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Outline of a post-graduate diploma research project being supervised by James Neill, 2009. This involved collecting quantitative and qualitative data from up to 54 past participants of a wilderness-based youth development intervention program for young males from the Albury-Wodonga area which has been organised by the Victoria Police and conducted annually since 2004. The mail/telephone survey focuses on eliciting past program participants' experiences of the the program and estimating the extent to which the program impacted on their emotional intelligence, social competence, and life skills.



  1. Working with the Albury-Wodonga Police, this project will involve a research evaluation of a wilderness-based program for young men which has been running annually since 2004 years.
  2. The program has served approximately 55 14 to 17 year old male participants (2004-2008), with funds raised in the local community.
  3. The program has evolved in two key stages:
    1. Operation Flinders in South Australia was selected as a wilderness-component program provider (8 day program, plus driving to and from Vic-SA). The Albury-Wodonga Police also initiated a post-expedition follow-up, with a graduation dinner and a 3-4 day expedition (Wodonga Police Youth Outdoor Project). This model operated for four years (2004-2007), with approximately 40 participants.
    2. Youth Albury Wodonga was established in late 2007 after the volunteer committee took the decision not to continue with Operational Flinders. This lead instead to engagement with the YMCA Victoria's "North East Leadership Program", operating from Howmans Gap Recreation Camp, with the first program in November 2008.
  4. From the outset, the program goals have focused on a leadership model (rather than a youth-at-risk focus), and aims to benefit all levels of young men in the community. The recent shift of program providers reflects this focus.

Research project

  1. YAW have requested assistance to conduct a study investigating the experiences of previous participants.
  2. Such a research evaluation study would most likely involve:
    1. Development of a research proposal
    2. Design of a research method, most likely to involve structured interviews
    3. Literature review about theory, research, and practice of similar intervention programs.
    4. Contact and interview past participants
    5. Analysis of data
    6. Report writing
  3. YAW will cover out-of-pocket expenses, including travel/accommodation for any site visits that may be deemed necessary

Who might suit the project?

Students interested in:

  1. engagement with a community-conducted group-based intervention program
  2. program evaluation
  3. youth and leadership development
  4. conducting interviews

Key words


  1. Raymond, I. V. (2003). Risk, Criminogenic need and responsivity: An evaluative framework applied to the Operation Flinders wilderness therapy program for youth-at-risk. Unpublished honours thesis, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia.
  2. Raymond, I. V. (2004). Wilderness Therapy: Is it the "Magical Cure" for Marginalised Youth?. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Environment Education Conference.

See also

  1. Operation Flinders