New Study Investigates Inclusive Recreation Opportunities

Fueled by curiosity for inclusive programming in the field of Outdoor Recreation for individuals with disabilities, Erin Daniels, Coordinator of Outdoor Adventures, has produced research that addresses the need for conversation and collaboration on college campuses.

In a new study, An Evaluation of University Recreation Center Outdoor Programs for People With Disabilities: Perspectives From Professionals, Daniels interviewed 10 professionals to gather their attitudes on developing integrated programs, specifically outdoor trips, to serve all individuals, regardless of physical ability. The study was published in the 2017 edition of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education’s Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership.

In the results, Daniels discovered that a lack exists in providing these programs.

A trending topic in the industry, Daniels noted, “this is definitely gaining momentum, and the study can be the foundation to start a conversation with others on campus who are struggling with the issues of providing inclusive programming.”

The study explores common themes such as a need to develop such programs, and the impact Outdoor Recreation has on student success. However, interviewees noted that additional knowledge and training should be implemented to ensure safety and program success.

Daniels hopes that this research can minimize the gap between theory and practice. With benefits of Outdoor Recreation participation such as the likelihood of graduation and sense of community, there is an importance to adding this dimension to existing programs, while providing a standardized training protocol for staff and identifying additional pathways for collaboration with other organizations on-campus.