The Cooperative Adventure Philosophy
The Outdoor Adventure Center outings are based on the cooperative adventure concept. For a current schedule of Cooperative Adventure Trips, see the online Calendar.
A Cooperative Adventure trips emphasize education, communication and teamwork. Over the years, we've found it to be a powerful concept and wonderful way in which people work together.
Cooperative Adventure programming works well for the OAC and the students of Idaho State University because the OAC provides resources, including staffing, vehicles, and equipment to help facilitate the cooperative adventure based trip program. Cooperative Adventure provides leaders and some trip structure, while preserving many benefits such as interpersonal cooperation, freedom of choice, self-reliance among participants, and participant decision making. Shared responsibilities by participants include: helping to plan and organize the trip, risk management for themselves as well as the overall group, cooking, washing dishes, loading and unloading vehicles, buying food, cleaning up the equipment after the trip, etc.
The person who developes the idea for a trip is known as the trip leader. The trip leader will put together information on their trip such as equipment needed, experience needed, cost, location, pre-trip meeting time, etc.
The trip will then be posted on the Outdoor Adventure Center trip board, calendar, and other appropriate forms of advertisement. Sign-ups: Once the trip is posted, people who are interested in the trip can sign up.
A few days before the trip, a pre-trip meeting is held. In the meeting, everyone that will be participating on the trip comes together to discuss all aspects of the trip and to make final decisions on location, activities, food, vehicles, etc. Individuals interested in the trip will also have the chance to find out what the trip is really about and can decide if the trip is for them or not. The meeting helps the trip participants learn what clothing and equipment are appropriate for that particular trip. Liability and risk forms are also read over and signed by participants at the pre-trip meeting.
During the trip, to foster education and the development of leadership skills different members of the group may take a leadership role. Group involvement is encouraged for decisions making and goal setting. Everyone's opinion is heard. As the group gains more knowledge and skill, they can be involved more in the decision making process.
Cooperative Adventure trips participants management risk for themselves as well as the overall group everyone is working for the common good of the group. One of the shared responsibilities of the trip is keeping an eye out for each other. Because of the democratic nature of the trip, any participant can feel comfortable about vocalizing their concerns for potential problems. The trip leader has the final call on decisions that relate to the welfare of the group.
Learning on the trip:
Cooperative Adventure trips create an ideal environment for experiential learning. There are, of course, no designated teachers. Trip leaders, as well as other knowledgeable participants help educate those who have less experience. This education and participation in the activity help perticipants become their own risk managers by allowing them to make more educated decisions on their own behalf.
The group continues to be involved in the trip even when it's over. If equipment needs to becleaned or unloaded, the participants will stick around and continue to share responsibilities.