Leo H McAvoy, E Curtis Schatz, Mary E Stutz, Stuart J Schleien, Greg Lais


This research studies the effects of participation in an integrated wilderness adventure program on the personal and lifestyle traits ofpersons with and without disabilities. Participants in a national wilderness trip program, Wilderness Inquiry, were studied using both quantitative (trait anxiety scale) and qualitative (in-depth interview) methods. Results indicated that participation in an integrated wilderness adventure program can lead to positive attitude and lifestyle changes for those with and without disabilities. Positive changes included: attitudes toward persons of varying abilities, interpersonal relationships, confidence levels, willingness to take risks, feelings about self, goal-setting abilities, development of leisure skills, tolerance of stress, and an increased ability to approach new situations.

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The National Council expresses its gratitude to Greg Lais, executive director of Wilderness Inquiry, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for conducting this study, Wilderness Accessibility for People with Disabilities: A Report to the President and the Congress of the United States on Section 507 (a) of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In addition, we wish to recognize Leo McAvoy, PhD, and Laura Fredrickson of Wilderness Inquiry for their assistance.

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Lynn Anderson, Stuart J. Schleien, Leo McAvoy, Greg Lais, Deborah Seligmann

This paper reports on the efficacy of an integrated outdoor adventure program in creating positive change for people with and without disabilities. Utilizing a variety of measurements, this longitudinal study (2V2 years) found increases in relationship development, canoeing skills, and several quality of life indicators as a result of participation in a wilderness canoe adventure program. The study also found a maintenance of high positive attitudes toward persons with disabilities over the 2 V2 year study period.