Effects of Wilderness Challenge Programs

Effects of Wilderness Challenge Programs
The wilderness can be an innovative setting for education. Wilderness challenge programs allow participants to engage in experiential learning in an unfamiliar environment. Asking individuals to work as a group to meet a challenge allows them to gain a wide array of skills and qualities.


One of the most common results of participation in a wilderness challenge program is leadership. In any team effort, some naturally rise to the occasion of leading a group, while others might need some encouragement. A wilderness challenge program is an excellent setting for honing or developing leadership skills.


Because most wilderness challenge programs focus on a team meeting challenges, the group must learn to work together to achieve goals. Most participants take several lessons away from a wilderness experience and apply them to team settings in their personal or professional lives.

Self Esteem

Many people consider challenges in terms of the probability of success. Wilderness experiences are so unfamiliar for many people that when they meet goals in that setting, they are able to transfer the feeling of success to their lives once they return home

Problem Solving

As in everyday life, working around or with obstacles is common in wilderness challenge programs. Participants might learn to "think outside the box" or even simply to maintain a positive attitude in the face of hindrances.

Conflict Resolution

In any team setting, working toward a common goal can bring out different biases or priorities. Activities in wilderness challenge programs often are designed to allow individuals to resolve differences productively in order to achieve the overall goal.

Article Written By Emily Crespin

Emily Crespin manages logistics for a wilderness education program in the Colorado Rockies. She holds a Bachelor's degree in biology and a Master's in communications and public relations. Crespin has been a freelance writer and technical editor since 2008.

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