1st Student's Major

Social Work

1st Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Students' Professional Biography

Amanda Penning has just recently graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with her Bachelors of Science in Social Work. During her undergraduate education she held strong interests in child poverty and female youth empowerment. In her sophomore year, Ms. Penning spent a semester studying abroad in Helsinki, Finland. During that semester she carried out an independent research project that consisted of a comparative analysis of child poverty in the United States and Finland. Ms. Penning has also spent the past five summers working as a camp counselor and program director for an all-girls resident camp in northern Wisconsin. As the program director she provided support and leadership to counseling staff and youth attending. Ms. Penning has been accepted to the University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Social Work and plans on enrolling in the fall of 2008 to complete her Masters of Social Work degree.

Mentor's Name

Annelies Hagemeister

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department

Social Work

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences


An increase in interest from youth and family practitioners, policy makers and researchers has given positive youth development the spotlight within this past decade. The focus for many of these individuals has been to develop a wide range of approaches to prevent youth problems and promote healthy youth development. Studies have shown success in prevention programs for youth that are focused on increasing community involvement and include four major components; safety, skill building, supportive relationships and meaningful involvement. Meaningful involvement has been identified as the most difficult component to achieve in programs for youth, specifically in resident and day camps. This paper addresses a program developed to increase meaningful involvement of campers in the camp programming at a resident all-girls camp in northern Wisconsin. The program also sought to observe leadership qualities, decision-making and feelings of belonging in the youth involved with the program. Camper and staff surveys were collected at the end of the camp sessions to provide feedback and explore how the camper council worked as a tool to empower youth through meaningful involvement. The anonymous surveys consisted of a Likert-Type Scale and a series of open-ended and semi close-ended questions and examined the youth’s sense of empowerment and their satisfaction of involvement in the camp programming.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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