A Qualitative Investigation of Californian Youth Interests in the Outdoors


  • Marni Goldenberg California Polytechnic State University
  • Katherine Wassenberg California Polytechnic State University
  • Jerusha Greenwood California Polytechnic State University
  • William Hendricks California Polytechnic State University
  • Jeff Jacobs California Polytechnic State University
  • Jason Cummings California Polytechnic State University




Prior research has found connections between youth participation in recreational activities and academic achievement, civic involvement, and improved health. To investigate California youth outdoor recreation attitudes, behaviors, and constraints, eight focus groups were conducted with community recreation center youth participants. Youth answered 10 questions about their experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of outdoor recreation. Data were analyzed using grounded theory. Three to seven axial codes were identified for each question. Results showed that youth want to have more access to outdoor recreational activities. However, there are frequently considerable constraints for the youth to overcome including draws of technology, family obligations, and laziness. Safety was a recurring concern among participants. Understanding youth attitudes and perceptions allows managers to meet youth needs, program for youth interests, and provides a strong foundation for marketing and as a rational for funding grants.






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