Camp Susan Curtis Online: Camper & Counselor Focus Groups September 2013 Jeanette Andonian Dennis Gilbert Jarrid Jones Lenny Shedletsky Funded by: Maine Economic Improvement Fund USM Research Cluster Grant
Camper Groups: Composition • Three camper focus groups (N=28) were held at Camp Susan Curtis 0n August 12, 2013. • Participants were randomly selected from a pool of 59 camper volunteers. • Age homogeneity and gender balance in each groupwere the only criteria for group composition. Group 1: Age 8-9 (N=9) Group 2: Age 10-12 (N=11) Group 3: Age 13-15 (N=8)
Camper Group 1: Demographic InformationN=9 • Age: 8=1; 9=5; 9.5=1; 10=2 • Gender: Female=5; Male=4 • School grade in fall: 3=1; 4=5; 5=1 No answer=1 • County: Oxford=6; York=1; Cumberland=2 • Number of times at CSC: 1 time=6; 2 times=1; No answer=2
Camper Group 1:Computer Use • Computer Access:At home=6; At school=9; Other=5 (grandmother’s house, library) • Frequency of Computer Use: More than once a day=1; Once a day=2; Once every couple of days=2; Once a week=4; Very infrequently (<once/week)=0; Never=0 • Top Three Reasons for Using Internet: Facebook=5; Games=6; School/research=3; Science=2; You Tube=2; Social Networking=1; Finding information=1; Math=1; Messaging=1; Camp=1; Cartoon Network=1 • Comfort using the internet: Extremely=3; Mostly=3 Somewhat=3; A little=0; Not at all=0 • Parent allowance: More than once/day=3; Once/day=2; Once every couple of days=2; Once/week=0; Less than once/week=1; Never=1
Camper Group 2: Demographic InformationN=11 • Age: 10=3; 11=3; 12=3; 13=1; No answer=1 • Gender: Female=5; Male=6 • School grade in fall: 5th=1; 6th=6; 7th=2; 8th=1 No answer=1 • County: Oxford=4; York=2; Androscoggin=1; Penobscot=1; Franklin=1; New Hampshire=1; No answer=1 • Number of times at CSC: 1 time=2; 2 times=2; 3 times=3; 4 times=1; 6 times=1; No answer=2
Camper Group 2: Computer Use • Computer access: Home=9; School=11; Other=10 (Dad’s, grandmother’s • Frequency of Computer use: More than once/day=2; Once/day=2; Every couple of days=6; Once/week=0; Very infrequently=1; Never=0 • Tope three reasons for using the internet: Facebook=2; Gaming=5; School/research=4; E-mail=2; You tube=6; Social networking=3; Finding information=3; Movies=1; Google=1; No answer=1 • Comfort using the internet: Extremely=8; Mostly=1; Somewhat=2; A little=0; Not at all=0 • Parent allowance: More than once/day=4; Once/day=3; Once every couple of days=3; Once/week=1; Very infrequently=0; Never=0
Camper Focus Group 3: Demographic InformationN=8 • Age: 12=1; 13=3; 14=2; 14.5=1; 15=1 • Gender: Male=1; Female=7 • Grade in Fall: 8th grade=4; 9th grade=4 • County of Residence: Oxford=1; York=2; Cumberland=2; Penobscot=1; Franklin=1; Somerset=1 • Number of times at CSC: 1 time=4; 2 times=1; 3 times=1; 4 times=1; 5 times=1
Camper focus Group 3: Computer Use • Computer Access: Home=7; School=8; Other=6 (Friends’, library. Dad’s) • Frequency of computer use: More than once/day=5; Once/day=2; Once every couple of days=1; Once/week=0; Very infrequently=0; Never=0 • Top three reasons for using the internet: Facebook=2; Buying stuff=1; School/research=9; E-mail teacher=1; You Tube=3; Social Networking=3; Finding information=2; Instagram=1; Pictures=1 • Comfort using the internet: Extremely=7; Mostly=0; somewhat=1; A little=0; Not at all=0 • Parent allowance: More than once/day=5; Once/day=1; Once every couple of days=1; Once/week=1; Very infrequently=0; Never=0
Camper Focus Group Questions • What makes CSC special to you? • What do you like most about CSC? Least? • If CSC was a virtual world online, what would you hope to find there? • What would keep you returning to CSCO? • Is there anything you can think of that would get in the way of using CSCO? • Once you leave CSC and go home, and you think about your time at camp,
1. What makes CSC special to you? Broad themes: Meaningful Relationships, Activities, Doing, Learning, Getaway, New Experiences Specifics: Family Atmosphere Supportive relationships Sense of place Sense of home Not like other camps Emotional closeness Fun activities Being active
Camper Question 1 Specifics (Continued) Learning new things Confidence building Non-judgmental Acceptance Being oneself Get away from usual life New experiences Making friends Coming back each year Nature
2. What do you like most about CSC? Least? Most Broad Themes: Support, New activities, Food, Connections to people, Continuity, Structure and choice Specifics: Wide range of activities Learning new skills Upbeat, kind people Like family Food Choice of activities Counselors Judgment free Supportive, friendly environment Meeting new people
Camper Question 2 (Continued) Least Broad themes: Homesick, Some specific activities, Application of rules, Waking early, Cold Specifics: Swimming lessons Noisy rest hour Uncomfortable beds No contact with parents Rules—e.g., dress code, drawing on self, no make up, etc. Getting up early
3. If CSC was a virtual world online, what would you hope to find there? Broad themes and specifics presented by age grouping 8-9 year olds Broad Themes: Camp Activities & Games, Counselors, Photos from camp Specifics: Talk with counselors Learning things (incl. games) Campfire with singing Canoeing Swimming Age-specific games Camping Pictures of counselors Find Yeti
Question 3 (continued) 10-12 year olds Broad Themes: Virtual CSC, Interaction with CSC people Specifics: Avatars Photos of CSC Mystery activity after dinner Social network for CSC Everything like camp Map of camp all year round Songs & Activities Godzeera and other creatures (snakes, frogs, fish) Choice
Question 3 (continued) 13-15 year olds Broad Themes: Pictures & Sounds of Camp, Games/Activities, Contact with campers, Virtual CSC Specifics: Summit questions CSC games & activities (eg., scavenger hunt, etc.) Camper photos Contact with friends/search for friends Campfire & singing Sounds (animal sounds, water, wind, thunderstorms, etc.) and sights of camp Avatars Chat Trout Lake
4. What would keep you returning to CSCO? Broad themes: Seeing Campers & Counselors, News, Information & Updates, Videos from camp, Interactive games, Communicating with friends Specifics: Face time/skype Staying in touch with counselors & friends Virtual campfire News about the camp, campers & counselors Photos CSC Activities & events (eg, fishing, observe special days, Olympics, amazing race, etc.) Interactive synchronous games Recorded campfire stories New legends Awards (eg., dustpan) Password Colorful
5. Is there anything you can think of that would get in the way of using CSCO? Broad Themes: Technical hurdles, No fun, Lack of access, Outside demands Specifics: School schedule Being too busy (eg, with sports and other extracurriculars) Family obligations Not having parent permission No power Inaccessibility at home or school (eg, no computer at home or competition for use) Hackers Problems logging on Not fun Incompatibility with other devices (Iphones?)
6. Once you leave CSC and go home, and you think about your time at camp, what will you remember? Broad themes: Activities, Rituals, Friends, Counselors, Place Specifics: Friends Counselors Learning new things (eg., setting up a tent) Images of the physical camp (the lake, the buildings, paths, hills, etc.) Food Camp activities (swimming, canoeing, kayaking, Yeti hunting, evening games) The fun The animals (Incl. the dogs) Stuff we made (eg., Ood Lecht, friendship bracelets, etc) Campfire & rituals (guitar playing, singing) Playing games People in our cabins Raising the flag Teens will remember the bad things, too (because that’s what teens do)!
Counselor focus groups • Two counselor focus groups (N=19) conducted on August 13, 2013 at CSC. • Counselors volunteered to participate—all 19 were included. • Gender balance was the only criteria for group composition. Group 1: N=8 Group 2: N=11
Counselor Focus Group 1:Demographic InformtaionN=8 • Age range: 17-19 • Gender: Male=8; Female=4 • County: Oxford=4; Cumberland=4 • Attended CSC as Camper? Yes=3; No=5 • How many times a CSC counselor? 1 time=4; 2 times=2; 3 times=1; 8 times=1
Counselor Focus Group 1:Computer use • Computer access: Home=7; School=6; Other=6 • Frequency of computer use: More than once/day=5; Once/day=2; Every couple of days=1; Once/week=0; Very infrequently=0; Never=0 • Tops (three) reasons for using the internet: School work=4; Research=2; You tube=3; Social networking=4; Finding information=1; Music=2; Movies=1; Email=1; Work=3; Pinterest=1; Catching up with friends & family=1 • Comfort with the internet: Extremely=2; Mostly=4; Somewhat=2; A little=0; Not at all=0 • Parental allowance: More than once/day=3; Once/day=0; Once every couple of days=1; Once/week=0; Very infrequently=0; Never=0; Not applicable=4
Counselor focus group 2:Demographic informationN=11 • Age range: 17-24 • Gender: Male=6; Female=5 • County: Oxford=3; Lincoln=1; Kennebec=1; Cumberland=4; York=1; Not from Maine=1 • Attended CSC as camper? Yes=3; No=8 • How many times a CSC Counselor? 1 times=7; 2 times=3; 10 times=1
Counselor focus group 2: Computer use • Computer Access: Home=10; School=11; Other=9 • Frequency of computer use: More than once/day=8; Once/day=3; Once every couple of days=0; Once/week=0; Very infrequently=0; Never=0 • Top three reasons for using the internet: Facebook=4; Games=2; Research=2; School work=6; You tube=4; Social networking=7; Finding information=1; Work=1; Netflix=1; E-mail=4; Music=1; News=1; TV=1 • Comfort using the internet: Extremely=7; Mostly=3; Somewhat=0; A little=1; Not at all=0 • Parent allowance=More than once/day=3; Once/day=2; Once every couple of days=0; Once/week=0; Very infrequently=0; Never=0; Not applicable=6
Counselor Focus Group Questions • What do you think makes CSC special? • What makes CSC meaningful to campers? • Do you believe that campers want to stay connected with each other and their counselors after camp is over? Please explain why or why not. • If CSC was a virtual world online, what would you hope to find there? • What do you think would keep campers coming back to CSCO? • What concerns would you have about an online CSC environment? • If you could offer one piece of advice to people creating CSCO, what would it be?
1. What do you think makes CSC special? Broad Themes: Support, Non-judgmental, Meaningful bonds, Character & confidence building, Sense of home Specifics: Unique experience for Maine kids facing challenges Unique mission & counselors Developing close relationships & lasting bonds (hi 5 to handshake to hugs) Not money driven—kid driven Being oneself Acceptance Family atmosphere—sense of security, routines, etc. Learning & activities Beyond camp Strong sense of place Building leaders Kids grateful Facing & mastering important life skills Teamwork Continuity of connection through LIT/CIT programs
2. What makes CSC meaningful to campers? Broad themes: Personal attention, Nurturing environment, Sense of home, People who care, Invested counselors Specifics: Personal attention Bonds with counselors Counselors former campers Making friends Family, home-like atmosphere Able to make mistakes Getting all needs met (social, emotional, material, etc.) Support & nurturance Positive role models Builds leaders Caring, invested people Safety blanket
3. Do you believe that campers want to stay connected with each other and their counselors after camp is over? Please explain why or why not. Broad Themes: Meeting people & making friends, Trust building activities, Expressed desire for contact Specifics: Time set aside to exchange contact information Kids ask for counselor addresses Returning campers eager to reconnect Friend requests on Facebook (cannot accept) Letters received from campers Trusting, lasting bonds Sustained relationships outside of camp
4. If CSC was a virtual world online, what would you hope to find there? Broad Themes: Replicate CSC virtually Specifics: Games, Rituals & Activities Daily summit question Password Mafia Scavenger hunt Wish boat races Small group/cabin games Olympics Forum Video chat Campfire Songs Reading to kids
Question 4 specifics (Continued) Virtual world (like mindcraft) “How are you” check ins Recordings of CSC songs Videos of CSC activities/events—dance, plays, etc. Chants Banners Avatars Catching frogs News updates Daily themes Birthday celebrations—staff birthday greeting Earn points/coins for participating in activities Create own groups Icons & Legends Yeti Godzeera Mascots
5. What do you think would keep campers coming back to CSCO? Broad themes: Change & Consistency, Communicating with others, CSC activities, Regular updates, Safeguards Specifics: Enough change to be dynamic User friendly Actively engaging—have something happening all the time Pick up where you left off Real time chat Emotional safety
Question 5 specifics (continued) Mechanism to reach out and connect Easy access and navigation Regular updating Limit use time Password Summit Chance to talk with counselors Active participation of counselors—will draw campers in Year round yeti watch
6. What concerns would you have about an online CSC environment? Broad themes: Safety, Accessibility& Usage issues Specifics: Safety Concerns Bullying Inappropriate relationships Communications too personal Close moderation (especially instant messages) Safety of private chatting Others using camper’s account Invite kids via parent e-mail Accessibility & Usage No internet or computer access Assistance with access Track kids on site too long—prompt to get off Homework help
7. If you could offer one piece of advice to people creating CSCO, what would it be? Broad themes: Positive & Safe, Capture CSC, Consult with CSC Counselors Specifics: Be a kid—be open Learn about CSC comprehensively—physical space, activities, CSC spirit/culture Represent CSC accurately Make daytime/nighttime Pleasant music, sun shiny User friendly—sensitive to age range Make it a fun, positive & safe environment Inclusive of all Work with counselors
Recommendations Based on the collective findings from the counselor and camper focus groups, the following recommendations are made: • Capture the essence of CSC in a virtual world: Make it supportive, non-judgmental, interactive, encouraging, accepting, inclusive & personal. These are the empowering, resilience-building elements of CSC. Campers and counselors both talked about the appeal of creating avatars in a CSC virtual world. • Include counselors and campers in CSCO development: Campers and counselors will have many insights into what will work, what won’t and why. Their expertise should be used in the process of development. • Learn about the details of the games & activities at CSC and transpose them into CSCO: Campers expressed a strong desire to do the things on CSCO that they did at camp.
Recommendations (Continued) • Include visual images (videos and photos) and sounds of camp during all seasons: This came up in both camper and counselor groups. Seeing the camp—the grounds, the lake, the buildings, etc.-- will bring them closer to it when they are away. • Work on making it safe and secure: This was highlighted by the counselors in particular but it also came up in camper groups. CSCO will need careful monitoring and clear policies to train those monitoring to recognize and respond to a range of safety concerns. • Make CSCO educational and fun: Campers talked a lot about valuing learning new things at CSC—counselors also emphasized this. Educational activity and fun are not mutually exclusive. • Address accessibility issues: Concerns were raised about lack of or limited access to the internet—uneven across campers, especially young campers.
Recommendations (Continued) • Incorporate the specific rituals, legends and structures of the camp experience: Flag raising, summit, password, campfire/singing, daytime/night time, Yeti, Godzeera, etc (see more specifics in data analysis sections). These capture the camp experience and will make it unique and familiar. • Create mechanism for campers and counselors to reach out to one another: Some kind of alert system to let people know contact is desired. • Ensure that counselors go on CSCO regularly and interact: Counselors felt that if they have a presence on CSCO, campers will come.