Cocurricular Service-Learning Through a Camp for Athletes With Visual Impairments

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • 2 Old Dominion University
  • 3 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Service-learning (SL) has become popular as part of the formal curriculum and as cocurricular experiences for college students. Some SL programs serve individuals with disabilities, but their influence on college volunteers is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences and perspectives of preprofessional college students who volunteered at a cocurricular, SL-based sports camp for youth with visual impairments. Participants included nine (five males and four females) preservice professionals who taught youth with visual impairments during the week-long sports camp. Data were collected using semistructured and conversational interviews, reflective journaling, and participatory observations. Four themes were constructed: (a) camp experience elicited a strong emotional response, (b) fostering professional growth and development, (c) doing too much and expecting too little, and (d) developing close bonds with the athletes. This study highlights the benefits of developing cocurricular SL programs for college students across a variety of fields.

Wilson is with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA, USA. Haegele and Holland are with the Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA. Richards is with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.

Wilson (wesley.wilson@louisiana.edu) is corresponding author.
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