serious results!

here's what we mean by "life-changing" experiences

SeriousFun camps really are life-changing. (Our brainy friends at Yale say so!) The results of our latest Outcomes Evaluation confirm what all the smiles, laughs and stories have been telling us for years -- all that SeriousFun makes a difference!

We often say camp is life-changing; parents tell us that, volunteers and medical staff tell us the same. Most importantly, our campers beam with pride as they tell us about how much camp impacts them.

What exactly is this “SeriousFun” doing for the kids?

Over the past several years, SeriousFun Children’s Network has worked with the Yale University Child Study Center to research this question. Parents of campers were surveyed before camp on a wide range of questions relating to their children’s attitudes and behaviors. Parents were again surveyed one month following camp about those same attitudes and behaviors to see what may have changed.

SeriousFun campers demonstrated significant positive changes, including increased confidence, self-esteem and social skills, one month after camp.

2014-2015 Outcomes Evaluations, Yale University Child Study Center

The results from our 2014-2015 effort are in and confirm what our previous studies have shown: camp does SERIOUS good for campers!

  • 79% of parents reported noticing an increase in their child’s confidence;
  • 77% reported an increase in self-esteem;
  • 75% reported an increase in maturity;
  • 74% reported an increase in independence;
  • 76% reported an increased interest in social activities;
  • 80% reported an openness to try new things.


Parents were asked to rate variables of social support related to resilience. A key variable that improved one month after camp was Relationship Skills. Improvement with these skills contributed to increases in many positive correlated outcomes including:

  • Attitude toward medical professionals
  • Attitude toward taking medication
  • Adaptability
  • Pro-social and passive coping strategies

From the data collected, the study was able to conclude that SeriousFun campers demonstrated significant positive changes, including increased confidence, self-esteem, social skills, and improved relationship skills, one month after camp. These improved skills were related to boosts in other outcomes, such as attitude towards taking medication, ability to adapt, and comfort making friends.

The evaluation shows that the combination of dynamics at SeriousFun camps – including friendships made a, supportive social network, and improved relationship skills – all support campers’ capacity for resilience. Multiple evaluations over a period of years provide confirmation that SeriousFun camps provide significant psychological and social benefits, which help children develop resilience in coping with their illness.

SeriousFun camps provide significant psychological and social benefits for campers, helping them develop resilience in coping with their illness.

2014-2015 Outcomes Evaluations, Yale University Child Study Center


The 2014-2015 findings replicate the results from the previous years’ surveys, which included nearly all of the SeriousFun camps, but with a smaller response rate. Although only five camps were included in this study, all SeriousFun camps share a common mission and adhere to a common set of program and medical operating criteria. Previous years' findings and this year's high response rate support that these trends are widespread throughout the SeriousFun Children's Network.

Participating Camps

  • Flying Horse Farms (Ohio)
  • The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (Connecticut)
  • The Painted Turtle (California)
  • Bátor Tábor (Hungary)
  • Dynamo Camp (Italy)

About Yale Child Study Center The Child Study Center is a department at Yale University School of Medicine which brings together multiple disciplines to further the understanding of the problems of children and families. Among the many disciplines are child psychiatry, pediatrics, genetics, neurobiology, epidemiology, psychology, nursing, social work and social policy. The mission of the Center is to understand child development, social, behavioral, and emotional adjustment, and psychiatric disorders and to help children and families in need of care.


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