Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type


Program or Major

Human Development and Family Studies

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Erin Hiley Sharp

Second Advisor

Jayson Seaman

Third Advisor

Larry Barker


Little attention has been given to how different leisure activities affect adolescents. The purpose of this study therefore was to investigate how one specific leisure activity, recreational fishing, can provide potential benefits to adolescents. Youth attending a one week fishing camp at the 4-H Barry Conservation Camp in July of 2014 were surveyed on multiple dimensions of well-being. Results indicate significant improvements in resilience, optimism, and self-esteem following the fishing camp experience. Youth reported that while fishing they engaged in a number of skillful activities (patience, self-discipline, etc.), many of which are beneficial to the positive development of youth. The findings suggest that recreational fishing may be beneficial to youth as they form identities and learn key life skills.