Outdoor adventure education has long been recognized as a powerful vehicle for achieving a multitude of positive goals in young people.
Imagine an American Adventure Service Corps member on a 10-day mountaineering trip in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California or a 170-mile canoe trip through South Carolina to reach the Atlantic Ocean. These types of trips create opportunities for members to learn lifelong lessons about themselves and how to work in a group. Weekend trips and extended trips are often quite adventurous with tough challenges. Participants feel a strong sense of satisfaction after completing the goal. This feeling, along with a sense of accomplishment after each day, provides ongoing injections of self-esteem. Members learn valuable lessons about being self-sufficient as a team and about working together to achieve an objective by cooperating, listening, following and leading.
Personal discipline is developed from tasks such as waking up early, cooking breakfast, packing up, and putting in the mileage to reach that day’s goal. Confidence is gained from personal skill mastery. Many outdoor skills are learned in order to safely complete specific trips. These skills can be used later in life for that member and for his/her future friends and family. Other American Adventure Service Corps adventures that foster the previously mentioned values include underground exploration, climbing multi-pitch rock routes and bivouacking partway up on a ledge, an annual 13-mile mountain run/walk, learning how to roll a kayak and paddle through moving water, backpacking and climbing trips to interesting areas, and winter camping and mountaineering.
Adventure education is a valuable methodology for instilling self-esteem, teamwork, and acquisition of new skills, which provide members with the tools to work with others and advance to more challenging expeditions.