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Research at HoneyRock

Rob Ribbe on the Power of Good Research

Why Research?

As an academic center of Wheaton College, HoneyRock is uniquely positioned to conduct and contribute research to ministry professionals.

Working alongside our seasoned faculty and staff, our established and emerging graduate students are passionate, excited and equipped to contribute to the worldwide Christian camping and outdoor adventure ministry movement.

  • Most camps have a mission statement of some kind that, in theory, guides their practice. However, we can’t just create a program and assume that what we expect to happen will happen. We need to evaluate the program on its effectiveness in furthering the mission to ensure that our programs are actually doing what we want them to do. 
  • Data tells stories. By gathering information from participants, we can piece together stories about what happened, what was important and what the experience meant. We can share this story with others – donors, parents, future participants – and use it to invite more people in the story.  Ultimately, the stories we learn about and the stories we share are all part of God’s bigger story, and data allows us to communicate what’s happening within our small part of the story.
  • Culture is changing more rapidly than ever, and as a result, the needs of our constituents are changing just as rapidly. As needs change, the same program's models or strategies may no longer be useful. Research and evaluation of both our programs and our constituent needs help us maintain relevant and impactful programs amidst the ever-changing landscape.

How Your Camp Can Benefit from HoneyRock's Research

Current Study: The 2019 Power of Camp Summer Staff

We sincerely believe the future of Christian camping hinges on summer staff. No staff means no campers and the staffing crisis is growing. For this reason, we've made the Power of Camp Summer Staff study free, easy, and results-oriented. 

  • It's EASY. Just send your staff a link before camp, immediately after camp, and 8 weeks after camp
  • It's LONGITUDINAL. We will be measuring staff at 3 points this year for a better understanding of lasting impacts. 
  • It gives RESULTS. Each camp will receive a 1-2 page report of their camps results with opportunities to go deeper with the analysis based on camp interest and needs.

A Brief Description:
Participating camps distribute surveys at three points during the summer: pre-training, post-summer, and 8 weeks after summer ends. The surveys will be available electronically and in hard copy. The most important thing for you to know is that this must be a voluntary effort on behalf of your staff - you can not require that they take the survey or give any rewards for taking it.

The study filled within the first week with 75 camps. To join the waitlist, contact Rachael Botting at rachael.botting@wheaton.edu.

If you're interested in running your own evaluation and assessments, we have an online course for you! It's a go at your own pace, homework-free, complete it from your couch kind of course. Rob Ribbe and Rachael Botting teamed up to walk you through the best practices in:

  • Revising your current evaluations to draw out the most value
  • Developing new evaluations to answer your biggest ministry questions
  • Using the results to start powerful conversations for your team

As a graduate student, you can complete a degree in Outdoor and Adventure Leadership while continuing in your full-time job. If you're a member of a CCCA Partner camp, there could be a special partnership for you! Download the CCCA Graduate Student Roadmap