Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Core competencies; Employees--Training; Camp Adventure Youth Services--Employees--Training; Academic theses;


The purpose of this study was to investigate the growth trajectory of college and/or university students in core competencies from entry to exit in the Camp Adventure™ Youth Services (CAYS) experience using the lens offered by Bok's framework. Specifically, students' growth patterns in core competencies were charted at three phases, namely, (1) baseline of their core competencies at entry level; (2) after receiving knowledge and practical training on the theory and implementation of CAYS' course but before its field experience; and (3) immediately after the CAYS' field experience. The core competencies included in the study were, according to Bok's framework, communication, critical thinking, character development, citizenship, diversity, global understanding, widening of interests, and career and vocational development. Three web-based and self-administered questionnaires on the core competencies were used for data collection.

Eighty-two college and/or university students, who were the first time involved in the CAYS' program at University of Northern Iowa, were invited in this study. Pairwise t-test was applied to test the mean differences of core competencies between phase I and 2, phase 2 and 3, and phase I and 3. The pairwise t-tests showed that there were significant improvements (p < .05) in participants' communication, critical thinking, character development, diversity, global understanding, widening of interests, and career and vocational development, except for citizenship, after the three months of the CAYS' staff development course. The pairwise t-tests also showed that there were no significant (p > .05) changes in participants' eight core competencies between the end of CAYS' staff development course and after the summer field experiences. The long-term changes in all eight core competencies from phase 1 to 3 were statistically significant (p < .05) by using repeated measures ANOVA.

In conclusion, CAYS helps the college and/or university participants to develop core competencies as found in Bok's framework of undergraduate education. It is obvious that the findings show the eight core competencies can be taught and developed through a well designed training program and meaningful practical experiences. Based on the results of this study, the investigator of this study suggests some recommendations for improvements of the training and implementation of CAYS and future studies.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Christopher Edginton

Second Advisor

Samuel Lankford

Third Advisor

Christopher Kowalski


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Date Original


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1 PDF file (126 leaves)



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