Examining the Interrelationship of Motivation and Place Attachment in a Residential 4-H Camping Environment
Genson, Jenna McEwen
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Minimal research has examined the interrelationship between motivation, place attachment, and the need to belong in a residential camping environment. The purpose of this study was to better understand the role of place attachment and the need to belong in facilitating 4-H Camp Graham campers and counselors interest in returning to residential 4-H summer camp year after year. All participants included in this study were at least 18 years of age, graduated from high school, former 4-H members, and attended 4-H camp for at least two consecutive years. Three camping clusters participated in focus group interviews for a total of 21 participants. A fourth camping cluster and participants unable to attend their designated focus group, were invited complete an online survey. Overall, campers and counselors were primarily motivated to return to camp each year due to the relationships, memories, and sense of belonging formed at camp. While nature and location played a role in the camp experience by providing a secluded environment free from outside influence, these attachments were secondary. Attachment to camp grew over time and participants valued the camp experience highly and tended to choose camp friendships and the camp experience over other opportunities. Longevity at camp influenced the strength of attachment. This research suggests that intentionality in these areas of staff training and program planning are critical to camper and counselor connection to camp. Additionally, this research provides tangible evidence that points to the value of sharing the residential camping experience with potential funders and parents.
- Masters Theses