Personal impact of outdoor learning
Mark Leather, Senior Lecturer, Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning Faculty of Education and Social Science University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth
My outdoor learning experiences have impacted me across the course of my life.
At a young age my connection with the sea was fostered by the hours, days and weeks I spent on the beach with my family, as well as the seemingly endless nights I spent "under canvas" during my years in the scouts. My relationships with other people and with nature were firmly established in these informal times of outdoor learning.
As a young man my adventures in the USA working on an American summer camp, where the water in the lake was warm and the sun shone endlessly, were the backdrop to a wonderful cultural experience. Finally I moved to Devon to work in outdoor centres. Days spent working on the moor, on the crag, on the sea were followed by my own adventures in these fantastic locations.
Fast forward some years and I now have the privilege of working with some great young men and women studying for a degree in outdoor adventure education. There are times when the necessities of university life mean that I spend more time in front of a computer than perhaps I would truly like. However this is the most amazing job, profession, way of living that I could wish for - because I am continually nurtured by my outdoor experiences and I continue to develop my knowledge understanding and appreciation of my relationships with people, places and the planet. Learning in the outdoors is good for my mind, body and soul!