Outdoor recreation and rites of passage: On the path to boys’ education

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🇳🇴 Summary in Norwegian 

Teodor Evjan & Truls Piiksi Røraas
Department of Teacher Education and Outdoor Studies
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences


A negative trend in male mental health in modern western societies is becoming increasingly evident through underachievement in school, bad self-esteem, anxiety, drug abuse and suicide-statistics. Initially, this article presents the background for the topic with sources on men’s mental health, nature as an arena for positive personal change, interdisciplinary nature therapy, and Van Genneps rites of passage (1960, ROP) as a potentially suiting program model with separative, intermediate and reincorporation stages. Inspired by the scarcity of men’s health-related topics in our field, this article aims to defend why an outdoor program based on rites of passage should be given more attention. This is done by discussing what a supervisor must consider in the use of an ROP-model in preventive cognitive nature therapy for adolescents. With a phenomenological perspective, this article study finds support in seven academically recognized articles and other additional literature from the nineties until today. It also includes theories like Antonovsky’s Salutogonese, Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning and Beames and Brown’s adventurous learning. The articles conclusion is that the model can build resilience and character change in the participants through its structure, facility for mastery, duration, guidance, and with nature as a facilitating arena. In addition, through implications for action, it notes the importance of correct cultural adaptations, who determines the defining moments and structure of the transition and, most of all, attention to the reincorporation phase. Including these, the article highlights several assumptions, potential pitfalls and limiting societal factors, and that if these are dealt with, participants’ personal changes may persist over time. With concluding remarks, the article seeks to further inspire development of ROP-based programs and notes that it is necessary to devote more attention and research to the problem and potential helping measures.


Get the full-text article on rites of passage in Norwegian


TEODOR EVJAN is a master’s student in Sports and Social Science at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. After completing a bachelor’s degree in outdoor studies, he has developed an interest in the organized impact of outdoor life on modern men’s mental health. Teodor’s research focus lies in the human–nature relationship. This includes boys’ upbringing, what fosters nature-friendly will to act, and how masculinities influence the development of sports and outdoor recreation. He works as a facilitating activity leader for Fossen Friluft and as a nature guide in the Oslo Fjord Outdoor Council.

TRULS PIIKSI RØRAAS is a PPU student (practical-pedagogical education), after completing a bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation. He has a great interest in children’s development and is particularly concerned about the school’s learning failure when dealing with all types of young people. In recent years, he has developed a greater interest in men’s mental health, and how to use outdoor life in dealing with a variety of problems. He works as a consultant with children and young people at a special school stationed on a farm in Hønefoss, and in private child welfare. In addition to this, he guides tours for Norrøna Hvitserk in Norway and abroad.


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