History of AE
Adventure Education was born out of the concept that play can be purposeful – through natural forms of recreation and leisure one can attain personal growth. As this form of education evolved, it became more defined.Outward Bound used the natural environment for youth development programs in the 1940s that included activities like orienteering, expeditions, service and simulations. In fact, it has been said that the concept of “ropes” courses actually started on sailing ships!
The disequilibrium created by “looking risk in the face” produced a perfect platform for introducing leadership and life skills. Project Adventure brought simulated activities into the classroom in the 1970s and then transferred learning into other areas of life. The concept of transfer of learning is the most important purpose of adventure education: taking what is learned in a simulation and transferring it back to the school, home, field, court, office, or other environment. Bradford Woods began using challenge courses (or ropes courses) in the early 1980s during summer camp and then extended their use to environmental education programs. Soon after, Adventure Education became its own program area.