Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management

Department

Natural Resources Management

Advisor

Marni Goldenberg

Abstract

The results from this study suggest that participants of wilderness adventure education programs offered by Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School felt challenged by many of the experiences from their programs. Interactions with their group helped in dealing with the challenges presented by the experience. The development of hard skills gave participants a confidence in their abilities to survive and feel safe in these wilderness environments, which allowed them to relax and enjoy the experience, develop new perspectives, become motivated and inspired, and develop a sense of independence. Participants developed a sense of growth and maturity from their experiences, which upon reflection led to a sense of accomplishment. This sense of accomplishment led to transference of program benefits and values into participants’ lives, particularly in greater self-respect/esteem/confidence.

The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the outcomes that individuals experienced from wilderness adventure programs and the effects they had on participants’ lives. Means-end theory was used to understand the outcomes, more specifically attributes, consequences, and values, and their connections to each other. This study was longitudinal in nature and a comparison between the original data collection and follow-up interviews was done to investigate reported change in values over time. The results from this study show that the outcomes from participation in the Outward Bound and NOLS programs were transferring into participant’s lives and leaving a lasting impression.

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