camping must strive to provide those same opportunities to all youth that attend. It is recommended that the Florida 4 H State Camping Coordinator work with Flor idas Extension 4 H Agents in developing an understanding of the type of experiences (before camp and during) that counselors need in order to truly benefit from their residential camping experience. Focus group data as well as data from this and previous studies, indicated that counselors benefit more from the camp experience than county faculty and other program planners may have previously given them credit. It is important to allow counselors to help plan the camp program. Allow them to voice their i deas and opinions about the camp program. After all, they are responsible for working the closest with the campers and know what they do and do not like. When questioned about areas in which counselors felt they could have taken on more responsibility or a leadership role, time and again they responded with planning and teaching
73 activities. Counselors possess skills and talents that county faculty should draw out when planning afternoon and evening activities at camp. All too often within the Florida 4 H residential camping program, county facult y do no think beyond the hired summer program staff for leading and facilitating certain camp activities In reality, county faculty also have 15 25 other highly qualified and talented individuals that can as sist or teach activities so long as they are given the proper training and instruction. For future study, a less-focused survey that touches on other life skills such as responsibility, teamwork, or decision -making would benefit in understanding more abou t Florida 4 H camp counselors. Of more benefit to the camping program would be a study that targets specific camping clusters and their pre camp training practices. A comparative analysis could be conducted between counties who historically have strong counselor training programs and those that do not. This would tease out the true costs/benefits of training counselors prior to camp that might not have been fully realized in this study. Conclusion This study was unique in that it attempted to describe the development and enhancement of leadership and group facilitation skills in Florida 4 H camp counselors. Focusing mainly of the actual week of camp, counselors were also asked to recall information about their pre camp training experience in order to pinpoint the cause ones ability to perform leadership skills and tasks during their week of summer camp. This study revealed many important findings about Florida 4 H camp counselors. While treated as integral in some county camping programs, others have overlooked and underestimated the ability of counselors to lead and facilitate. This study supports others about Florida 4H Camping (Summary 2008) and unveils the fact that Florida has a strong, unique camping program. Those youth that choose to volunt arily dedicate their time to serve as camp counselors benefit from the experience. They gain valuable
74 leadership skills that will be transferred to others contexts within their life such as school, the workforce, or life as a member of a community (Digby, 2005). It is important for county faculty and state program staff to maximize the benefits of participating in camp. Youth want to be leaders. Often times they lack the knowledge or opportunities to practice what they know about being a leader. As th e results of this study indicate, 4 H camp provides the perfect opportunity for young people to practice their skills. With proper instruction in pre -camp training and planning activities, leadership knowledge can also increase. When organizing counselor training, county and state faculty should do so with (1) goodness of fit and (2) active engagement in mind. These are two key elements of the theory of developmental intentionality that, when implemented, greatly improve the chance for positive youth dev elopment and achievement of program goals (Walker, 2006). Summer camp is a time for fun and learning for children of all ages. While activities, classes, and games are centered around those campers between ages eight and 12, camp would not be a success without teenage volunteers. Keeping counselors involved in planning, implementing and evaluating the program is one way ensure they enjoy the week and learn something as well.
75 APPEN DIX A YOUTH CAMP COUNSELOR QUESTIONSIONNAIRE
79 APPENDIX B DATA COLLECTION PROTOCOL Florida 4 H Camp Counselor Evaluation DATA COLLECTION PROTOCOL Youth Data Collection Protocol This protocol serves as a guide for administering the Leadership Skills in Florida 4 H Camp Counselors questionnaires for data collection. Please note that data collection will occur ONLY at one of the four 4 H residential camping facilities. Therefore, the use of the word staff in the following document refers to on -site camp staff that have been trained by the researcher to administer the questionnaire. Administering the Leadership Skills in Florida 4 -H Camp Counselors questionnaire: Confirm with county agents that all camp counselors have turn in the required participation form confirming parental consent. If possible, spread counselors out within the room. This will allow them to have privacy while answering the questionnaire and reduce peer to peer interactions. Distribute one survey and one pencil to each camp counselor. Be sure to have extra pencils available to replace any that break while the youth are completing the survey. Ask youth NOT to start the survey until they have read the instruc tions completely. Remind the youth that you available to answer questions as needed to for question clarity but that you cannot answer a question for them. Directions for completing the Leadership Skills in Florida 4 H Camp Counselors questionnaire Guidelines for providing directions for the completion of the survey: Introduce yourself and any other data collectors. Tell the 4 Hers that this is NOT a test. There are not right or wrong answers. (e.g., These are questions about your experiences th is week at camp. Choose the answers that feel right or best describe you and your experience as a camp counselor this week.) Please read the following statement to them: Your parent has said that is it O.K. for your to participate in this evaluation o f your 4 H camp counseling experience as long as it is O.K. with you. We are interested in finding out about the leadership skills you learned from serving as a camp counselor this week at 4 H camp. There will be questions about the kinds of leadership e xperiences you had as a result
80 of your time spent as a camp counselor this week. Different kids have different experiences and we would like to hear about yours. Please answer all the questions honestly. If for any reason you do not wish to answer a que stion, you may skip it and go on to the next one. If you decide that you dont want to participate, you may tell us that you want to stop without any negative consequences. Your name will not be on any part of the questionnaire, so no one will know how y ou answered the questions. We will not discuss the information you provide with your leaders or 4 H staff. Thank you for your help! Frequently, ask if they have any questions. Ask them to print clearly when filling out the demographic information at the end of the questionnaire. Ask students to raise their hands when they have any questions and someone will come to them to answer. When answering questions, do not lead the student to an answer. If there is a word that is not understood, give a synonym(s) only. If the youth still doesnt understand instruct them to skip it and continue on. Let them know that this is okay If they finish the entire questionnaire early, ask them to review their questionnaire for possible skipped questions. Instruct t hem to bring the completed survey to the staff member in charge and leave the room as quietly as possible. After Administering the Instruments: Please make sure the names of the counties that attended camp that week are attached to the front of the com pleted surveys. Mail the completed surveys to: Stefanie Duda, 4 -H Camp Timpoochee, 4750 Timpoochee Lane, Niceville, FL 32578.
81 APPENDIX C FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Florida 4 H Camp Counselor Focus Group Interview Protocol Focus Group Interview Protocol and Questions This protocol serves as a guide for conducting focus group interviews with youth serving as camp counselors during the summer of 2008. The primary investigator (PI) will be conducting the focus groups along with staff at the each facility. Please note that focus groups will occur ONLY at one of the four 4 H residential cam ping facilities. Therefore, the use of the word staff in the following document refers to on -site camp staff that have been trained by the researcher to help facilitate the focus group. Facilitating the 4 -H Camp Counselor Focus Group Interviews Welcom e and thank the participants for agreeing to take part in the focus group. Each focus group facilitator will introduce himself/herself and the PI will explain why the focus group is being conducted. PI will read the following statement to the participants: I will be asking you questions about your leadership experiences this week at camp. Everyones ideas are important and everyone will get an opportunity to speak. There are no right or wrong answers. We are recording the interview but all your commen ts are completely confidential. Questions to be asked in the focus group: 1 What type of leadership experiences have you had this week at camp? 2 How has your camp experience differed from other leadership experiences you have had? 3 Describe some areas in which you feel you could have taken on more of a leadership role if you had been given the opportunity. 4 Im interested in learning about how the experience of being a 4H camp counselor affects your ability to facilitate groups. Talk to me about how your camping experience this week has played a part in your ability to manage groups in situations such as: (1) night time when you are responsible for the campers inside your cabin or (2) class rotations during the day where you are in charge of a different group a campers other than those in your cabin. a How would you define your role in those groups? b Did you have to facilitate any activities, discussions etc.
82 APPENDIX D IRB CONSENT LETTER TO PARENTS
83 REFERENCES 4 -H camp counselor training: A critical element to a successful camping program (2009). Last retrieved March 23, 2009 from: http://4h.uwex.edu/educators/4 HCampCounselorTraining.cfm Anderson, L. F. & Robertson, S. E. (1985). Group facilitation: Functions and skills. Small Group Behavior, 16(2):139 156. Arnold, M., Bourdeau, V. D., & Nagele, J. (2005). Fun and friendship in the natural world: The impact of Oregon 4 H residential camping programs on girl and boy campers. Journal of Extension [On line], 46(6), Article No. 6R IB1. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2005december/rb1.shtml Baker, D. (1998). Small Group Facilitator Self Assessment Tallahassee, FL. Benson, P. L. & Saito, R. N. (2000). T he scientific foundations of youth development. Youth Development: Issues, Challenges, and Directions: 126 148. Bialeschki, M.D., Henderson, K.A., & James, P.A. (2007). Camp experiences and developmental outcomes for youth. Child and Adolescent Psychiatr ic Clinics of North America, 16 : 769 788. Blackwell, L. (1990). New Mexico state 4 -H youth leadership project: Relationships between elements of leadership participation and self -esteem Unpublished masters thesis, New Mexico State University, Las Cru ces. Boruch, R., et. al. (1998). Design -based evaluations: Process studies, experiments, and quasi experiments. Scandinavian Journal of Social Welfare, 7: 126131. Bostrom, R. P., Anson, R., & Clawson, V. K. (2002). Group facilitation and group support systems. Brandt, J. & Arnold, M. E. (2006). Looking back, the impact of the 4 H camp counselor experience on youth development: A survey of counselor alumni. Journal of Extension [On line], 44(6). Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2006december/rb1.shtml Brooks Harris, J.E. & Shollenberger, K.G. (1998). Group facilitation skills check -up University of Hawaii, Manoa. Digby, J. K. (2005). The Experience of a Lifetime: Alumni perceptions of the development and transfer of life and workforce skills in the Ohio 4 -H camp counselor program. Unpublished masters thesis, The Ohio State University, Columbus. Digby, J. K. & Ferrari, T. M. (20 07). Camp counseling and the development and transfer of workforce skills: The perspective of Ohio 4H camp counselor alumni. Journal of Youth Development, 2 (1).
84 Duncan, R. D. (2000). Youth leadership life skills development of participants in the West V irginia 4 -H camping program. Unpublished masters thesis, West Virginia University, Morgantown. Available at: https://eidr.wvu.edu/files/1370/Duncan_R_Thesis.PDF Fitzpatrick, C. et. al. (2005). Life skills development in youth: Impact research in action. Journal of Extension [On line], 43(3). Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2005june/rb1.shtml Florida 4 H Ca mping Business Plan. (2004). University of Florida, Gainesville. Forsythe, K., Matysik, R., & Nelson, K. (2004). Impact of the 4-H camp counseling experience. Department of Youth Development, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Madison, WI. Retreived fr om: http://www.uwex.edu/ces/4h/department/viewdocument.crm?item=Impact%20of%20th%204%2 DH%20C amp%Counseling%20Experience%2Epdf Fuhrman, N., Le Menestrel, A., & Nichols, A. (2008). Examining youth camping outcomes through the National 4 H Camping Research Consortium (May,2008). Available at: www.cyfernet.org/cyfar08/workshops/components/schoolage/nichols.ppt Garst, B. A. & Bruce, F. A. (2003). Identifying 4 H camping outcomes using a standardized evaluation process across multiple 4 H education centers. Journal of Education [On line], 41(3). Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2003june/rb2.shtml Garst, B. A. & Johnson, J. (2005). Adolescent leadership skill development through r esidential 4 H camp counseling. Journal of Extension [On line] 43 (5). Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2005october/rb5.shtml Garten, M.S., Miltenberger, M., & Pruett, B. (2007). Does 4 H camp influence life skill and leadership development? Journal of Extension [On line], 45(4) article 4FEA4. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2007august/a4.shtml Gersten, R, Baker, S., & Lloyd, J. W (2000). Designing high quality research in special education: Group experimental design Journal of Special Education, 34: 2 18. Goodman, R., Meltzer, H., & Bailey, V. (1998). The strengths and difficulties questionnaire: A pilot study on the validity of the self report version. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 7 : 125130. Henderson, K. A. et. al. (2007). Summer camp experiences: Parental perceptions of youth development outcomes. Journal of Family Issues, 28(8): 9871007. Huey, J. (1994) The leadership industry. Fortune February, 54 56 Jordan, J. (2007). The impact of 4 H camp experiences on youth development: Are you maximizing this experience for youth participants, counselors, and volunteers? IFAS Researc h News You Can Use, Spring 2007. Available at: http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/rnycu07/rnycuJordanspr07.pdf
85 Kirk, R. (1996). Practical significance: A concept whose time has come. Educational and Psychological Measurement 56: 746759. Kirshner, B. (2008). Guided participation in three youth activism organizations: Facilitation, apprenticeship, and joint work. Journal of the Learning Sciences 17 (1):60 101. Newman, M.E. (2002). Benefits to teen mentors involved in programming for school -aged youth. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association, Arlington, VA. McNeely, N. N. (2004). The Ohio 4-H camp counseling experie nce: Relationship of participation to personal, interpersonal, and negative experiences. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University, Columbus. Available at: http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/view/cgi?osu1095800892 McNeely, N. N. & Ferrari T. M. (2005). Results of a study of the Ohio 4-H camp counseling experience and implications for programming. Presentation at the American Camp Association Camp Research Symposium, O rlando, FL. Retrieved from the American Camp Association website: http://www.acacamps.org/research.connect.handouts_05.pdf Meadows, Robert R. (1997) History of Virginia's 4 -H Camping Program: A case study on events leading to the development of the 4-H Educational Centers Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Miller, R. A. (1976). Leader/agent's guide:Leadership life skills. Stillwater: Oklahoma State University. Morgan, D.L. (1996). Focus groups. Annual Review of Sociology, 22: 129152. Northouse, P. G. (2007). Leadership: Theory and Practice (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Purcell, L. E. (1996). Does participation in the Georgia 4-H counselor program increase leadership life skills development? Unpublished masters thesis, The Univeristy of Georgia, Athens. Available at: Purcell, L.E. (1998). Does participation in the Georgia 4 H counselor pr ogram increase leadership life skill development? Paper presented at the 1998 NAE4 HA Conference, Boseman, MT. Rasmussen, W. (1989). Taking the university to the people: Seventy-five Years of Cooperative Extension. Ames: Iowa State University Press. Ri cketts, J. C., & Rudd, R. D. (2002). A comprehensive leadership education model to train, teach, and develop leadership in youth. Journal of Career and Technical Education, 19(1): 7 17.
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87 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Stefanie L.Duda was born in 1 984. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Upon graduating, she moved to Florida to begin work on her Masters. Wh ile pursuing her degree she worked for the University of Florida 4 H Youth Development program as the Summer Program Director of Camp Cloverleaf and Camp Timpoochee. She received her degree from the University o f Florida in the spring of 2009.