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Development and Evaluation
of the PCYC Catalyst
Outdoor Adventure
Youth Intervention Program
Arron Sullivan
PCYC Bornhoffe...
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
Project plan – 2 components
Research and
Evaluation
Program Delivery
• Work with 10 YP at risk
• 15 day program duration
•...
Key partners
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
Levels of at-riskness (Greenaway,1995:3)
1. Temporary - Commit minor crimes in the company of others
2. Difficult and dist...
Purpose and intent
Project Purpose
To provide a positive intervention that facilitates change for young
people and their f...
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
Purpose and intent
Project outcomes
1. Encouraging positive change in each young person by
recognising and celebrating the observable outcome...
Program specifics
1. Encouraging positive change in each young
person by recognising and celebrating the
observable outcom...
Program model
Staff model
Leadership development
-Two facilitators
-Two teachers/school
councillors/youth worker
10 week p...
Program delivery partners
PCYC branches
• Dalby
• Mt Isa
• Goondiwindi
• Zillmere
Qld Department of
Education State
High S...
Background
• 2004 First Catalyst Program delivered
• 2008 International Consortium for Experiential
Learning
• 2009 Fundin...
Questions about the program
model ?
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
Research evaluation design
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
• Mixed methods
• Quantitative (questionnaires)
• Life ...
Adventure therapy outcomes
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
• Bowen & Neill (2013) synthesised the
outcomes of 197 ...
Results: Life effectiveness
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
• Adapted Youth at Risk Program Evaluation Tool
(YARPE...
Results: Life effectiveness
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
0.03
0.03
0.10
0.11
0.26
0.33
0.44
0.44
0.51
0.72
Goal...
Results: Mental health
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
• Adapted General Well-Being (GWB; Heubeck & Neill,
2000; V...
Results: Behavioural conduct
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
• Adapted Adolescent Behavioural Conduct
(Mak, 1993):...
Results: Youth interviews
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
Youth interviews revealed common themes that:
• youths c...
Program recommendations
NationalOutdoorEducation
Conference2016
1. Adventure therapy vs. therapeutic
adventure
2. Screenin...
Key learnings
Project & program delivery
1. Multiple partners –
multiple masters
2. Program integrity
3. Evolving on the r...
Contacts for further info
James Neill
Assistant Professor
Centre for Applied Psychology
Faculty of Health
Mob 0432 925 211...
References
• Bowen, D. J. & Neill, J. T. (2013). A meta-analysis of adventure
therapy outcomes and moderators. The Open Ps...
References
• Neill, J. T. (2007). A measurement tool for assessing the effects of
adventure-based programs on outcomes for...
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Development and evaluation of the PCYC Catalyst outdoor adventure intervention program for youth-at-risk

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Neill, J. T., Sullivan, A., Bowen, D. J. (2016). Development and evaluation of the PCYC Catalyst outdoor adventure intervention program for youth-at-risk. Paper presented at the 19th National Outdoor Education Conference, University of Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Queensland, March 29 - April 1.

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Development and evaluation of the PCYC Catalyst outdoor adventure intervention program for youth-at-risk

  1. 1. Development and Evaluation of the PCYC Catalyst Outdoor Adventure Youth Intervention Program Arron Sullivan PCYC Bornhoffen James Neill University of Canberra NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 19th National Outdoor Education Conference, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia, Wednesday 30 March, 2016
  2. 2. NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  3. 3. Project plan – 2 components Research and Evaluation Program Delivery • Work with 10 YP at risk • 15 day program duration • Partner with 6 education and / youth centres • Work regionally and locally • Collaborative practice • Evidenced-based practice NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  4. 4. Key partners NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  5. 5. Levels of at-riskness (Greenaway,1995:3) 1. Temporary - Commit minor crimes in the company of others 2. Difficult and disturbed - Temporary involvement with crime, but whose offending is linked with wider problems like home conflicts, school based difficulties 3. Persistent offenders – Often of low intelligence and troublesome in school, with parents who exercise poor supervision and may themselves be involved in crime 4. One-off serious offenders – Crimes are rare and isolated, unexpected and not explained by social factors or environment. For these offenders psycho-therapeutic or behaviour modifying treatment in a secure setting is usually effective 5. Persistent and serious offenders - Offenders from category three and four for whom effective intervention is particularly difficult as there is a high likelihood of re-offending. NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  6. 6. Purpose and intent Project Purpose To provide a positive intervention that facilitates change for young people and their families using an interagency collaborative strategy Program Purpose Working with young people (aged 13 to 16 years) who are at risk of adverse outcomes in their educational, vocational, and life-course pathways. Intent To help young people to make positive life choices, experience a meaningful life, make a positive contribution to their community, and assist in the transition into young adulthood NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  7. 7. NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 Purpose and intent
  8. 8. Project outcomes 1. Encouraging positive change in each young person by recognising and celebrating the observable outcomes 2. Partnering with Learning and Education centres that already have a behavioural management or learning engagement process in place 3. Engaging parents and other community organisations/members to support the change process for young people 4. Developing protective factors, positive self awareness and resilience in young people 5. Leading an interagency collaborative strategy for the development of community 6. Evaluating the short and long term outcomes of the project to develop its effectiveness NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  9. 9. Program specifics 1. Encouraging positive change in each young person by recognising and celebrating the observable outcomes • By helping young people to reflect positively on experience and actions • Recognising and building on personal strengths • Managing personal behaviour and asking for help reflecting on areas for improvement in behaviour • Encouraging participants and parents or guardians to LEAD themselves first:- Learn to reflect positively on experience ·Engage and manage their emotions Adapt their thinking attitudes and behaviour to their situations and challenges · Demonstrate a willingness to: - work on yourself - participate positively in a group - contribute positively to the community • Learning to set realistic and achievable personal goals • Working as part of a team and taking personal responsibility for the outcome • Raising awareness of all aspect of life resulting in a positive and meaningful contribution to community NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  10. 10. Program model Staff model Leadership development -Two facilitators -Two teachers/school councillors/youth worker 10 week program cycle • Partner selection • Participant selection • Parent commitment • 3-day Lead In • 9-day Expedition • 3-day Follow up • Participant mentoring NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  11. 11. Program delivery partners PCYC branches • Dalby • Mt Isa • Goondiwindi • Zillmere Qld Department of Education State High Schools • Woodridge • Brackenridge • Helensvale • Goondiwindi • Dalby State High School • Spinifex College (Mt Isa) NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  12. 12. Background • 2004 First Catalyst Program delivered • 2008 International Consortium for Experiential Learning • 2009 Funding included seed funding for research • 2011 produced our own in-house evaluation • By 2012 we had worked with 24 partners and invested $300,000 in programs • Maintained long-term partnership with strategic view (2008 – 2013) NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  13. 13. Questions about the program model ? NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  14. 14. Research evaluation design NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 • Mixed methods • Quantitative (questionnaires) • Life effectiveness • Mental health • Behavioural conduct • Qualitative (interviews) • Multiple perspectives • Youth self-report • Observer-report • Longitudinal • Pre (1st day) • Post (last day) • Follow-up (6 to 12 months)
  15. 15. Adventure therapy outcomes NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 • Bowen & Neill (2013) synthesised the outcomes of 197 adventure therapy studies. • The overall standardised mean effect size was 0.47, a moderate effect. • More specific benchmarks were suggested for adolescents (0.44) and specific types of outcomes. • Useful for benchmarking evaluation of specific programs.
  16. 16. Results: Life effectiveness NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 • Adapted Youth at Risk Program Evaluation Tool (YARPET; Neill, 2007) , 30 items measuring 10 factors: Emotional Resilience Goal Setting Healthy Risk-taking Locus of Control Self-Awareness Self-Esteem Self-Confidence Communication Skills Community Engagement Cooperative Teamwork • Short-term change: 0.16, N = 38; 60% of participants reported increases • Longer-term change: 0.29, N = 20; 62% of participants reported increases
  17. 17. Results: Life effectiveness NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 0.03 0.03 0.10 0.11 0.26 0.33 0.44 0.44 0.51 0.72 Goal Setting Community Engagement Locus of Control Self Awareness Emotional Resilience Cooperative Teamwork Self Esteem Self Confidence Healthy Risk Taking Communication Skills Longer-term changes
  18. 18. Results: Mental health NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 • Adapted General Well-Being (GWB; Heubeck & Neill, 2000; Veit & Ware, 1983) : 10 items measuring 2 factors: 0.95 0.07 -0.1 -0.33 -0.4 -0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 Longer-term Short-term Distress Well-being Distress Well-being
  19. 19. Results: Behavioural conduct NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 • Adapted Adolescent Behavioural Conduct (Mak, 1993): 8 behaviours over past 6 months • Overall reduction (12.5 to 10.7 incidents/month): 0.38 0.17 0.14 0.04 -0.27 -0.34 -0.47 -0.68 Drug use Cheating Vehicles Wagging Vandalising Stealing Fighting Harming
  20. 20. Results: Youth interviews NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 Youth interviews revealed common themes that: • youths came from, but were seeking to overcome, challenging backgrounds (personal, family, social) • faced challenges during the program (physical, social, existential) • which fostered • personal and social development • motivation to work for change • a more optimistic outlook on the future
  21. 21. Program recommendations NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 1. Adventure therapy vs. therapeutic adventure 2. Screening/Profiling/Selection 3. Physical challenge of initial hiking 4. Group storming and norming 5. High adventure activities 6. Reflective activities
  22. 22. Key learnings Project & program delivery 1. Multiple partners – multiple masters 2. Program integrity 3. Evolving on the run 4. Staff turnover Research evaluation 1. Program objectives 2. Research vs. evaluation vs. action-research 3. External vs. internal NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016
  23. 23. Contacts for further info James Neill Assistant Professor Centre for Applied Psychology Faculty of Health Mob 0432 925 211 james.neill@canberra.edu.au NationalOutdoorEducation Conference2016 Arron Sullivan Co Manager PCYC Bornhoffen Leadership Development Manager Mob 0407 148 123 arron.sullivan@pcyc.org.au www.bornhoffenpcyc.org.au
  24. 24. References • Bowen, D. J. & Neill, J. T. (2013). A meta-analysis of adventure therapy outcomes and moderators. The Open Psychology Journal, 6, 28-53. doi: 10.2174/1874350120130802001 • Bowen, D. J. & Neill, J. T. (2016). Effects of the PCYC Catalyst outdoor adventure intervention program on youths' life skills, mental health, and delinquent behaviour. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 21(1). doi: 10.1080/02673843.2015.1027716. • Neill, J. T. & Bowen, D. J. (2014). Research evaluation of PCYC Bornhoffen Catalyst intervention programs for youth-at-risk [2012- 2013]. Canberra, Australia: University of Canberra. • PCYC Bornhoffen Adventure Development (2010). Catalyst Project 2009-2010 Leading change: Literature review. Retrieved from http://www.bornhoffenpcyc.org.au/CATALYST%20LIT%20REVIEW% 202010.pdf
  25. 25. References • Neill, J. T. (2007). A measurement tool for assessing the effects of adventure-based programs on outcomes for youth-at-risk participants. Retrieved from http://wilderdom.com/tools/leq/YouthDevelopmentLEQScalesPape r.htm

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