Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities
Articles Information
Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vol.1, No.2, May 2015, Pub. Date: May 11, 2015
Empowerment and Participation in Organized Outdoor Activities
Pages: 82-91 Views: 2683 Downloads: 813
[01] Chris McVittie, Division of Psychology and Sociology, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, UK.
[02] Karen Goodall, Division of Psychology and Sociology, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, UK.
[03] Fiona O’May, School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, UK.
Empowerment is a central focus for much work in community psychology. Yet what constitutes empowerment is commonly problematic, especially in relation to programs for young people. We report outcomes from a case study of a UK program designed to empower young people through participation in organized outdoor activities. Grounded theory analysis of data from program leaders (n=10) identified four themes as relevant to success, namely 1) acquiring skills, 2) increasing self-efficacy, 3) prior community links, and 4) challenges in in social participation. Attempts to elicit young people’s (n=30) understandings were unsuccessful as they withdrew prior to completing the program. Such outcomes might be taken to indicate lack of engagement and lack of empowerment. On an alternative interpretation, however, lack of engagement might demonstrate participants’ power to make meaningful decisions. This interpretation points to the difficulties of attempting to define empowerment in practice and of seeking to assess the success of such programs.
Community, Empowerment, Grounded Theory, Participation, Power, Young People
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