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Faculty Mentors

Sharene Smoot

Abstract

This study is based on a research study that examined the concept of trust as a critical characteristic in the relationship between facilitator and participant in an outdoor education experience. Data was collected from 35 graduate and undergraduate students in an outdoor education academic program at a small university in the southeast. Participants completed a 14 question survey that combined Likert scale response items with several open-ended short answer questions. Survey questions explored the characteristics necessary for a facilitator to possess in order to create a relationship of trust with participants, as well as defining the concepts of trust and relationships. Data analysis indicated no statistically significant difference in the responses between graduate and undergraduate students for all but one question. The results signify that a relationship of trust is a critical component to an outdoor education experience, and facilitators must possess certain competencies in order to foster these relationships. The nature of trust is a vital component in the foundation of an outdoor education experience.

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