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Adventure social work : evaluation of a New Zealand therapeutic outdoor adventure programme : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masterate of Social Work at Massey University
This thesis evaluates a New Zealand pilot programme, Women's Adventure Initiatives (WAI), designed to offer a therapeutic outdoor adventure experience for young women aged 12 to 16 years. The research design and the WAI pilot programme were informed by an eco-feminist approach which is the most common feminist approach applied in the outdoor adventure field. The programme was based on the 'Personal Growth through Adventure' model developed by Jackie Kiewa (1994). The objectives of this research were to acknowledge and validate the participants' experiences of the programme by documenting their personal and collective accounts and to make recommendations based on the findings for the development and implementation of further programmes for young women. The method used in this research was that of a naturalistic inquiry using a qualitative research design based on eco-feminist methodology. The data was collected through the use of summative and formative written questionnaires, tape recordings and written/art material. The data was analysed using content analysis to code and then categorise the responses into themes. For this research I decided to test the hypothesis that a therapeutic adventure approach is a beneficial alternative to traditional counselling methods through the use of activities and group therapy incorporated into the experience of an outdoor journey (Jennifer Davis-Berman & Dene Berman, 1994, USA). This thesis describes the responses of the participants and facilitators who attended the WAI pilot programme. The research findings support the use of eco feminism, and the 'Personal Growth through Adventure' model, indicating that overall the programme was a positive experience for each of the participants and the general consensus was that further programmes would be beneficial.