The Participation of Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults in Nature-Based Recreation

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Department or Administrative Unit

Family and Consumer Sciences

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This investigation considers the participation of children, adolescents and young adults in nature-based recreation. We draw upon the recreation narratives of forty-seven adult recreationists in the activities of tramping, angling, hunting and mountaineering, obtained from in-depth interviews. In particular, the study considers the transitions from childhood through adolescence to young adulthood, and examines how our participants maintained their participation, or alternatively, disengaged from their activity over this period. The paper provides empirical support for the role of family, and early exposure to nature based recreation in fostering enduring participation. Failing this, the role of school, club and outdoor organizational support and mentoring, right through to tertiary study was highlighted. We also identify a critical role for unstructured outdoor play for young children in nature. The paper discusses challenges for this, and for mentoring, in both formal and informal senses, as pathways into nature-based recreation in an increasingly risk averse society.


This article was originally published in Leisure Sciences. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Leisure Sciences


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