Even one week participating in a SeriousFun camp or program can change the life and future of a child living with a serious medical condition. Every one of us who is a part of the SeriousFun family knows that.
What we did not have, until now, was the data to substantiate all the incredible benefits the SeriousFun camp experience can have for campers in the long run.
In 2021, a first-of-its-kind study, led by Dr. Ann Gillard, SerIousFun Director of Research, in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research, examined the influence and lasting impact of residential camp participation for alumni campers of SeriousFun camps around the world. The study surveyed more than 2,200 SeriousFun alumni, ages 17-30, from all 16 Member Camps in eight countries. Alumni shared invaluable insights on the personal, social, and health-related quality of life outcomes they attribute to their time at a SeriousFun camp.
- More than 80% of alumni reported that their SeriousFun camp experience played a role in the development of lasting traits and qualities which they use in their everyday adolescent and adult lives. These include: willingness to try new things, appreciation or diversity, self-Identity, empathy and compassion. self-confidence. perseverance. and friendship skills.
- More than 2/3 of campers believed camp influenced their health, including their health-related quality of life, medical self-advocacy, and medical-related self-care.
- The specific camp elements that were most important to their SeriousFun experience were feeling accepted and not judged, feeling a sense of freedom, feeling a sense of possibility, and trying new things.
These, along with the rest of the findings, are evidence for the need for camps and programs that serve children with serious illnesses. As a global network united in our mission, we are overjoyed that these findings definitively convey the transformative power of SeriousFun camps and programs around the world.
It is profoundly heartening to consider that, ever since the first SeriousFun camp opened in 1988, camps and programs have had lasting and positive impacts on the children and families that participate in them. Every bit of support generously given by donors and volunteers translates to real, lasting change.
We are grateful to share this knowledge as we work to keep providing even more opportunities to make camp truly life-changing for as many children as we can.
For questions or more information about the study, please contact Dr. Ann Gillard, SerIousFun Director of Research.