Date of Award

Spring 2008

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science


The field of positive youth development encompasses a broad spectrum of youth programs and organizations. Outdoor and adventure education programs are well-positioned to be a part of the movement toward a positive developmental approach to youth programming. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an adventure-travel summer camp program (Longacre Expeditions) had positive effects on the life effectiveness of adolescent participants. The study measured attributes of Life Effectiveness of participants using the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire Version-H (LEQ-H). The instrument was administered at the commencement, conclusion, and six months following the program. Composite LEQ data and subscale data were analyzed using one-way repeated measures ANOVA with follow-up pairwise comparisons. Independent-samples t-tests were used to examine for differences related to demographic variables. The analysis showed significant improvement in participants' LEQ scores between the start and end of the program; however, increases in scores were not maintained at a significant level six months after the program. Significant increases in participants' scores were found in the two subscales of social competence and emotional control between the start and end of the program. Social Competence is defined as a person's degree of personal confidence and self-perceived ability in social interactions; Emotional Control is defined as the extent to which an individual perceives he or she maintains emotional controls when he or she is faced with potentially stressful situations (Neill, Marsh, & Richards, 2003). For mean composite LEO scores, social competence subscale, and emotional control subscales effect sizes were small. Neither age nor gender was found to have made a difference in composite LEQ scores. Significant differences were found between short and long programs from the start of the program to six months afterward. These specific findings provide some additional evidence of this program's ability to affect the life effectiveness of its participants immediately following the program. The findings also suggest that longer programs (18+ days) have greater potential to affect lasting change. Generalizations based on these results should take into account the strength of the effect sizes as well as the diminishing effects over time.