Every one of us is keenly aware of the good impact of outdoor ministry. And now we are getting better at having the benefit of legitimate and academically sound research to affirm what we all know in our hearts to be true. The data from the research project recently completed by Jake Sorenson,PhD, suggest that the positive impacts of summer camp result from a dynamic interplay of five characteristics that can be considered fundamental to the model of the three camps that were the subjects for his project. This summer camp model may look and feel very different from camp to camp, from week to week at the same camp, and even from person to person within a single camp group. This reveals that the camp model is highly adaptive and contextual. These five characteristics are:

Camp is relational.

• Camp is participatory.

• Camp is different from home.

• Camp is a safe space.

• Camp is faith-centered.  

This is fascinating and important stuff for all of us. Jake Sorenson was one of the featured presenters at our LOM Annual Conference at Carol Joy Holling Camp in Nebraska in 2016.  Here are some resources from his presentation.  You can also visit

Jake did a study of six Lutheran camps in Wisconsin, examining the impact of the one-week summer camp experience on the lives of the primary participants and their supporting networks.  To learn more, visit