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Each year, summer camps serve more than 11 million youth in the United States (US) (Wilson, Sibthorp, & Brusseau, 2017). Summer camps provide children with new experiences and give them opportunities to build confidence, social skills, and peer relationships (Wilson et al., 2017). Occupational therapy (OT) is an emerging area of practice throughout summer camps in the US (Hanscom & Schoen, 2014). Hanscom and Schoen (2014) recommend strategically combining OT with traditional camp programming to create an emotionally, physically, and spiritually safe environment that promotes optimal attending and task follow through. Summer camp has been shown to enhance positive youth development, as it meets motivational needs and promotes intrinsic engagement (Halsall, Kendellen, Bean, & Forneris, 2016). However, not all youth have an equal opportunity to partake in the experience (Shefter, Uhrman, Tobin, & Kress, 2017). McCarthy (2015) states that two percent of American Camp Association camps exclusively serve youth with special medical needs. Further, only seven percent are inclusive (Hall, Dunlap, Causton-Theoharis, & Theohari, 2019). The purpose of this capstone project is to explore the populations served within a residential youth camp, identify barriers to participation, and recommend adaptations to the environment to promote a more inclusive setting.

Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2020

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Camps, Adolescent, Motivation, Spirituality


Occupational Therapy | Recreational Therapy


Poster presented at the Spring 2020 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, April 23, 2020.


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Occupational Therapy’s Role in Adapting Residential Youth Camps for Increased Inclusion