When Outdoor Orientation Program Idioculture Changes: Understanding Student Resistance


Colleges with outdoor orientation programs often encourage student involvement through leadership experiences, including the directing of these programs. The student directors (SDs) assume significant responsibilities, including managing budgets, logistics, and the training of peer leaders. SDs also manage the program's idioculture, creating a desirable group for student peer leaders to join. Sometimes SDs have ideological conflicts with administrators leading to resistance. Administrators depend upon the free labor of SDs for the programs to run and hope to minimize conflict. We report on the experiences of three college outdoor orientation programs with change and resistance. Our findings suggest SDs in this study shared similar narratives about their program that resulted in resistance to change, such as believing their program is unique, misunderstood without direct experience, only understood by peers, and that their experience is the correct experience to replicate. These beliefs are legitimized in the outdoor orientation program's idioculture, a system of beliefs and behaviors.



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Research in Outdoor Education


Cornell University Press

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