On an annual basis, thousands of adolescents participate in outdoor adventure programs that usually aim to connect these young people with their peers and nature.
When Associate Professor of Psychology Helen Skouteris started her research into these programs she found that it crossed over different areas of study such as socio-emotional development, cognitive development and obesity and weight gain. She also found that the benefits of participating in outdoor adventure programs are not limited to vulnerable adolescents.
Benefits of participation in outdoor activity programs include gaining a sense of belonging and growing an understanding the social environment. We can see how these would be hugely beneficial to vulnerable adolescents who are also enabled, through these programs, to achieve social goals, build trusting and meaningful relationships, meet more people and learn to control anger.
There are so many skills to be gained from this type of participation, including cognitive (e.g. problem solving), emotional (e.g. forming relationships) and physical (e.g. canoeing or hiking).
The outdoor environment pushes young people out of their comfort zones and allows them to take on responsibility and become an active agent of change for their own wellbeing and that is hugely beneficial to all adolescents!
Post written by youth blogger from SYN Media.