To promote and enable outdoor education and activity

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  • 08 Aug 2016 11:14 AM
    Message # 4178481
    Albi Sole (Administrator)

    At the July town-hall I suggested that we need to develop a ‘product’ that can be ‘marketed’ to Calgarians with the goal of imparting outdoor literacy. My use of terms like ‘product’ and ‘marketing’ is intended to emphasize that we need to carefully consider what it is we want to create and how we are going to communicate its value to Calgarians. However, this does not mean it should be a Disney-fied thing, in fact it must not be that.

    In order to get it right I think we need to clarify a bunch of things for ourselves. This needs to be an organized process. This is my attempt to put this organization under some headings

    My first question would be ‘What is the content of outdoor literacy? Here is a list grouped under the three headings Whitehead identifies:

    • A)      Affective Psychological content
    • i)                    Self-efficacy with respect to being active in urban-to- wilderness outdoor environments
    • ii)                   Positive attitudes about being outdoors
    • iii)                 Positive attitudes about participating in urban-to-wilderness outdoor activities (not the same as self-efficacy)
    • iv)                 Positive attitudes toward action designed to nurture and sustain resilient environments and communities
    • v)                   Empathy for others
    • vi)                 Ability to be creative in all aspects of participation
    • B)      Relationship to the environment
    • i)                    Attachment to place
    • ii)                   Knowledgeable about place (human and non-human ecology and relationships between the two)
    • iii)                 Caring about and for the environment
    • C)      Skills and Knowledge
    • i)                    Technical movement for walking/running on uneven terrain, climbing, paddling, skating, skiing, snowshoeing, biking
    • ii)                   Navigation skills – mind mapping, map and compass use
    • iii)                 Self-care: dressing for all weathers, equipment choices,
    • iv)                 Camping skills – planning, packing, tenting/bivouacking, hygiene, Leave no trace, group management, etc.
    • v)                   Urban outdoor knowledge: rules of the road, urban safety, where to go, acceptable behaviour
    • vi)                 Risk management, first aid, survival skills
    • vii)               Knowing how to find companions and venues for outdoor pursuits
    • viii)              Knowledge about befits of physical activity generally and outdoor literacy in particular

    The second question would be: What should the guiding principles/values of the content an outdoor literacy program be? (The answers to be derived from the answers to Question 1)

    • A)      Non-competitive: Competition has its place, but many of the attributes listed above cannot be reliably delivered in a competitive environment.
    • B)      Inclusive: this is derived not only from the physical literacy philosophy but is required to nurture several of the attributes listed above (empathy, nurturing resilient environments and communities, acceptable behaviour, self-efficacy, positive attitudes etc.)
    • C)      Playful: Play promotes the development of all forms of literacy and of creativity.
    • D)      Participant-centered: More than just participant-appropriate programming. a participant-centered program forms a relationship with participants that ensures the necessary support is offered to guide them through every step of the literacy development process. This is a proactive process.
    • E)      Multi-generational: aspects of the program must be designed to increase outdoor literacy to people of all ages, even when the participants of a particular program are of a narrow age range: Thus:
    • i)                    Programs for all ages
    • ii)                   Adults and older children to be empowered to lead younger children
    • iii)                 Parents to be educated to support their children while those children are in a program
    • F)       Multi-Activity: the core program itself should encompass all forms of non-competitive outdoor activity and be nurture a collaborative relationship with other forms of physical activity (e.g. Sport)
    • G)     Self-supporting: The core (delivery end) of the program needs to pay its own bills. Funding for some participants would be sought from philanthropic organizations
    • H)     Risk-Appropriate: Exposure to injury risk is calibrated so as to:
    • -          Avoid unnecessary risk that does not add appreciably to the goals of the program
    • -          Optimize the outcomes of the program.
    • -          Meets the expectations of stakeholders (there will be a need to educate stakeholders as required)

    The third question: How do we build a ‘program’ that delivers Outdoor Literacy in accordance with the principles and ethics.

    A Program has at least these contents:

    • A)      Curriculum: specific content for delivering the attributes of the outdoor literacy in accordance with the principles and ethics.
    • B)      Leader training. This will need to provide leaders with the ability to deliver the curriculum. It will need to include hard skills training (how to teach XC-skiing, etc.) with soft skills training (how to deliver a high-quality/risk-appropriate outdoor program in accordance with the principles and ethics). The various network partners are able to provide hard skills and the OCC has a program to do the soft skills.
    • C)      Guidelines/requirements for leaders
    • D)      Risk management standards and procedures:
    • E)      Administrative functions
    • F)       Marketing (communication) processes

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