The Voices of Outdoor Adventure: An Examination of the Long-Term Meanings and Impacts of Adventure Experiences for New Zealand University Students
The purpose of this study was to explore how past participants of a New Zealand-based university outdoor adventure programme have perceived the meanings and impacts of former adventure experiences over time. This study employed a phenomenological case-study design which used in-depth, semi-structured interviews with former participants of a New-Zealand university outdoor adventure programme called the Mountains-to-Sea expedition. Six participants, former physical education students who had gone on the expedition between four and five years ago, were chosen to gain retrospective insight. The results from this study generated detailed narratives which revealed that the perceived meanings and impacts of participants‟ experiences were generally positive but there were subtleties and nuances to these perceptions which changed over time. Individuals made meaning in finely distinctive ways and impacts tended to dissipate in perceived intensity over time, though there were some exceptions. The participants embodied a very unique culture which impacted their understanding of outdoor adventure education philosophy. These findings have far-reaching implications on the future of outdoor learning and warrant greater attention from practitioners and researchers. The results bolster an argument for more qualitative research into the long-term meaning and impact of adventure experiences, particularly for the New Zealand context.