ERIC Number: ED352229
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992
Reference Count: N/A
Optimal Experience among Campers in a Resident Camp Setting.
Bialeschki, M. Deborah; Henderson, Karla A.
The purpose of this study was to assess optimal experience, also known as "flow" and "quality of experience" in a private, coeducational resident camp program for children. Flow refers to those times in work and leisure when people report feelings of enjoyment, concentration, and deep involvement. Flow theory predicts that an experience will be most positive when a person perceives that the environment contains high enough opportunities for action (challenges) which are matched with the person's capacities. Campers were asked to complete an Experience Sampling Form (ESF) to indicate their involvement, attitudes, and feelings during randomly selected times during two camp sessions in 1991. A total of 910 experiences were sampled from 47 male and female campers aged 11-12. Results of the study indicate that 16% of camper's time was spent in flow (high challenge, high skills) as compared with 29% in anxiety (high challenge, low skills), 43% in boredom (low challenge, high skills), and 13% in apathy (low challenge, low skills). Experiences that were more likely to provide an opportunity for flow were completing activities such as service projects, outdoor recreation pursuits, active games, and creative opportunities. This study suggests that, using the flow theory, camp activities should have a focus on the relationship between various challenge and skill levels. (LP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Coalition for Education in the Outdoors, Cortland, NY.