Freshman Year Success via Outdoor Orientation Programs: a brief history

Michael S. Lombardo

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler."
- Henry David Thoreau

edited 4/2/20


In World War II, Germany unleashed U-boats attacks against British freighters and other merchant marine vessels in an attempt to disrupt England’s shipping trade. Ships sank as expected, but what was peculiar was that the youngest sailors sustained the highest causalities. Especially disconcerting was that the deaths were not a direct consequence of the attack but occurred after the men had made it off the ship. Kurt Hahn, an educator, quickly recognized the problem: young sailors needed more than just survival skills, but also the fortitude to persevere. As a means to educate young British merchant and navy sailors how to survive German U-boat attacks, Hahn founded Outward Bound in 1941.

“Hahn’s ideas were to provide a full-rounded education to help youth not only intellectually but also improve their overall quality of life. His system of education was one of learning by experiencing – by challenging both the mind and the body.” (Watters, p 3)

For sailors in Outward Bound the challenge came as a month long training in small boats with strenuous exercises to develop skills. Following the war, the program was continued “as a way of building character among its young people.” (Watters, p 3)

The Outward Bound ideology eventually immigrated to the United States as the Colorado Outward Bound School, (COBS) and migrated into higher education as method so freshman could successfully persist durng the next four years. The first college wilderness orientation program was initiated at Prescott College based on the Outward Bound program foundation. Having just been hired from the COBS, Roy Smith recognized in the freshman the need to “grow-up.” (Smith, 2007) He described their life as easy because most of the freshman had not experienced hard labor of working on a farm, in a mine or factory. The students did not have independence of thought, everything was structured, even how they were to think. His vision was to create an awakening by an experience challenging them physically, emotionally and socially. As news of the program spread through Time, Readers Digest and television news, more schools began to mimic the program.

As of November 2006 the Prescott orientation program still had 185 programs mimicking it (Bell, 2006). Some of the these programs are long traditions, most less than ten years in existence, and others are defunct.

Going back 100 years earlier than the outdoor orientation program census, America was taking strong steps into the camping movement. And prior to the Civil War, an outdoor movement was underway in the pursuit of religion and life aside from the frontiersman hard living. Considering these moments in American history as leading to the first college wilderness outdoor orientation, the building of experiences and societal influences present a thread to how the outdoor orientation program developed to having a meaning greater than a just a foray into the woods. The American higher education freshman wilderness orientation experience stems from a developed society’s longing to create community in natural settings and bring meaning from the experience into their daily environment.

This paper will connect activities of American society from the 1800’s to the present that have inspired the creation of meaning making in outdoor settings into outdoor orientation programs for college freshman. Examination will be given to identifying how social connectedness and beliefs first drew people together in outdoor experiences. As the American outdoor experience evolves the camping movement emerges to emphasize the social connection and slowly introduces outdoor education. Correlating these experiences into personal development and combining the significant social and cultural shifts that occurred on campuses throughout the 1960’s created a program at Prescott destined for success.

American Society and the Outdoor Experience

The Camp Meeting: Pre-Civil War

The frontiersman moving west with the prospect for a better future has been engrained in American culture from music, books and movies. In the early 1800’s the hard work and sparse population of frontier life exacerbated the need for many to seek a respite from the trying lifestyle and from the solitude. The camp meetings of the 1800’s through the 1830’s provided just such relief. Spiritual renewal was offered at such events comparable to modern day outdoor revivals. The camp meetings centered around lengthy religious sermons for days creating the need to camp in the vicinity. Thus the camp meetings offered significant socializing and improved self-esteem. The latter outcome was normally accomplished directly through sermons expressing man’s sins followed by a promise of salvation through religion. Considering the sermon and the impact of satisfying social needs, a rise in self-worth, -confidence and –respect would be natural.

Comparatively the frontiersman lacked social connections: similarly, the entering freshman has the needs to create new social networks in an environment in which they have sparse experience. The outdoor orientation at a non-religious school has no intention to influence a faith, but it does have an intention to begin an institutional indoctrination.

A primary intention of the outdoor orientation is to foster positive freshman social networks before beginning college. These programs normally take place away from campus and civilization, forcing isolation from established social networks and deny the means to conveniently communicate with those not a part of the trip. The isolation with just the participants goes beyond socializing, to likely depending upon and supporting each other to accomplish the trip. Accomplishing a new social network relates to participants self-esteem through accomplishment of a normal freshman desire to create friends. But also the accomplishment of a physical and mental challenge conducted with peers will add to ones self-esteem related to the program.

Organized Camping Beginnings

The American Civil War (1861–1865) put the camp meetings into a hiatus, but quickly re-started with a new vigor to renew a sense for Christianity. The Post Civil War era, the mid-to late 1800’s, also brought the emergence of organized camping with the focus initially on youth. The below list indicates the founding years of the first organized camp experiences and brief description.

List 1: Early organized camping experiences and their founding year

1861—The Gunnery Camp is founded

Considered the first organized American camp. Frederick W. Gunn and his wife Abigail operated a home school for boys in Washington, Connecticut. In 1861, they took the whole school on a two-week trip. The class hiked to their destination and then set up camp. The students spent their time boating, fishing, and trapping. The trip was so successful, the Gunns continued the tradition for twelve years.

1874—First YWCA camp

The Philadelphia chapter of the YWCA founds the organization's first camp (or "vacation project," as it was called). This summer boarding and vacation house was for "tired young women wearing out their lives in an almost endless drudgery for wages that admit no thought of rest or recreation."

1876—The first private camp founded

Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock founds the North Mountain School of Physical Culture near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. For about $200, boys from Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre came for four months over the summer. The idea was to take "weakly boys out into camp life in the woods . . . so that the pursuit of health could be combined with the practical knowledge outside usual academic lines."

1885—First YMCA camp

Summer F. Dudley and seven boys from the YMCA in Newburgh, New York, go on a camping trip. By 1891, there were eighty-three campers.

(American Camp Association, Internet site)

Similar to the camp meetings, themes of socializing and self-esteem can be seen in the above camp descriptions. All four camps involve social gathering, three share themes of rejuvenation and personal improvement through rest and learning experiences, and interesting is two have a theme of Christianity.

Influences on America’s Outdoor Experience

               As camping was getting underway so too were initiatives by prominent outdoors men that still have a lasting impact on America’s outdoor experience.

List 2: Early leaders contributing to America’s natural lands

1817-1862—Henry David Thoreau: Naturalist and writer

1838-1914—John Muir: Preservationist: Geologist and founder of the Sierra Club

1887-1948—Aldo Leopold: Initiated concept of wildlife management

1901-1938— Robert Marshall: Wilderness Preservationist, a founder of the Wilderness Society

The works of these men contributed to the land being available to carryout many of the current outdoor orientation programs, and to carry into the program their themes and relational ideas about the student’s environment. Not an intended objective directly by these men, but nonetheless many orientation programs subscribe to influencing an appreciation for nature and leadership skills to care and maintain a healthy natural environment. This also gives a lead-in for the metaphor of caring for any environment deemed important and participating in it for its continuance and improvement regardless of its place or function.

               As the above individuals pioneered causes for the outdoors, organizations formed with similar missions adding a unique social dynamic to their initiative. These organizations held a premise to support care of outdoor areas, and to promote knowledge about the environment and how to participate in it. Going a step further than Muir and the others focusing only on the environment, these organizations also sought to provide experiences in the environment and teach participants how to enjoy the outdoors safely for its prolongation and themselves.

List 3: Early organized camping experiences and their founding year and premise

1876—Appalachian Mountain Club

Promoting the protection, enjoyment, and wise use of the mountains, rivers, and trails of the Northeast outdoors. (Appalachian Mountain Club, Internet site)

1892—Sierra Club

To explore, enjoy, and render accessible the mountain regions of the Pacific Coast; to publish authentic information concerning them," and "to enlist the support and cooperation of the people and government in preserving the forests and other natural features of the Sierra Nevada." (Sierra Club, Internet site)

1894—Mazamas of Portland, Oregon

To provide a comprehensive climbing program with allied activities that enhance and protect the participants and the environment.” (Mazamas, Internet site)

1897—Campfire Club

The first nonsectarian organization for girls in the United States… Dr. Gulick chooses the name "Camp Fire" because campfires were the origin of the first communities and domestic life. Once people learned to make and control fire, they could develop and nurture a sense of community. (Campfire Club, Internet Site)

1902—American Alpine Club

Cultivates mountain craft and the promotion of good fellowship among climbers;…the study of the high mountains of the world, the gathering of facts and the observation of phenomena pertaining to them, and the representation of the interests and concerns of the American climbing community. (American Alpine Club, Internet site)

1907—American Camping Association

Creates a model and standardizing influence for the organized camp experience for the young. (American Camp Association, Internet site)

With these organizations comes the evolution of people organized for specific purposes and social activity in the outdoors, not associated with religion, but for shared experiences, quest for knowledge, and championing care of the environment in which they associate. This is the overarching premise for the outdoor orientation program, and is how the metaphor of caring for the environment in which a group associates and learns in, is channeled into the similarities of the college experience.

The self-actualization realized, regardless of the outdoor organization’s pursuit and location, in camping, mountaineering, or whitewater sports, be in the Appalachians or Sierra Mountains or in between, the desire of people to congregate for their interest is met through the pursuit. In processing the pursuit’s outcomes, one can typically draw analogy to the one’s life. The challenge of the hike, climb or paddle can be compared to the challenges likely to be faced with starting a new social network and adapting to a new environment.

The social interactions with the outdoor experience’s participants can be drawn upon to process the need for cooperation, participation, communication and more aspects always present in a social setting and specific to the success of the outdoor activity. Processing the experience to identify and acknowledge what occurred is a basic level of knowledge. Processing why something occurred and critiquing and analyzing how the outcome could have been different draws upon one’s experiences and can leads to learning. Typically, that was and remains the purposes of the above listed organizations, be it climbing the Cascades in Washington, or backpacking the in the White Mountain National Forest.

Camping Movement

               By the 1900’s the organized camping was rapidly expanding with new organizations established on specific beliefs, goals and expected outcomes. The frequency of established organizations sponsoring camping initiatives and the proliferation of newly formed camping specific entities made clear the camping movement was underway. The leaders of the movement were camp grounds by non-profits and private businesses mostly targeting youth during the summer months. And associations were initiated in this era to offer standards for facilities, practices and education if learning was to be an experiential component.

The first camps tended to be simple in facilities and informal in program, stressing outdoor living experiences under leaders of integrity and character. During the succeeding years, as the educational possibilities of camping became recognized, specific objectives were adopted. In planning and conducting programs, camps became concerned not only with direct learning but also with improved social relationships and democratic participation by campers. (Carlson, Reynold, p. 84)

Not all camps and activities abided to the practices being set forward be it their basis of operation did not align or the determination for independence. Those interested in the standards setting tended to be “voluntary youth-serving agencies,…many religious groups,…public recreation departments, and...public schools.” (Carlson, Reynold, p. 84)

List 4: Camping movement milestones

1900—First Boys' Club camp

The Boys' Club in Salem, Massachusetts, organized a seven-week summer camp and 76 boys attended. By 1930, more than 60 Boys' Clubs conduct summer camp with approximately 26,088 campers attending. (American Camp Association, Internet site)

1910—Boy Scouts of America (BSA) founded.

The first official BSA camp was held at Silver Bay, Lake George, New York. (American Camp Association, Internet site)

1912—First Girl Scout camp

First Girl Scout camp was held in Savannah, Georgia. Ever since the founding of Girl Scouts in 1912, camp has played an important role in the Girl Scout program. In 1922, the organization decides to charter camps throughout the country. (American Camp Association, Internet site)

1926—Camp for Diabetics established near Boston (Raiola & O’Keefe, p. 48)

1929—L.B. Sharp: Dissertation:

“Extending Education Through Camping” (Raiola & O’Keefe, p. 48)

1930's—National Park Service develops Recreation Demonstration Areas

The Areas, 34 of which are organized camp facilities made available for lease by camp groups that did not own camp grounds. These sites are later turned over to state agencies, particularly state parks. (American Camp Association, Internet site)

1930’s—Camps viewed as adjunct to school program.

Attempts are made to correlate outdoor learning activities to regular curriculum. (Raiola & O’Keefe, p. 48)

1932— American Youth Hostels established (Raiola & O’Keefe, p. 48)

The camping movement appears to spring from a moral push to emphasize democratic practices tied to social connectedness within a society, ability to communicate, build consensus, and to get youth especially out of the urban centers. Unique to the earlier organizations, knowledge and skill development is not centered on a specific activity or pursuit, but begins to focus on the personal development and skills.

Also, unique in this list is Loyld Bluegrass Sharp’s dissertation which is milestone of camping and outdoor education becoming recognized to have more than just an informal and recreational outcome for participants. An early leader, L. B. Sharp’s mantra was simple for outdoor education: "That which can best be taught inside the schoolrooms should there be taught, and that which can best be learned through experience dealing directly with native materials and life situations outside the school should there be learned." (Sharp’s article as cited in Adkins & Simmons, p. 2)

Now the outdoor experience begins to offer a supplement to formal education. Some have recognized the early period of the organized camping movement in the U.S. (1900-1935) was a reaction to rigidity of the school's curricula. (Carlson, Reynold, p. 84) Regardless the school of thought, the definition of outdoor education and directed experiences takes a new step forward beyond understanding of the environment to include learning for ones personal-development.

Education’s Outside Classroom

Outdoor Education

Has come to include the gamut of activities occurring typically outdoors and is assumed to include within its definition a variety of activities each with its own definition. Consensus is “outdoor education is an experiential method of learning with the use of all senses” taking place primarily in the natural environment but not exclusively. (Priest, 111) Much of the outdoor education focus was first placed on elementary and secondary education, and does not take a position in higher education until sometime later. First outing clubs become established during the rise of the camping movement. As outdoor education gained a foothold with adolescent education, the first recreation and outdoor leadership courses arrived in 1936 and 1937 at New York University and the State Teachers College at Cortland, respectively. Higher education, in general, however, would not embrace the notion of outdoor education for another 30 years.

Before higher education significantly brings outdoor education into the curriculum or extra-curricular programming, three non-profit organizations form and initiate the notion of formal outdoor education outside the camping movement’s main constituents. Outward Bound (OB) becomes the first and is the model subsequent ventures copy. The second venture National Outdoor Leadership (NOLS) springs directly from OB, and the third, Project Adventure (PA), has strong connection to OB and makes clear its intention to use its model. It is also the OB model that initiates the first higher education outdoor orientation program at Prescott College.

Outward Bound in America

OB first came from the need to train young sailors how to handle a lifeboat at sea and the physical and mental stresses that came with such an ordeal. (Marin et. al., p. 19) Kurt Hahn an educator of many pursuits, was asked to start the school in Aberdovey, Whales. Lawrence Holt, the principle financier, gave Hahn the charge for OB. “The training at Aberdovey”, Holt said, “must be less a training for the sea than through the sea, and so benefit all walks of life” (Miner, p. 58). In addition to private and government sponsored sailors, the school also attracted apprentice technicians aboard the steam ships plying the ocean, along with “police, fire, and other cadets, or boys on leave from their regular schools or about to go into the armed services.” (Miner, p. 58) Throughout the OB experience, there were many challenges put to the boys to learn from mentally, emotionally and physically.

The challenges have a transformational impact on the students. Joshua Miner, an employee of the first OB school, recounts his experience of the transformation from one basic challenge “The Break” which was one of his early responsibilities.

The Break…was essential, in Hahn’s thinking, that a healthy youngster “have his powers of resilience, coordination, acceleration, and endurance purposefully developed”…Four mornings a week, during a 50-minute break…each boy took part in two of a half-dozen events—sprinting, or distance running, long or high jumping, discus or javelin throwing. He competed against himself, trying to better his previous best performance…Every boy had to do every event…It was important to overcome a weakness as to develop a strength…The great satisfaction lay in seeing the physical duffer discover that through trying from day-to-day he could do much better than he would have dared to dream. He had learned, in Hahn’s phrase, to “defeat his defeatism.” You could see him shed…”the misery of his unimportance.” His new-found confidence would carry over into his peer relationships, his classroom performance, the quality of work on his project. (Miner, p. 59)

               The transformation recounted by Miner becomes the goal of subsequent outdoor education programs, and is precisely the outcome sought in contemporary outdoor orientation programs. Just as in the camping movement an outcome of change for the participant is sought, but it is typically focused on specific skills, values, or characteristics. OB’s model goes further to develop activity specific skills, physical skills and personal characteristics. The organizations that develop as a direct result of OB also attempt to create the transformation.

List 5: Key outdoor education organizations

1965— National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

Founded by Paul Petzoldt, one of the first COBS instructors, to train competent OB leaders. (Bachert, p. 86-87)

1971— Project Adventure (PA)

Jerry Pieh helped his father start the Minnesota Outward Bound School. As a young Junior-Senior High School principal he and a colleague wrote a three-year development proposal to the federal office of education that would try to answer the question of how to ‘mainstream’ the OB process into a secondary public school. Today PA is still an active organization on a scale much broader than secondary schools. (Prouty, p. 93)

1974—Association for Experiential Education (AEE)

The association is committed to supporting professional development, theoretical advancement and the evaluation of experiential education worldwide. As the organization built consensus to its definition a multitude of individuals from various organizations contributed, many of whom were executive staff and instructors from OB. (Association of Experiential Education, Internet site)

1977—Wilderness Education Association

Founded by Paul Petzoldt and others to train leaders with the judgment and decision-making skills to safely lead and teach the public in the appropriate use of wilderness areas.  A curriculum now known as the 18-point curriculum was developed to meet these goals and was designed to be used in the different courses that are now offered through the WEA. (Wilderness Education Association, Internet site)

OB is clearly evident in each of these organizations and its influence can be interpreted in many others. The organizations listed here are recognized as the leaders in the field. These organizations still operate as not-for-profit organizations not seeing each other as a competitors but as another helping to grow the field. Affirming the sustainability of the field is a quote from a PA’s consultant report as it restructured itself.

“There is a definite trend worldwide toward incorporating adventure activities into educational and training programs. The main reason for this trend is the recognition that team synergy is a major driving force in both economic productivity and social change possibilities.” (Prouty, p. 101)

With this in mind, colleges too recognized the need to utilize the outdoors as tool for introducing its students to a new educational beginning, as a means of self-actualization, and personal development for their lives beyond college.


Before OB would take shape, American colleges and universities were embarking on their own outdoor experiences through their newly formed outing clubs.

List 6: First outing clubs

1911—Dartmouth College, The Dartmouth Outing Club

1915—Williams College, Williams Outing Club

1930—Allegheny College, Allegheny Outing Club

1931—University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Wisconsin Hoofers

1932—Intercollegiate Outing Club Association

(Raiola & O’Keefe, p. 47- 49)

These clubs were developing at the same time the camping movement was at a rapid pace. Considering the location of the earliest clubs to geographic proximities to some of the first organized camps and associations, the earlier college clubs’ influences are easy to surmise. And as the camping movement continues it is likely participants of the youth camps were arriving on campus. Interesting is the Intercollegiate Outing Club Association is forming just ahead of the first outdoor education classes for teachers, thus adding further evidence the notion is gaining on campus.

The First Freshman Experiences

To continue the college outing clubs, recruitment was necessary: Dartmouth College documented the first freshman trip in 1935. The upper classmen initiate the trip “as a way to encourage new students in the Dartmouth Outing Club.” (Dartmouth College, Internet site) However it does get the notice of “Dartmouth President John Dickey ’29 was a particular believer in the power and importance of the Trips as a way to introduce students to a ‘Sense of Place’ that he saw as critical to the College experience…” (Dartmouth College, Internet site) Although this annual excursion can begin to draw connection to the contemporary orientation outdoor orientation, it is but an artifact that adds to the formalized first at Prescott College in 1968. Roy Smith introduces the first orientation program in Arizona based off the OB model. (Smith, 2007)

An Unintended Collision of Supporting Ideas

It is at this very time that the thread being traced from the Camp Meetings into the Camping Movement and development of outdoor education entangles itself into significance on college campuses. So profound and sudden was the moment that it caught notice of the American media almost immediately. Time magazine was first to write about what was occurring in Smith’s program. Readers Digest was giving the program $1 million grant its second year, and Charles Kuralt was ready to put it on his acclaimed television show, “On the Road”. (Smith, 2007) But it was not that the program was the genius of an individual, but the clash of ideas put in motion from as far back as the early 1800’s through the next century about the outdoors, with those occurring on campuses across the country and it all having the same goal of activism. Two thoughts took an activist approach simultaneously, one more communal and the other with more inner development and preparedness to impact change.

When Smith is hired at Prescott College he tells the president the need for “a kind of an Outward Bound experience before they start school” is because the freshman are “soft” and they are not grown-up. (Smith, 2007) Similarly, Tom Hayden, a student activist, working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) has already forwarded to the Student Democratic Society (SDS) a paper accepted as its first position paper in 1962. “In it he presumes to speak for attitude of perceived rebels stating: “We are the people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit...[sensing] that what we had originally seen as the American Golden Age was actually the decline of an era.” (Horowitz, p. 228-229) Both are presenting a need for action, one for the community, and the other is promoting self-activism to prepare and grow for the challenges ahead.

These two ideas were coming together at time when there was collegiate turmoil and an “apparent erosion or loss of academic rigor in colleges and universities” which was present in the minds of many. (Lucas, p. 311) Not necessarily the mainstream belief at the time among the college age population, but definitely a noticeable notion was “…authority was suspect…standards and constraints were under attack, and everything traditional was assailed as undemocratic and elitist…” (Lucas, p. 311) Likely this was the focus on academics, but this culture was logically felt by the non-academic administrators of recreational programming, who were likely to had some alignment with the beliefs of students due to their proximity of age.

The 1960’s suspect mentality also held the perception of government and society being corrupt, with the idea the outdoors was untouched by both, and it was therefore good. (Watters, p. 3) With a public very aware of the suspect notions, Prescott College’s outdoor orientation program sold itself easily to students, and financial sponsors who were easily captivated with the image of young people building character, and finding confidence and improved coping skills to face challenges. (Watters, p. 3) Although a life threatening need was present in Britain’s original OB model, it was not present in Prescott’s or COBS’s models. What was apparent in the American iteration was the need for physical skills and personal characteristics highly desirable by both students and higher education stakeholders. Furthermore, the OB model already tested and capitalized on social and outdoor educational knowledge, made it prime for implementation into the circumstances of the time. For students the fact the program was not within the confines of an establishment, and for the public seeing the emergence of the idea as unique and healthy, the timing for Prescott College’s outdoor orientation program came together at a perfect time.

Continuance of Perfect Alignments

Processing the outdoor orientation experiences in the 1960’s to identify, acknowledge, critique and analyze would not occur significantly different than it would now. However, the discussion for applying the experiential knowledge metaphorically may have been more focused on society and how the knowledge gained could be applied to activate social change. Although the metaphoric application to society can still be used today, applying it against a model of student development can demonstrate contemporary outcomes and possibly to an intended activism for the student to initiate specific objectives to achieve success in college.

Although many cultural ideas coalesced during the late 1960’s to compound success for Prescott College’s outdoor orientation program, so too do many contemporary cultural and institutional ideas co-exist and present opportunities for the same program to succeed today. Assessment of learning outcomes is at the forefront of thought due to institutional and governmental calls to give proof of student learning. Utilizing a basic list of student development areas to metaphorically apply experiential learning from the trip, student learning in selected areas can be qualitatively measured.

List 7: Areas of student development

Developing meaningful peer relationships;

Positive faculty and student interaction;

Career development;

Interest in Academics;

Adequate Preparation for college; and

Compatibility with Student’s expectations

(Gass, 1999, p. 374-5)

All of the student development areas can be metaphorically processed through an outdoor orientation program successfully. As example, the hiking experience can facilitate “the development of the students’ decision-making process in preparing and planning for study areas and career considerations.” (Gass, 1999, p. 375) Starting with the experience of being outdoors with peers and sewing into this experience the contrived and natural challenges, then focusing the participants in discussions and processing of the experience into applying the learned experiences to college expectations will bolster the students preparedness to successfully complete the first year of college and persist to graduation.


This paper attempts to give evidence of outdoor experiences occurring from the early 1800’s to the present in America not related to frontier life or western expansion, but for reasons of leisure, recreation and personal development. From the reasons themes emerged that can be seen in higher education’s implementation of outdoor orientation programs. This paper includes a portrayal of the first documented outdoor experience, camp meetings centered around religion. The primary intention was to gain or find religion, but they was also realized the meetings resulted in social satisfaction and increased self-esteem. The early camping movement leads to organized outings, engaging the social aspect of the experience and learning experiences related directly to specific activity skills or personal skills.

The formal development of outdoor education leads to a model accepted by colleges that focuses on engaging students outside of the educational environment and focuses on personal development through an outdoor experience. The outdoor experience is important but is only the vehicle used to engage the person. Thus the paper demonstrates the development of American outdoor experiences in higher education to incorporate a means for personal development. Therefore the conclusion can be made an outdoor orientation program can set the stage for traditional freshman moving into their first year with an increased preparedness to persist and pursue self-derived objectives related to their academic pursuit.



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