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Research

Research on Purple Soup’s Adventure Therapy Model has been carried out over the last few years with exciting results.

Purpose

Adventure Therapy uses a wide range of games and activities to achieve as many positive therapeutic outcomes as possible, while also having fun in a safe and supportive environment. Adventure therapy provides challenging programs for children and their families who have been affected by serious illness. Facilitators are energetic, engaging, compassionate and caring. They have knowledge of epilepsy and counselling skills, as well as being experienced in facilitating adventure activity.

Method

In the past year, 128 people with a life threatening condition have participated in the program attending one of five Adventure Therapy Camps held in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. Each camp was held over three days. The following data was collected from families at the start and end of the camp using a standardised survey:

  • 
Feelings of isolation
  • Level of peer support
  • Confidence and
  • Knowledge of seizures and epilepsy

Surveys were completed by an adult member of the family. The post-camp survey also included quantitative and qualitative questions about satisfaction with the camp. All quantitative data was collected using a five point rating scale. Qualitative data has been themed for analysis.

Results

Key quotes:

  • “It’s a support network in the guise of fun”
  • “It will stretch your limits but you will be inspired by other families and will have the time of your life.”
  • “Networking with other families and going day to day with others like our family was good….We got to feel ‘normal’”
  • “Positive and amazing experience”

Survey results demonstrate the effectiveness of Adventure Therapy Camps with improvements on all measures.
The biggest improvement was in peer support (45%). Families reported that the camp helped them to increase the circle of peers they would contact for support. There was a 28% improvement in confidence in managing challenging situations, a 14% reduction in isolation and a small increase in knowledge. The post camp survey showed high levels of satisfaction in all areas.

Thematic Analysis

Feedback from camp participants shows the most frequently mentioned
benefits of the camps are:

Networking with others and making new friends “Hanging out with other families who understand my condition…great for the
siblings to see the same medical condition in other families.”
Supportive staff “Purple Soup are fantastic, …Great warmth and heart from you all. Thanks for helping out with all our children to give adults some space together.”

The range of fun activities and games, with the flying fox, archery and rock climbing often nominated as favourites.
 Other benefits included:

  • Fun
  • Challenging
  • Help with kids / childminding
  • Warm and friendly atmosphere
  • Learning

Conclusion

Adventure Therapy Camps are an effective response to the issues of isolation and anxiety commonly experienced by people with a medical condition and their families. Adventure Therapy Camps provide a supportive environment which helps families with epilepsy to relax, network with others and make new friends. Evaluations demonstrate a reduced sense of isolation with families reporting that they would contact these new members of their peer network for support in the future. The camps also increase families’ confidence in their ability to manage challenging situations and their knowledge of epilepsy. Families report that the camp provides challenges which stretch their limits. The majority of families report that family relationships are strengthened as a result of these
shared experiences. The activities undertaken at the camp are designed to extend skills, such as problem solving and team work, while also enhancing children’s self esteem, confidence and trust. Most importantly, the activities are safe and fun. The partner organisation’s experience in conducting Adventure Therapy Camps over the past three years has led to the conclusion that camps offer unique benefits that could not be achieved as quickly using traditional methods.