We believe in utilizing data to ensure we are delivering the program quality and life-long impact for which we are known. We utilize several methods to measure our programs’ impact: statistically-validated camper evaluation surveys, qualitative Value Catchers, and parent surveys.
The results of these evaluations are reviewed by the Executive Director and Senior Program Team and play an instrumental role in effecting the logic model and program implementation strategies for the coming year. We believe that it is through on-going program evaluation and improvement that we ensure that our children and teens step into the world more prepared for its challenges.
Trail Blazers works with Algorhythm, who specializes in capturing data to evaluate and improve social impact. Their program evaluation instrument is based on statistically validated constructs of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Positive Youth Development (PYD), and considers the implementation of program strategies proven to help develop competencies that contribute to long term success. Trail Blazers’ program elements proven to foster positive youth outcomes:
Algorhythm’s camper surveys measure the development of six competencies that have been proven to help youth grow in the short-term and be successful in the long-term. The surveys demonstrated that, as a result of their two-week participation in Trail Blazers’ summer program, 80% of our campers step into the world more prepared for its challenges, having demonstrated statistically significant growth in at least one of the following competencies:
At the end of the summer, we ask parents of our camp participants to share with us any growth that they’ve observed in their child, that they can attribute to their experience at Trail Blazers. We ask questions that are in line with the six competencies indicated by Algorhythm, as well as observations about their child’s interest in the environment and interest in being a leader. We’ve pulled out some highlights from our summer 2017 parent surveys below:
“I think this is an important life experience on so many levels and that every kid should have a chance to go to camp and experience those things.”
“Weeks after camp ended, I would still hear my kids sing songs they learned during campfires, and I would hear them talk among themselves of the experiences they had and shared. They really enjoyed it, which surprised me because I was very concerned about them being away from home for so long. They want to go back!”
“My sons are excited every year to go to camp. They come back with more motivation and confidence. We see them full of excitement when they speak about all the things they’ve learned and all the friends they made. The experience has always been more than exceptional and we look forward to continuing with the trailblazer tradition. My oldest is even talking about eventually becoming a counselor himself. We are thrilled!!”
“Just wanted you all to know the amazing time that Kendual had this year with you all! He was so excited about being a Leader in Training! He was just so proud of himself and all of his many accomplishments. We are so proud of Kendual and so glad that you Riel took the time with your staff to visit his grammar school years ago when he was just a little boy full of energy and ready to go and explore. You have really proved to me that facing your fears head on is hard but very much needed so you can excel to the next level. I just want to say thank you so much for giving my son Kendual the opportunity to grow and glow. Thank you!”
In 2011, we sent a survey to alumni who attended camp between the years of 1940 and 1982 to learn what impact the Trail Blazers experience had on their lives in the long-term:
• 64% reported Trail Blazers influenced their ability to work in a team/with others on their job
• 53% reported Trail Blazers influenced their curiosity and interest in learning
• 51% reported Trail Blazers influenced the role of environmental stewardship in their lives
• 62% reported Trail Blazers influenced their ability to relate to and get along with others
• 66% reported Trail Blazers influenced their current relationships with family and friends