Happy staff, happy campers | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Happy staff, happy campers

A study grounded in research involving the Foundation for Jewish Camp has found a key to increased well-being at camp, something sorely needed for today’s post-pandemic campers, according to a news release. 

The study suggests that increased staff well-being and feelings of support are related to increased youth well-being at camp. The study was published in November of last year in the Journal of Youth Development, in cooperation with both the Foundation for Jewish Camp and The American Camp Association. 

The data from 80 Jewish camps across the U.S. and Canada offers a blueprint for creating positive and successful camp experiences, according to the release. It found that investing in the well-being of staff leads to better outcomes for all.  

Researchers used self-reported measures of well-being through an annual post-camp satisfaction survey distributed to staffers and campers’ parents.“The mental health and well-being of youth and young adults is a persistent concern in our current world,” said Nila Rosen, director, learning and research at the Foundation for Jewish Camp. “Camps are a reflection of this complexity. Our research shows how to ensure that camps are supportive and thriving spaces for staff and campers.”  

This research demonstrates how individual experiences can impact group dynamics and emphasizes the importance of supporting staff and group leaders so they can create environments that foster growth and connection, according to the release. These lessons extend to any organization or community seeking to enhance the well-being of its members.  

Camp is an “important conduit for mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health for youth during the summer,” according to the abstract. “Youth well-being is of central importance, now, perhaps more than ever before.”