The Life Effectiveness of Wilderness Adventure Leaders
Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership
This study was conducted to examine the effect being a wilderness adventure leader has on overall life effectiveness. Currently, there is an abundance of research on the positive benefits wilderness adventure participants receive. There is very little research, however, that focuses on the positive benefits experienced by wilderness adventure leaders. One purpose of this study was to fulfill that need. Research participants were employees of YMCA Camp Menogyn, Camp Vermilion, and Camp Hiawatha
... and Camp Hiawatha during the summer of 2009. All research participants were employed as wilderness adventure leaders for the summer, and all were over the age of 18. Life Effectiveness Questionnaires (LEQs) were given to research participants both at the beginning of the summer, and at the end of the summer in an effort to measure life effectiveness quantitatively. In order to gather qualitative data, a short answer survey was also given to participants with the post-summer LEQs. An analysis of the quantitative data showed that LEQ scores did increase over the course of the summer with a moderate effect size, although statistical significance was not reached. Qualitative data revealed testimonies from employees who stated, among other things, that working as a wilderness adventure leader was a positive, life-changing experience. ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS For someone who used to hate research with a passion, it is interesting to reflect on how much I have enjoyed writing this thesis. I didn't learn to love research on my own, however. Without the support and guidance of Dr. Whitney Ward, I would probably still be throwing a fit over having to do a literature review. Thank you, Whitney, for teaching me the value of research, and the importance of choosing to study something you are truly passionate about. You have been a great mentor, advisor, and friend these past two years. Dr. Marjorie Malkin, an experienced recreation researcher, was also a great resource to me as I began constructing the first three chapters of this paper. Thank you for supporting me as I undertook the arduous task of transforming a classroom assignment into an actual research proposal.