Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Environmental Studies

Thesis Type

Honors College, Environmental Studies Electronic Thesis

First Advisor

Brendan Fisher

Second Advisor

Patricia O'Kane

Third Advisor

Rachelle Gould


summer camp, vulnerable populations, children, HIV/AIDS, relationship development, autonomy, outdoor time


Unfortunately, today HIV/AIDS is still influencing the lives of many children in the United States who are either infected or affected by this virus. Many of the children who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS also disproportionately face other social determinants of health that influence their overall development and wellbeing such as lower socioeconomic status and lack of availability to resources including sufficient food and shelter, education, and quality health care services. Having to deal with HIV/AIDS and the related social determinants of health can take a huge toll on children, and often means that they are unable to enjoy their childhood to the fullest. Fortunately, there are numerous summer camps throughout the United States that have taken these children into consideration and have worked to create camps that are focused on both the medical and psychosocial care of these children so that they can enjoy just being kids. Based on the existing camp models the literature has synthesized the aspects of a camp experience that are most important in allowing children who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS to achieve a meaningful experience from camp. The purpose of the research that was conducted in fulfillment of this senior thesis was to compare what the literature states vulnerable populations of children need in order to have a meaningful experience from summer camp versus what the counselors at one specific summer camp, Camp Totokett in Branford, CT, believed campers needed in order to have a meaningful experience. An anonymous online survey of the counselors, as well as counselor testimonials provided by Camp Totokett, were utilized to gain a clear sense of the counselor perspectives which were then compared to the literature that was reviewed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.