Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2016

Publication Title

The Cyber Journal of Applied Leisure and Recreation Research






North Carolina Central University


Although out-of-school time experiences such as camp contribute to youth development, youth in-volvement in these developmental experiences is largely dependent on parents who determine which activities are appropriate for their children. A contributing factor to parents’ decisions to send their child to camp is the amount of risk and non-clinical anxiety that parents associate with the camp experience, yet little attention has been paid to these issues, particularly from the perspective of camp program providers. It is unclear to what extent parent anxiety is an operational and pro-grammatic concern for camp program providers. Informed by risk perception and parent involve-ment theories, this study explores (1) causes of parent anxiety from the perspective of camp pro-gram providers; (2) operational and programmatic consequences associated with the management of parent anxiety; and (3) camp program practices used to reduce parent anxiety. Data were collect-ed from a sample of 248 camp program providers who completed an online survey that included open-ended questions related to perceptions and observations of parent anxiety, as well as strate-gies used to manage parents. Content analysis was used to code the data and to construct themes. Constructed themes suggested that parent anxiety is associated with parent-child separation, limited parent camp experience, lack of parent trust, the expression of overparenting behaviors, fear of lack of safety, and insufficient preparation. Constructed themes associated with operational or program-matic changes indicated that camp program providers use a range of strategies to reduce parent anxiety, broadly summarized as communication, staffing, access, and education. Implications for practice and future directions are explored.


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