Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Recreation Management and Policy

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Jayson Seaman

Second Advisor

Robert Barcelona

Third Advisor

Cindy Hartman


In 2020, COVID-19 shuttered 82% of summer camps in the United States leading to a loss of 16 billion dollars in revenue, 900,000 jobs within the camping industry, and left 19.5 million youth without a camp experience (ACA Research Team, 2021; Fernandez, 2020; Wycoff, 2021). Financial constraints, stakeholder interest, and increased knowledge of COVID-19 mitigation strategies led to 71% of residential and 56% of day camps re-opening nationally in 2021 (ACA Research Team, 2022). To open, camps had to employ a variety of innovations to mitigate risks and support amended programming and operations. This cross-sectional survey study, in partnership with ACA New England, quantifies relationships between innovation type and camp directors’ perceptions of innovation (N = 74). Specifically, this study was interested in what characteristics lead to successful and lasting adoption of innovation within camping organizations. This study found that innovation adoption during the pandemic was often focused on decreasing social contacts amongst participants and creating barriers to the entry or spread of COVID-19 within the camp community. The study found no significant differences between camp type and innovation type employed. However, statistical analysis illuminated negative relationships between challenge and buy-in, as well as between challenge and longevity. Conversely, positive relationships were found between advantage and longevity. These findings provide insight for camp directors on how to best identify, implement, and communicate future organizational innovations.