The Outdoor Experience

Bush Adventure Therapy for young people with substance abuse issues.

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The Outdoor Experience (TOE) is an adventure and nature based program offering young people a unique opportunity for learning, growth and connection in a supportive environment. We specialise in Bush Adventure Therapy and are funded to partner with agencies or organised groups supporting young people 15-25 years of age with drug and alcohol issues.

How does the program help?

TOE utilises Adventure Based Learning principles (ABL) and range of therapeutic practices to provide a powerful environment for achieving positive outcomes for participants. Participants learn more about themselves, strengthen relationships with others, and develop a greater appreciation of their relationship with nature.

The TOE (day) program has been invaluable to the PARC program with noticeable impact to our participants. The results of this program are exciting and inspirational!


PARC Manager

Prevention and Recovery Care

How does the program work?

Programs delivered by TOE may involve a series of day programs or multiple day or overnight trips.

Each program is tailored to address the specific aims of the agencies and individuals participating. Other core factors in our TOE programs include:

  • Participant readiness: Participants choose and are willing to participate in all aspects of the program.
  • Active involvement of the agency worker: Agency workers participate in all aspects of the program. The program provides many opportunities for agency workers to build on their relationship with participants and further develop participants learning and the transference of these learning into their lives.
  • Responsiveness: Programs are modified in response to emerging needs.
  • Simplicity: We aim to ‘travel light’ on program and live simply. Our focus is on individual growth, building a supportive group environment and further developing our relationship with nature.
  • Nature: Programs explore participants relationship with nature.
  • Adventure/journey: Programs are designed to provide young people with a sense of personal achievement, at times significant enough to be used as a life reference point.
  • Personal reflection: Experiential education methodologies such as action-reflection aims to grow the capacity of participants to actively reflect on their behaviour and choices both during and after the program.
  • Small group work and closed group design: We work with groups sizes of 6 to 12 including staff. On program we aim to protect the focus of that group for the duration of the program by maintaining independence from external influences and other groups.

Participants reflected on the incredible memories they gained, the learnings they discovered, new perspectives, the benefits of working as a team, appreciation of nature, compassion for one another, and gratitude for things they may usually take for granted.


Brendan Ritchie

Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC)

Who can participate in the program?

TOE is funded to work with already organised or established groups.

Where is TOE offered?

The Outdoor Experience is based in Kew in Melbourne’s inner-north, however it provides activities at sites across Victoria.

Find out more.

For more information, contact The Outdoor Experience Coordinator Jenny Vran at jenny.vran@jss.org.au