Camp Program Quality Assessment

In 2009, the American Camping Association (ACA) contracted with the Weikart Center to develop the Camp Program Quality Assessment (Camp PQA). Like the Youth PQA, the Camp PQA is designed to support a robust assessment process that can be used under a range of conditions and for a range of purposes:

  • The Camp PQA can be used in a wide variety of day and residential camp settings serving children 10 years old or older.
  • The Camp PQA is flexible enough to have valid application as (1) a self-assessment by internal staff teams, (2) a monitoring and feedback tool for supervisory staff, and (3) a quality metric for external evaluation and research
  • The Camp PQA can be purchased and used by untrained staff (although training is recommended for first time users)
  • The Camp PQA and supporting services are available at low cost.

The Camp PQA consists of 3 forms. Cick on the name of each form to view sample items:

  • FORM A: Program offerings. This observational form is designed for programs that youth attend for a set time with a set purpose. These may be referred to as programs, clubs, workshops, classes, etc. An example: arts & crafts 10:30 to noon on Tuesday. Data collectors will observe and score 3-5 program offerings (45-90 minutes each) in an assessment visit.
  • FORM A2: Informal climate. This observational form is designed to capture youth experiences in non-program offering times. Examples include meal times, transition times, room group time. Data collectors will score 3-5 informal time observations (10 minutes each) in an assessment visit.
  • FORM B: Camp structure and administration. This form is intended to capture how camp structure and administration support program quality. Data collectors interview the camp director (30-60 minutes) or other appropriate person. 

The Camp PQA was piloted in 2009 in 20 camps, a total of 55 unique offerings. To read about the findings, download the report. 

The Camp PQA Short Form was developed by the American Camp Association and is free for use by Camps. Download the Camp PQA Short Form


Camp PQA Report 1.01.pdf327.46 KB