Do you want to help others connect with nature? Do you enjoy spending time outdoors and want to share that passion with students? If so, then check out the bachelor’s in Adventure Education at Plymouth State University.
|Program:||BS in Adventure Education|
|Program Type:||Bachelor of Science|
|University:||Plymouth State University|
|Department:||Department of Health and Human Performance|
|Location:||Plymouth, New Hampshire|
|Students:||usually 16-18 incoming freshmen|
Learn skills in backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing and navigation. Then, learn the education theory behind imparting those skills to others. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to teach.
The Adventure Education program at Plymouth State University not only prepares you to explore the outdoors, but also to teach others to do the same.
What is adventure education?
Christian Bisson, the program coordinator, admits that the adventure education program is often misunderstood. While students learn to do a lot of fun, outdoor activities, this program is above all a degree in education– it just so happens that the outdoors is the classroom.
“Our goal is to train future educators– teachers.”
— Christian Bisson, program coordinator
Adventure education combines the study and practice of educational theory with knowledge of outdoor physical activities. In particular, adventure education teaches three core concepts: intrapersonal relationships, interpersonal relationships and how to reconnect people with the natural world.
Am I a good fit for this program?
If you enjoy climbing, canoeing and backpacking, then that’s a start– but it’s not enough. You should also want to teach.
For example, if you are hoping to help children or the disabled connect with nature then you’re probably a good fit.
“At Plymouth I learned how to use adventure to expose participants to personal growth and self-discovery.” — Michael DeFilippo, senior
What kind of careers can this degree lead to?
Ideally, you would work with an independent school. These schools often use the outdoors to supplement classroom work and build a sense of unity between students and nature.
You could teach in a small private school or in a charter school. In addition, you could teach in one of several large schools that employ outdoor education, such as the National Outdoor Leadership School.
Why is outdoor education important?
Since the late 1800s, doctors have recognized the important, physical health benefits of going outside and getting fresh air. Today, however, there has been a significant increase of people who are disconnected from nature. Outdoor education is an antidote.
“We are seeing young generations moving more and more indoors.”
— Christian Bisson, program coordinator
How is the program structured?
The program is designed to be 50% practical theory and 50% hands-on learning. This reflects the desires of the students, who often prefer to learn by doing and not just by reading.
What kinds of classes would I take?
As an undergraduate in adventure education, you will take classes exploring various physical activities, such as climbing and canoeing. You’ll also learn about nature more generally — from weather to plants.
Then, you’ll learn how to turn outdoor experiences into meaningful, lifelong lessons for learners. Soon, you’ll be able to help others use rock climbing as a means to learn about themselves– transferring the physical act of climbing into a personal life experience.
“The Adventure Education Program at Plymouth State University has brought me lasting friendships, fond memories, and the realization that the path less traveled often leads to the greatest discovery… that you are the creator of your life.” – Will Tracy, senior
You’ll get to peer teach and complete an “immersion semester.”
What is an immersion semester?
During the first semester of your junior year, you’ll embark on an immersion semester. You’ll take four adventure education classes — and nothing else. You and your classmates will go on long expeditions, spending 4-15 days at a time backpacking and camping.
For one expedition, you’ll be blindfolded, driven to an unknown location and given a map. Then, you’ll have a specified amount of time to travel to a given location. Of course, the school will provide you with a GPS tracker in case of emergencies.
When did it start?
Would I have to buy my own outdoor gear?
No. Students can borrow everything from backpacks, boots and skis from the outdoor center free of charge.
How much does it cost?
Beyond the normal tuition costs for Plymouth State University, many of the courses have additional feeds to help cover transportation and food. In all, these fees add up to around $2000 over the four years. Fortunately, there are some scholarship opportunities.