Do you believe kids should spend more time in the outdoors? Remember all the fun we had as kids exploring, climbing trees, building a cubby and getting dirty. School camp, bushwalking, riding a bike, canoeing and rock climbing are all great ways to get kids in the outdoors. It can be a residential camp, a day of outdoor led activity or a week long journey.
The benefits of outdoor activity and engaging with the environment are well documented. And yet only half of Victorian school kids spend 3-5 days annually on outdoor programmes.
Tony Pammer CEO of the Outdoor Education Group recently outlined his goal to get 80% of students aged 10-18 to participate in 7 days of outdoor activities a year at the Australian Camps Association conference Kids Outdoors: A Growing Need. John Lindross from AusCamp is working toward a similar goal.
Tony’s goal is so simple, and yet to date has been impossible to achieve. Victoria is a world leader in terms of school camping, and yet we still do so little outdoor education. At the last state election the defeated Labour Government proposed a fantastic looking Yr 9 camp programme. But why limit such a program to just Yr 9? Cost? But surely the benefits to our kids wellbeing and education outweigh the limited costs. Plenty of schools are already aware of the benefits of such programmes.
I remember my school camps like they were yesterday, Yr 2 sleepover in the library, Yr 4 camping at Middle Creek, Yr 6 trip to Canberra, Yr 7 orientation camp at Weekaway, Yr 9 history excursion to Pioneer Settlement Swan Hill, and later overnight hikes at Mt Cole, in the Grampians and up Mt Bogong.
They were the highlights of my schooling and helped me build personal organization skills, resilience and created a sense of adventure. A wellbeing that helped balance the rest of my studies.