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Abstract

This paper considers the case of Outward Bound South Africa (OBSA), an outdoor adventure education program specifically designed for disadvantaged youth in the aftermath of apartheid in South Africa. Founded by American philanthropist Charles Stetson, the goal of OBSA is to provide recourse for South Africans who are victims of history and culture. OBSA seeks to instill values and to create economic empowerment for at-risk youth in the midst of severe social and economic deprivation. Recently, OBSA initiated a faith-based component to their program that follows many of the tenets of the original founder of Outward Bound, German educator Kurt Hahn. This paper is an assessment of that effort. The research consists of pretest and posttest surveys of 453 South African students who went through the OBSA program between 2005 and 2012. Results suggest that of the fifteen different variables studied, participants showed statistically significant improvement on twelve in the traditional educational program. In the faith-based program, the average increase was greater than for the traditional data in thirteen of the fifteen variables, and it was statistically significant from the pretest to the posttest on 11 of the variables.

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