What changes? Marginalised young people's expectations and experiences of an adventure in nature

Year: 2007

Author: Carpenter, Cathryn, Cherednichenko, Brenda, Townsend, Mardie

Type of paper: Refereed paper

What changes do young people desire in their lives that lead them to participate in a bush adventure therapy program? With histories of drug and alcohol misuse, what is their motivation for change and what are they looking for? After experiencing a six week bush adventure therapy program what, if anything, changes?

This paper explores the perceptions of program participants over an eight-year period. Case management documents recording individual goals, notes from field and debrief interviews, as well as personal reflections for 120 participants have been analysed as part of a wider research investigation into how programs might enhance the health and wellbeing of young people. The case study uses descriptive statistics to provide a broad perspective on participants' history and goals. Personal narratives and staff perceptions are also included to clarify how the program was experienced.

This research indicates that these young people believe the acquisition of increased self confidence and self management skills gained through active participation in a challenging experience, are important preliminary steps before they can access employment or education. The complexity of these young people's lives emphasises the need for an integrated and holistic approach when working with marginalised young people to effect positive change.