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A Thesis Presented to the School of Education University of Southern California

In partial fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts In Education


J. Shailer Arnold
May 19, 1928

J. Shailer Arnold, a Master of Arts In Education student at the School of Education at the University of Southern California, conducted a national study involving summer camps and their directors in 1928. In the thesis, The Educational Possibilities of the Summer Camp Program, Arnold explores “the assumption that the summer camp makes a worthy contribution to education and that it has a strategic opportunity when properly conducted, for contributing to the physical, moral, mental and social development of boys.” 


“The rabbit development of the summer camp has created a demand for camp directors and councilors prepared by education and training for the direction of camp work. This study has been undertaken to determine the educational possibilities of the summer camp as far as possible. Also it is the purpose of this study to set forth the activities included in the summer camp program; to determine the amount of time given to each activity, as well as determine the activities that seem to produce the most desirable results. … It is hoped that this study may be a guide to the inexperienced camp leaders that they may know the aims, objectives, methods and practices of the older and more established summer camps scattered over the entire United States.” 

‘This study is limited to the private summer camps for boys corresponding as nearly as possible to ages found in the secondary schools of the country. It is limited to private camps since they are not under any central organization that determines their aims, purposes, and policies as practiced in the camp work of the Young Men’s Christian Association, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scout of America, Camp Fire Girls, and the Young Women’s Christian Association.

Thirty-five questions were then formulated, which covered many phases of the summer camp program making and administration. These questions were so constructed that they might be answered in the shortest possible time and yet secure all the desired information.

A personal letter was sent to each camp director with a stamped envelope for the return of the completed questionnaire. About two hundred questionnaires were mailed to camp directors in February 1928. Nearly one hundred and forty replies were received, some of which were so incomplete as to be useless. A few were from camps not included in the study. The final count of those to be used was one hundred and twenty. The camp directors in general, appeared to be interested in the study and the men of more experience supplemented the questionnaire with letters and in many instances sent their catalogs and other printed matter.”

The results of the survey specifically related to Arts and Crafts:

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