Rachel Patterson Cod Quarter Outdoor Leadership Essay 23 April 2015 Outdoor Education Essay At the beginning of this course I was very excited to learn more about the outdoors and just how much God put into it. The class has opened my mind to many more aspects of the outdoors that I did not even know existed. As I started in this class, was ready for experience in the outdoors, ready for any kind of adventure and to explore new things. In this essay I will be explaining the importance of outdoor education, why people study about It, what the aims and purposes should be for Outdoor Education, why people think
Outdoor Education is a positive experience, and how my personal experiences have shaped my understanding of Outdoor Education. These topics are some very important aspects of Outdoor Education and will be explained thoroughly. Outdoor Education programs bring a whole new meaning to education. We have these programs to draw people out of their comfort zones and into a whole new challenge of growth, both physically and psychologically. These challenges help people to embrace changes that they need to make in their lives.
Another reason Outdoor Education is an important addition to education is to improve the environment and help people become more educated about the environment and how they can get involved. A big part of Outdoor Education is the leadership concept: someone always has to lead, whether it be a ropes-course or an expedition. People study this for their own growth and to keep the environment kept up in as many ways as a person can. We also study them to further our understanding of God’s amazing creation, and to understand the purpose God has set us on this earth for.
This might not happen right away, but God has used signs from the environment any times throughout the scriptures to help people understand what they are to do with their lives, and understand themselves a little more. For example, Matthew 6:26 states, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? ” (NIB) God uses the outdoors to humble us, and to make us realize that we can trust in Him. The purpose of Outdoor Education is explained by Ford in this way, “Outdoor education is education ‘in’, ‘about’, and ‘for’ the out-of-doors. (Definition and Philosophy). There are three aims of Outdoor Education: one is Adventure education, the second is Environmental Education, and finally, less important is the Experiential Education. Adventure education is simply adventuring in order to grow and learn about oneself. Bruce says this in his book, “Adventure Educators provide opportunities for personal growth through adventure experiences” (Bruce, 9). Adventure Education can be lots of fun for younger individuals, and it keeps their attention focused, but can also be very challenging for them in some aspects.
Going into the more spiritual aspect, Bruce says, “It can also involve using the aesthetic beauty of natural environments as a source of spiritual enrichment”(peg 9). Bruce is correct when he says this; the outdoors is a great place to learn about yourself, especially in a challenging time. Realizing that, no matter the task, God can get you through it, is one of the most important lessons one can learn. For example, during the field trip my class went on this week I was faced with a challenge that I was afraid I could not overcome, however, I prayed to God and He pushed me through it.
This brings me to the next aspect of Adventure Education, which is group growth. During this field trip I had to learn to depend on the group more than just myself. Bruce says, “Adventure Education can also be used to teach people more effectively as groups” (peg 10). Environmental Education is all about taking care of our environment and teaching people how to do so. “[Environmental Education is] how people influence the quality of the environment… And how intern the environment influence the quality of their lives” (9).
Bruce says this to make sure that people understand that the environment is not something to abuse, but to use and to take care of. Going on to experiential education, Neil says this in his article, “In experiential education, the student becomes more actively involved in the learning process than than in traditional, didactic education. For example, going to a zoo and learning through observation and interaction with the zoo environment is experiential and in contrast to reading and talking about animals in a classroom. ” () Experiential education is experiencing something in the outdoors and then reflecting upon it.
For example, the field trip I went on: after each activity, we had a time to reflect and talk about what we learned as a group. This was a form of experiential education, and also included group oriented learning, and is more of a basis for adventure and environmental education. Outdoor Education programs are beneficial for people because by going outside a person can get away from everyday life and just take a little time to settle their thoughts. Camps are good for that reason as well, and make a community of encouragement for a limited amount of time, so campers can be open, accept new opinions and learn more about themselves.
Camp is a place of worship, safety, personal growth/relational growth, temporary community, challenge, spiritual anneal, empowerment and transformation. It is also a good time for an individual to have alone time with the Lord and understand Him more. The bible says in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-?his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (NIB). This is saying that without excuse God can be seen through nature and is easily found in it. In outdoor education, leadership is a vital topic.
What the world needs are strong leaders: this is why outdoor education is important for people. It puts people into a fresh, new mindset when they think about the world. It also helps with decision making skills and judgment. Outdoor education helps people to make better life decisions through judgment, which is developed through experience gained in outdoor education. Martin says, “Judgment is an informed opinion based on past experience” (73). Through outdoor experiences students learn better judgment when problems come along because of the situations they are presented with during this education.
Decision making is very important because life consists of decisions, for example: whether one goes hiking or not if it is raining. Martin says “The decision-making process begins with the process of gathering data , which involves taking a look at the situational variables” (74). The outdoors make you analyze situations better because of the unfamiliar environment a person is placed in during these times of decision making. Another reason why outdoor education is an important experience is the wilderness experience.
One never knows when he or she will need these types of skills, such as putting up tents, cooking food over fires, and general first aid. In the end, outdoor education can teach people how to make proper sections and help them to survive in difficult situations. The leadership that is acquired through the outdoors is an important skill for students. Learning how to lead is a necessary tool for children because in the future they may need to guide students younger than themselves. Children also learn how to properly follow leadership, which will an important part of discipline in school and their future jobs.
Through the outdoors, values and ethics are also acquired. The positive beliefs that they learn will stick with them for life, helping them to form their own opinions in a logical way. A more natural infinite of the outdoors IS the effect of nature itself. Walters says, “Whether it’s running at sunset on a sandy white beach, walking alongside a cool trickling stream, watching sunset over a mountain ridge, or even hearing the wind blow through the trees in the morning, being outdoors and aware of the world’s beauty can make you feel energize and alive” (Why Getting Outside is So Good For You).
The outdoors can really be a place to clear your head and have some time alone, or to have a great time with friends and family. As said above, the outdoors help people break away from everyday life, through running excess energy, having some variety in the places one spends time in, and learning things that can’t be taught from a book. Walters says it like this, “Enjoying the outdoors also gives us a break from technology and the on-the- run lifestyle to which we’re all so accustomed” (Why Getting Outside is So Good For You).
Without going outside, people will only experience things through the glass screen of a computer of a phone; By going into nature, people adapt to the pace that nature is going instead of continuing to let life’s pace take hold. Instead they can experience life as it meant to be, at a low yet enjoyable pace. My outdoor experiences have been very challenging and have shaped my understanding of outdoor education in many ways. In this past semester alone I have had more experience in the outdoors than I have had in the past few years.
Learning about outdoor education through outdoor activities has made these concepts stick in my head more effectively than anything else I have learned. Usually, I am not interested in learning but as for outdoor education, it is something I seem to be very interested in. Going hiking with friends has made me realize how much of a leader can be, even in small situations. Outdoor Education is protecting the outdoors, learning and growing through challenging experiences, reflecting on these things, and leading in outdoor situations. A specific activity during the field trip challenged my leadership.
There was a group of us, some who were mute and others who were blind. The group had to learn how to communicate and work together to get through the obstacles that had been set before us. For some reason, this impacted me. The fact that the group had to work together to get through it and a leader had to emerge made me realize that this activity wasn’t something could do alone. Outdoor education opened my eyes to new challenges and how they could be overcome, the importance of working together, and to communicate well, so that there Were no misunderstandings during the activity. Neil says it exactly right, “Outdoor education is… He use of experiences in the outdoors for the education and development of the whole person” (What is Outdoor Education). All in all, Outdoor Education is using the outdoors to help a person grow in all areas of their life, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally as well. In conclusion, these four things are some of the most important aspects of Outdoor Education: adding Outdoor Education into traditional education, using unfamiliar environments to grow in different ways, using Outdoor Education as a way to decrease stress and connect with the Lord, and using my personal outdoor experiences to teach others.