Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management


McGuire, Francis

Committee Member

Anderson , Denise M

Committee Member

Bialeschki , Deborah

Committee Member

Powell , Gwynn

Committee Member

Riccomini , Paul


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the transition processes camps undergo when including campers with disabilities into the organized camp from the perspective of key individuals who championed inclusion. Despite research that supports inclusion and knowledge of best inclusive practices, few camps have implemented the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in a purposeful way. Understanding the components that facilitate a camp's adoption of inclusion and the roles people play to facilitate the inclusion process can provide camp professionals guidelines to ensure all campers have a positive inclusive camp experience. In this phenomenological study, in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 participants from eight organized camps.
The first manuscript examines the components that facilitated the transition process of camps becoming inclusive as derived from the experiences of the key individuals involved in this process. Findings from this study indicate four components that facilitated the transition process: advocacy, capacity for iterative development, `keyed in' staff, and recognition of limitations. These components were integral elements in the camps' shift toward adopting and implementing an inclusive camp program.
The second manuscript examines the roles 'champions' played in facilitating the adoption of inclusion at camp. Champions serve as catalyst in an organization's willingness to adopt a new idea or innovation such as inclusion. Findings indicate that champions served the following roles: Champions as Negotiators, Champions as Visionaries, and Champions as Architects. Thus by understanding the various roles of champions, camp professionals may gain greater insight into how to become champions of inclusion themselves.



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