Behavioural Safety

Mr Graham Pringle1

1Youth Flourish Outdoors Ltd

Students who fit poorly into classrooms seem to perform better in the outdoors. However, when they arrive at camp their behaviours are often challenging and escalate beyond those experienced at school. The experience can become one of survival and constant boundary enforcement. Less dramatic but often psychologically worse are those students who shut down and withdraw during activities.

What goes wrong?

It is a tale of two competing brain based responses that leave little choice to be exercised by the student. They do not choose to be disruptive. This workshop will describe the theories about teenage responses to childhood adversity. The brain based systems at play when these students arrive in the outdoors will be summarised.

Strategies for harnessing the brains quite predictable responses to new outdoor experiences will be workshopped. Participants will divide into activity specific group to analyse their group leading procedures. Each group will plan to cater for these student’s needs while also creating excellent outdoor learning activities for their class peers.


Graham has experience in Residential and Foster Care, Outdoor Education, Adventure Based Youth Work and Adult Training. He leads the youth Flourish Outdoors program team. Graham has spent 13 years pursuing adventure as therapy for adolescents and is now researching the field through a Master in Philosophy degree at Griffith University. He enjoys training adults in adventure therapy and designing programs that stop young people from acquiring mental illness. Having worked outdoors with young people since 1985 he has also studied widely and holds an Masters of Arts (Outdoor Education), Graduate Diploma in Social Science (Psychology) and a Graduate Diploma in Education. Graham has recently finished writing a book for youth workers who wish to take young people on therapeutic programs and plans to write also for adventure workers and adventure therapy planners. He and his wife Janelle (also a carer, youth worker and assistant in nursing) live at Mapleton in Qld and enjoy using their camper trailer on trips away. His favourite outdoor pursuits are bushwalking, canoeing and photography.

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