Stay informed with the latest updates on coronavirus (COVID-19). Find out more >>

The Outdoor Youth Programs Research Alliance OYPRA

  • Note: this is a past research project that is now complete. 


    The Outdoor Youth Programs Research Alliance (OYPRA) is an Australian group looking at documenting the benefits of outdoor programs for young people. The Alliance was founded in 2009 with the aim of developing a long-term program of high quality research that evaluates the potential benefits of outdoor, camping and nature-based programs on the resilience, learning and wellbeing of young Australians.

    OYPRA has developed a program of research that seeks to build on the Australian evidence of benefits to young people taking part in outdoor programs, as well as identifying the key ingredients of effective programs that might contribute to positive outcomes.

    This program of research includes the following projects:

    National Survey of Australian Outdoor Youth Programs, which set out to establish, for the first time, a comprehensive picture of the scope and diversity of outdoor youth programs on offer in Australia.

    The Camping, Adventure, Nature – Outdoor Programs for Youth (CANOPY) study, which aimed to investigate the potential benefits that outdoor programs may have on young people’s health and wellbeing.

    Key Components of Outdoor Youth Programs: A Review of Empirical Literature, which looks at evidence of the effectiveness of key components of outdoor programs in promoting positive youth development.

    A Controlled Crossover Trial Investigating the Impact of an Outdoor Adventure Program on Positive Adolescent Development, which has involved the design, delivery and formal evaluation of a new outdoor youth program, drawing on best practice about what works.

    Key papers

    Rose, L., Williams, I.R., Olsson, C.A., & Allen, N.B. (2018). Promoting Adolescent Health and Well-Being Through Outdoor Youth Programs: Results From a Multisite Australian Study. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 10(1). Retrieved from:

    Williams, I. R., & Allen, N. B. (2012). National Survey of Australian Outdoor Youth Programs. Summary Report of the Outdoor Youth Programs Research Alliance. Retrieved from:

    Williams, I. R., Rose, L. M., Olsson, C. A., Patton, G. C., & Allen, N. B. (2018). The impact of outdoor youth programs on positive adolescent development: Study protocol for a controlled crossover trial. International Journal of Educational Research, 87, 22-35. Retrieved from:

    Collaborators and Supporters

    The Alliance is hosted by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and University of Oregon. The team includes representatives from the outdoor industry, the health research sector, government bodies, and non-profit community organisations.

    Considerable in-kind and financial support has been provided by members of the OYPRA, including Sport and Recreation Victoria, The Outdoor Education Group, YMCA Victoria, Uniting Church Camping, Outward Bound Australia, the Outdoor Council of Australia, Australian Camps Association, and Operation Newstart Victoria.

    Further information

    For further information please visit the project website at or contact Dr. Ian Williams