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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Outdoor / Rec programs

I am currently enrolled in a Child and Youth Care program and am extremely curious about the combination of outdoor rec programs and Child and Youth Care practices. Would anyone be willing to share with me their experiences in this area?

Sharon G.
B.C., Canada

Hi Sharon,
in response to your question about links between Child and Youth Care practice and outdoor programmes, I can tell you that for many children this can indeed be a very useful and productive combination. We are – largely because of the perfect location of our house – a unit with a specific emphasis on outdoor and recreational activities for the children in our care.

May I draw your attention to our website at , where you can find further information.

Kind regards,
Manfred Humer

Power to Be in Victoria BC has a great program.
Most of the staff are Child and Youth Care workers.

Jennifer Jenkins

Hi Sharon,

I highly recommend that you check Craigwood Youth Services website. It is a youth treatment centre in London Ontario that has a very strong outdoor program called The 6 Rivers Wilderness Program. It is an experiential, adventure-based therapeutic program designed by the Craigwood staff. It's an excellent program.

Bev Anderson-Thibodeau
London ON

Hi Sharon
I just heard about this program on the news, It sounds very interesting.

Carrie McDermott

From: John Rogerson []
Sent: 05 March 2010 08:18 PM


A number of students in the Child and Youth Care Programs at Vancouver Island University (VIU) combine Child and Youth Care with PHED courses including outdoor recreation. May/June this year Child and Youth Care and PHED student will be involved in a 6 credit experince taught jointly between Child and Youth Care and PHED. Despite the evolving scope of Child and Youth Care practice, being with children, youth and families, continues to be a primary approach to care that is a part of our professional history and identity.

Been a few years since I have had the rewarding experiences of being with children/youth in the outdoors..transformative experience for me, for sure and I expect them (:

Hope others with more recent experience will find time to comment about this important 'context' of practice.

John Rogerson

Hi Johnfrom VIU,

What is the goal of the students combining Child and Youth Care with the PHED?Are they purposefully trying to develop or experience an outdoor rec type contextto further integrate this aspect of care into their professional practices as CYC's?

Thank you forsharing,


Thank you Manfred, for sharing that link. It sounds likethe program offersmany activities that envelope a person's needs to explore, create, and share experiences with others in a community setting that is presentwith the group care home setting.

What do you see happen when the children in your care have access to the outdoor rec activities? Do you notice a change in them at all?

Can you share any success stories?

Thanks again,

I am not sure if you are looking for a community response but I'd like to add some thoughts I have on the benefits and challenges to the use of experiential recreational programs for youth development. Generally rec programs as they relate to adventure learning and such in my experience can be provide great short and long term benefits for individual and group outcomes. Cost and accessibility and life-long participation in some recreational activities in the adventure realm though are not always accessible for urban and low-income populations of youth. Too in terms of wilderness adventure based experiences we often must deal with cultural obstacles to engaging in learning environments for some historically oppressed groups. There are many good recreational opportunities to be had in urban contexts that involve very little overhead, training and insurance and can produce good outcomes especially those aligned with cultural norms of many of the populations these youth come from. Dance, music and drama, while not traditional recreational programming offer many accessible opportunities for experiential learning and growth for youth and groups of youth and intergenerational family groups.

Just my thoughts...

Peter DeLong

Thank you Sharon,

There are certainly several benefits, which is why we do it! In addition to physical and senso-motoric improvements, especially in their coordination, we see a significant increase in the children's self esteem. Conquering fears, experiencing and pushing personal limits, mastering (new) tasks, all these things lead to a personal growth in the young people. We always reflect on these experiences with the young people, so they can transfer some of the learning into other parts of everyday life. On top of that we notice improvements in their concentration, general fitness, and in their ability to feel and become aware of their own body and its needs. A lot of our activities require working together as a team, which of course promotes that skill.

Most importantly, the children have a lot of fun during the outdoor activities and we see many smiles whilst out and about, e.g. when paddling on the river. As the majority of our children and young people come from very deprived and sometimes abusive backgrounds, we find it wonderful to (at least for some time) watch them as children without worries enjoying themselves.

Manfred Humer

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