An assessment of the effects of two residential camp settings on environmental attitude development

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of two residential camp settings on the development of environmental attitudes by 4-H members (CA = 11-15 years). Subjects attending a 4-H Conservation Camp were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment conditions, the outpost camp setting (n=30), or the central camp setting (n=30). A control group (n=30) was comprised of individuals who had applied to attend camp but withdrew their application. Both treatment conditions received the same environmental education program delivered by the same instructors. Subjects in the outpost camp condition were assigned to one of three 10-person "families" where they slept in two-man tents, cooked all their meals over a wood fire, and, as a group, planned the recreational activities for afternoon and evening programs. Emphasis was placed on group decision making. Subjects in the central camp were assigned to cabin groups where the individual chose his/her spare-time activities, ate in a central dining hall, and slept in wooden, 10-person cabins.

The Millward-Ginter Outdoor Attitude Inventory was the instrument utilized to pre and posttest all subjects on overall outdoor attitude, and specific attitudes toward environment, socialization, education, and pollution.

Data were analyzed by employing the Kruskal-Wallis One Way Analysis of Variance By Ranks Test, the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test, and a post hoc paired comparison's test. Results of the analyses indicated that the posttest overall outdoor, environment, education, and pollution attitude scores for campers in the outpost camp setting were significantly more positive from those in the control group or the central camp setting. Socialization attitude scores were significantly different between the central camp setting and the outpost camp but were not significantly different from the control group. It was concluded that the outpost camp setting was effective in the development of positive overall outdoor, environment, education, and pollution attitudes. Outpost camp setting's effect on socialization attitudes was inconclusive.