Adventure-based programmes are one of the most exciting and effective intervention strategies that can influence youth-at-risk to make the right choices, guiding their development while simultaneously exposing them to positive values modeled by excellent people. Although adventure-based programmes are not a recent phenomenon in South Africa, very few research studies have been undertaken regarding this phenomenon. The aim of this research was to explore and describe the nature, requirements and limitations of adventure-based programmes to youth-at-risk. The main goal of the research was to develop guidelines for intervention through adventure-based programmes for youth-at-risk, based on a literature study and empirical research that was undertaken. Adolescents are becoming increasingly involved in high-risk behaviour, compromising their health, future and lives. Multi-professional interventions are necessary to address the issues and problems children and youth experience. Adventure-based programmes offers a solution and many skills necessary for successful living appear to be inherent to adventure-based learning: self-esteem, communication, problem-solving, group living, responsibility, spirituality, confidence. Facilitating adventure-based experiences to youth-at-risk is no simple task and the outdoor leader needs to be trained to deal with many forms of anti-social and other negative behaviour that could include aggression, disobedience, hyperactivity smoking, etc. It is clear from the research results that adventure-based programmes encompasses much more than simply offering activities in the outdoors to participants. Adventure-based activities can only be optimized to the level of an educational tool through purposeful planning, debriefing, follow up and evaluation. Many different terms are used to describe essentially similar outdoor programmes: adventure education, environmental education, experiential education, wilderness therapy, organized camping, outdoor education. Social workers, because of their broad, value based approaches and extensive training, is well equipped, if not best equipped of all professions, to play an active role in the development of adventure-based programmes to youth-at-risk; be it in developing and offering programmes, training staff to work with youth-at-risk or as staff member during an adventure-based programme. Adventure-based programmes as model of experiential education, offers the social worker an alternative intervention strategy to achieve psycho-social and competency outcomes with youth-at-risk.
Thesis (MA (Social Work))--University of Pretoria, 2004.