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Cross-Age Mentoring Program (CAMP) for Children With Adolescent Mentors

The Cross-Age Mentoring Program (CAMP) for Children With Adolescent Mentors links high school students typically in grades 9-11 with younger students in grades 4-8 in a mentor-mentee relationship, with the goal of benefiting both mentors and mentees. The relationship is intended to enhance connectedness to school, peers, family, and community for both the mentors and mentees, as well as to improve academic achievement for the younger students and increase civic mindedness, self-efficacy, confidence, and self-esteem for the older students. Additional aims for mentees are increasing their ability to effectively manage peer pressure and preventing or reducing violent and delinquent behavior. Guided by the constructs of connectedness and perspective taking, the program serves to foster social, emotional, and cognitive development. The emotional development of mentees is promoted by serving two important developmental needs: the need for empathy, praise, and attention and the need for a consistent, competent role model.

At the beginning of the school year, mentors and mentees are recruited and agree to participate in the program, mentors participate in training, and a meet-and-greet process is used through which mentors and mentees are paired. During the meet and greet, small group activities are conducted so all mentors and mentees can meet each other. Afterward, mentees list the names of three mentors with whom they enjoyed talking, and mentors do the same with mentees. After consideration of the needs of youth and skills of mentors, an attempt is made to match each mentee with one of the three people he or she identified.

During the school year, meetings are typically held once weekly for 2 hours and for a full day on 3 or 4 Saturdays. Additional meetings may be held for 10 full days in the summer. A "termination ritual" is conducted at the end of the mentoring period (at the end of the school year) to allow students to review their positive and negative relationship experiences from the prior year and say goodbye to each other. All CAMP meetings follow the same basic sequence: A group icebreaker opens the meeting; a one-on-one meeting is held for each mentor-mentee pair to reconnect and then complete a curriculum activity, sometimes with the larger group; a snack is served; and the group participates in a game or recreational activity (e.g., doing artwork, playing basketball). Curriculum activities, the focus of the meetings, engage the pair in fun and challenging tasks that encourage thinking and problem solving. The curriculum is divided into themes that promote connectedness across different ecological "worlds": connectedness to self, others (such as family, school, peers, and friends), and society. Saturday meetings additionally provide an opportunity for parents to spend time with their children's mentors, see the work their children have done, and participate in activities. Summer meetings are similarly structured but allow more time for mentors and mentees to further strengthen their relationships.

CAMP coordinators launch, manage, and provide oversight of the program and are responsible for evaluating the school community's mentoring needs and resources, supervising and supporting mentors, and managing conflicts between mentors and mentees.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: August 2013
1: Connectedness
2: Self-esteem
3: Achievement in spelling
Outcome Categories Education
Family/relationships
Social functioning
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Other community settings
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History The intervention has been implemented in at least seven sites in Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin since 1995, serving more than 550 youth. These implementations included both developer-led and independent replications.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations The intervention has been modified for use with mentees in middle school to prevent delinquency in one program and reduce obesity in another. In addition, a mentoring program based on CAMP's definitions, framework, and core constructs was developed and implemented in Australia.
Adverse Effects Karcher and Lindwall (2003; see Documents Reviewed under Quality of Research) reported an adverse effect related to the way in which the program was initially structured. Specifically, no screening tools were used to select mentors from among the students recommended by an adult to participate, and meetings were held twice a week for 2 hours. Small declines were seen in mentors' self-reported connectedness to school, and feedback from a parent suggested that the frequency of meetings led to mentor burnout. As a result, changes to the program were implemented: The recommended meeting frequency was changed to once a week, and the Social Interest Scale (and later the Mentors' Attitudes Towards Youth Scale) was introduced as a necessary screening tool for mentors. In addition, the program developers began providing applicants with very high or low social interest scores with information about the experience of some mentors who found mentoring to be frustrating and challenging at times.

Following statements made by parents and mentees about the impact of absent mentors on mentees' feelings, Karcher (2005; see Documents Reviewed under Quality of Research) examined whether there was a relationship between mentors' absenteeism and mentees' self-esteem. Despite overall positive effects of CAMP on mentees, there was a correlation between mentor absenteeism and declines in mentees' self-esteem. Following that study, more training and a stricter policy on mentor absences were implemented to minimize absenteeism.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal
Selective

Quality of Research
Review Date: August 2013

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Karcher, M. J., Davis, C., & Powell, B. (2002). The effects of developmental mentoring on connectedness and academic achievement. School Community Journal, 12(2), 35-50.

Study 2

Karcher, M. J. (2005). The effects of developmental mentoring and high school mentors' attendance on their younger mentees' self-esteem, social skills, and connectedness. Psychology in the Schools, 42(1), 65-77.

Study 3

Karcher, M. J. (2009). Increases in academic connectedness and self-esteem among high school students who serve as cross-age peer mentors. Professional School Counseling, 12(4), 292-299.

Supplementary Materials

Karcher, M. J. (2008). The Cross-Age Mentoring Program: A developmental intervention for promoting students' connectedness across grade levels. Professional School Counseling, 12(2), 137-143.

Karcher, M. J., & Lindwall, J. (2003). Social interest, connectedness, and challenging experiences: What makes high school mentors persist? Journal of Individual Psychology, 59(3), 293-315.

Karcher, M. J., & Sass, D. (2010). A multicultural assessment of adolescent connectedness: Testing measurement invariance across gender and ethnicity. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57(3), 274-289.  Pub Med icon

Supporting Documentation for NREPP Research Quality Review

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Connectedness
Description of Measures Connectedness, the degree of an individual's engagement with and positive feelings for the people, places, and activities in his or her life (e.g., friends, parents, school, religion, his or her future), was assessed for the mentors and mentees using different Hemingway connectedness measures.

One study used the Hemingway: Measure of Pre-Adolescent Connectedness (Version 3.5), a 40-item self-report instrument assessing connectedness across 8 subscales: parents, friends, culture, future, religion, school, self-esteem, and identity. The study used only 3 subscales: parents (e.g., "I want my parents to be proud of me," "I like spending time with my parents"), future (e.g., "Worrying about my future keeps me from getting into trouble," "I do things in school and after school that will help me when I grow up"), and school (e.g., "I work hard at school," "I always get bored in school"). Respondents rate each item using a scale from 1 (always untrue about me) to 5 (always true about me). For each subscale, a mean score is calculated.

A second study used the Hemingway Child (Version 3.5). This self-report scale includes statements about the degree of involvement/activity with and attitude/affection for parents, friends, school, and reading, as well as items assessing social desirability. Respondents use an interval scale ranging from 1 (not true) to 4 (very true) to rate items such as "I put as little effort into my schoolwork as I can" and "I work hard at school" from the school subscale and "My parents and I argue all the time" and "I work hard to make my parents proud of me" from the parents subscale. For each subscale, a mean score is calculated.

A third study used the Hemingway: Measure of Adolescent Connectedness (Version 5.5), a 78-item self-report measure designed to assess an adolescent's connectedness across 12 subscales: friends, peers, parents, siblings, teachers, school, reading, neighborhood, religion, culturally different peers, self in the present, and self in the future. Examples of items include "Spending time with my friends is a big part of my life" and "My friends and I talk openly with each other about personal things" from the friends subscale; "I work hard at school" and "I enjoy being at school" from the school subscale; "I do things outside of school to prepare for my future" and "I think about my future often" from the self-in-the-present subscale; and "I like getting to know kids from other cultural or racial groups" and "I would like to know more people from different cultural groups" from the culturally different peers subscale. Adolescents rate each item using a Likert scale from 1 to 5. For each subscale, a mean score is calculated.
Key Findings In one study, students in grade 5 were randomly assigned to an intervention group in which they received mentoring from a student in grades 8-11 for a school year or to a control group in which they received no mentoring. Results from the Hemingway: Measure of Pre-Adolescent Connectedness (Version 3.5) showed that connectedness to parents increased for mentee students and decreased for control group students (p < .01) from pre- to posttest. Similar outcomes were seen for connectedness to school and future, but these differences were not statistically significant.

In a second study, students in grades 4 and 5 were randomly assigned to an intervention group in which they received mentoring from a student in grades 8-12 for 6 months or to a control group in which they received no mentoring. Results from the Hemingway Child (Version 3.5) showed that connectedness to school increased for mentee students and decreased for control group students (p < .01) from pre- to posttest, after adjustment for pretest scores and academic risk status. This analysis also showed that mentee students had a greater increase in connectedness to parents than control group students (p < .05). No statistically significant differences between groups were found on the other subscales.

In a third study, intervention group students in grades 9-12 who provided mentoring to students in grades 4 and 5 for a school year were compared with control group students in grades 10 and 11 who provided no mentoring. Results from the Hemingway: Measure of Adolescent Connectedness (Version 5.5) at posttest showed that mentor students had greater connectedness to friends (p = .016), culturally different peers (p = .018), self in the future (p = .016), and school (p = .011) than control group students, after adjustment for sex, age, and pretest scores. No statistically significant differences between groups were found on the other subscales.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2, Study 3
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Self-esteem
Description of Measures Mentor self-esteem was measured using the Self-Esteem Questionnaire (SEQ), a self-report survey containing 47 statements assessing self-esteem over 6 separate domains--peer relations (8 items), school (8 items), family (8 items), physical appearance (4 items), extracurricular (5 items), and sports/athletics (6 items)--as well as global self-esteem (8 items). Respondents rate each statement (e.g., "I like being the way I am," "I am happy with myself as a person," "I am as good a person as I want to be") using a 4-point scale ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree."
Key Findings Intervention group students in grades 9-12 who provided mentoring to students in grades 4 and 5 for a school year were compared with control group students in grades 10 and 11 who provided no mentoring. At posttest, mentor students had greater extracurricular self-esteem (p = .005), sports/athletics self-esteem (p = .04), and school self-esteem (p = .04) than control group students, after adjustment for sex, age, and pretest scores. No statistically significant differences between groups were found on the other SEQ subscales or the global scale.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 3
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.2 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Achievement in spelling
Description of Measures Mentee achievement in spelling was assessed using the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-3), a commonly used instrument for measuring the development of reading, spelling, and arithmetic skills. To assess spelling, up to 42 words are read aloud twice to the class, and students are instructed to write the words down. For each student, the number of words spelled correctly is converted into a normed score. Sample words include "felt," "animal," "spell," "lame," "split," and "stretch."
Key Findings Students in grade 5 were randomly assigned to an intervention group in which they received mentoring from a student in grades 8-11 for a school year or to a control group in which they received no mentoring. From pre- to posttest, achievement in spelling increased for the mentee students and decreased for control group students (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood) 50% Female
50% Male
42% Black or African American
39% Hispanic or Latino
19% White
Study 2 6-12 (Childhood) 64% Male
36% Female
94% White
6% Race/ethnicity unspecified
Study 3 13-17 (Adolescent) 74% Female
26% Male
95% White
5% Race/ethnicity unspecified

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Connectedness 3.2 3.5 1.5 4.0 2.0 4.0 3.0
2: Self-esteem 4.0 3.5 1.5 4.0 2.0 4.0 3.2
3: Achievement in spelling 4.0 3.5 1.5 3.5 2.0 4.0 3.1

Study Strengths

The studies used measures with strong reliability and validity. The WRAT-3 is a gold-standard measure of academic achievement that has been normed on ethnically diverse populations of youth. The Hemingway measures of connectedness and SEQ had acceptable levels of reliability in the study samples. The measures used also underwent multiple validation studies (e.g., concurrent validity, factorial construct validity). The program is structured and uses a standardized curriculum and program manual. In all studies, mentors received training at the beginning of the program and 1 to 2 hours of group supervision each month. Attrition of mentors and mentees across the three studies was minimal and equivalent between the intervention and control groups. Listwise deletion was used to deal with missing data in the studies because the samples were too small to conduct multiple imputations. Appropriate statistical analyses were conducted.

Study Weaknesses

No information is available on mentor attendance at supervision meetings, the dosage of the intervention received by mentees, and parental attendance at Saturday meetings during the school year and meetings during the summer. The psychometric properties of the checklists and forms used to assess fidelity were also not reported. A number of confounding variables might have affected the studies' results. For example, one study used a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest design without equivalence between groups at baseline, limiting the internal validity of the study. The studies used small sample sizes, which resulted in a lack of power.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: August 2013

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Karcher, M. J. (2011). The Hemingway: Measure of Adolescent Connectedness (Adolescent Version 5.5 and Child "Pre-Adolescent" Version 5). A manual for scoring and interpretation. San Antonio, TX: Author.

Karcher, M. J. (2012). The Cross-Age Mentoring Program (CAMP) for Children With Adolescent Mentors: Connectedness curriculum. San Antonio, TX: Developmental Press.

Karcher, M. J. (2012). The Cross-Age Mentoring Program (CAMP) for Children With Adolescent Mentors: Mentor training guide. San Antonio, TX: Developmental Press.

Karcher, M. J. (2012). The Cross-Age Mentoring Program (CAMP) for Children With Adolescent Mentors: Program manual. San Antonio, TX: Developmental Press.

Karcher, M. J. (2012). Mentor handbook: The developmental mentoring mentor's handbook for teens in the Cross-Age Mentoring Program (CAMP) for Children With Adolescent Mentors. San Antonio, TX: Developmental Press.

Mentor training Web site, http://www.highschoolbigs.org

Program Web site, http://www.crossagepeermentoring.com

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
3.5 3.5 4.0 3.7

Dissemination Strengths

Program materials for implementers and mentors are comprehensive and provide step-by-step instruction in an easy-to-follow format. The program manual provides a thorough description of the core competencies required to prepare for and implement the program and also includes guidelines and checklists for use during implementation. Training materials are easy to obtain online and directly relate to the goals of the program. The developer offers support to implementers throughout the training processes. Sites are encouraged to add their own training modules and activities to meet site needs. Extensive quality assurance tools are available.

Dissemination Weaknesses

Sections of some program materials for implementers and mentors are densely written, making these materials difficult to use. Although encouraging sites to add their own training modules allows greater flexibility, adding modules could make it difficult to sustain consistent training quality.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Program Manual (includes process measures, outcome evaluation tools, and implementation checklists) $40 each Yes
Mentor Training Guide $40 each Yes
Connectedness Curriculum $40 each Yes
Mentor's Handbook $25 each (electronic or hard copy), with volume discounts available for hard copies No
2-day, on-site training of program staff, teachers, and mentors $1,400 per day for up to 50 participants, plus travel expenses No
Online mentor training Free No
2-day, on-site consultation $2,500, plus travel expenses No
Phone and email support Free for first 20 minutes; $100 per half-hour or $150 per hour thereafter No
Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

* Karcher, M. J. (2005). The effects of developmental mentoring and high school mentors' attendance on their younger mentees' self-esteem, social skills, and connectedness. Psychology in the Schools, 42(1), 65-77.

* Karcher, M. J. (2009). Increases in academic connectedness and self-esteem among high school students who serve as cross-age peer mentors. Professional School Counseling, 12(4), 292-299.

Smith, L. H. (2011). Piloting the use of teen mentors to promote a healthy diet and physical activity among children in Appalachia. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 16(1), 16-26.  Pub Med icon

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation or research, contact:
Michael J. Karcher, Ph.D., Ed.D.
(210) 347-1314
michaelkarcher@mac.com

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