Outdoors Victoria News
February 2015

Victoria's outdoor leaders agree on four top priorities 

On 5-6 March, 42 leaders from across Victoria's outdoor community gathered at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club to consider priorities and opportunities for us in the coming years.

A full report on the outcomes of this inaugural Outdoor Leaders Forum is in preparation, but here's a sneak peak at the four aspirations identified by the participants as common ground:

1) Communication. There was great interest in developing a well-tested set of shared messages to improve the effectiveness of our communication with decision-makers and the public as a whole.
2) Investment. There is broad recognition of the opportunities for improved investment in infrastructure, programs, events and land management to unlock outdoor activities for all. The challenge is in working up specific proposals that fit the priorities of regional development, public health and education budgets, and/or private philanthropic and commercial investors.
3) Workforce. While our workforce is among the best in the world, there are also big challenges in the skills and training arena, as well as more work needed to develop attractive professional pathway that draw people into careers in the outdoors, and keep them there.
4) Participation. We all want to get more people outdoors more often, and in addition to the above strategies there is strong interest in finding innovative ways to combine and cross-fertilise our efforts at improving participation.

The results of the forum will be used to inform the a national active recreation strategy current under development by the state and territory governments, as well as Victoria-specific projects.

Big thanks to all participants, and for those who couldn't make it, fear not: you'll have an opportunity to comment on these priorities and help us drive them ahead this year.
Have your say on regional development
Do you have ideas about how to deliver better results for regional Victoria through investment in outdoor experiences? Let our government know by making a submission to the review of Regional Development Victoria. The deadline for submissions is April 10, so get cracking.

Outdoors Victoria's submission focuses on the case for outdoor investments to drive regional economic growth. We're encouraging the state to revitalise a nature-based tourism strategy, ensure all kids have a meaningful outdoor educational experience throughout their development, restore funding for parks management, and invest in outdoors infrastructure, including environmental protection measures.

Premier's Active April around the corner

There's lots of good reasons to be active, especially in April. Do it for yourself. Do it for the Premier. Or do it to go in the draw for four tix to this year's footy Grand Final! Or one of lots of other prizes. Or to get discounts and freebies at YMCA, Sportsmart and others... seriously, just do it. Register now for Active April, I just did.

Oh, and I know what you're thinking: "I'm already active, why would I bother signing up?" Well, by doing so you will be helping add to the critical mass of participation that will mean more resources for this and other active and outdoors programs in future. So take the five minutes to help build our impact as an outdoors community.

Nature Play Week 2015

While we're on the topic of April, Victoria's awesome nature play squad (Cecile, Em, Dimity and Chris)  have done it again, organising a fantastic and joyous week of play outside for our kids. Nature Play Week this year will be from 11-19 April. Hop onto their website to find out all about it, to list an event, to register for the launch event with children's author Alison Lester, and so much more.

AdventurePro Video Festival

The 2015 AdventurePro Video Festival will be held on May 2-3 at the Mansfield Armchair Cinemas, Mansfield Victoria. There's still time to get your video submitted, the deadline is Friday, 3 April. There were some pretty spectacular films last year, and I'm sure this year will keep pace. Hope to see you there. Full details including information about submitting films is on the website.

Farewell Shorebirds

Australia's shorebirds have started their epic migration to the Arctic, which Birdlife Australia tells us is the equivalent of 309 consecutive marathons with only one or two stops for water along the way. Birdlife has set up a gorgeous website where you can learn about the birds, find out where they are up to, and even register to try to run, jog, cycle, swim or roll as far as the birds fly. So far, Aussies have travelled a cumulative total of 2619 kilometers. Not a bad start, but I suspect the birds are winning. There are also lots of links to real world events celebrating these magnificent animals. Have a look!

(Just kidding about the rolling.)

Sea Kayaking Educators Symposium

Another world first for Monash University, which is collaborating with the Outward Bound Hong Kong Trust to put on the first-ever International Sea Kayaking Educators Symposium, to be held in Hong Kong on 30 Nov - 4 Dec 2015. Fantastic work by Beau Miles, as convener of the event. If you run into Beau, ask him if he's going to paddle or fly there. 

Mobile Boatshed

Yachting Victoria, the peak body for sailing in our state, is rolling out a nice little bit of innovation called the mobile boatshed. It's a way to introduce sailing at the primary and secondary school level, with a range of courses that can be delivered to suitable venues across the state. With programs mapped to the Health & PE, Maths, English and Science curricula, this is a fantastic addition to a school's outdoor ed program. Over to the website for more info, booking details, and some great photos.

Outdoors internship

Outdoors Victoria is open for applications to our internship program. Internships running from 4-12 weeks are available, and can be scheduled flexibly to fit in with study and other commitments. Interns will gain exposure to a broad range of issues and organisations in the outdoor community, and will contribute to OV social media and other communications, policy research and development, and business strategy and systems. Please contact Chuck Berger on 0417 447599 to discuss further.
A word from the Chair...
Two years ago, Victoria shifted to a user pays funding model in our parks by introducing camping fees.
Last month, the USA did exactly the opposite.
Under the banner “Every Kid in a Park”, US President Barack Obama announced that every year four child and their family would get a free 1-year pass to all US National Parks. Further, the government will subsidise transportation for schools that need it, and will provide supporting curriculum materials.
Announcing the initiative, the President said “We want every fourth-grader to have the experience of getting out and discovering America.  We want them to see the outside of a classroom too; see all the places that make America great.  Put down the smartphone for a second.  Put away the video games.  Breathe in some fresh air and see this incredible bounty that’s been given to us.”
Remarkably for US politics, the President’s announcement was applauded by Democrats and Republicans, young and old, city and country, religious and secular groups. 
How good would it be for Australia to implement a similar program?
This is a tremendous initiative by the US, and what appeals most about President Obama’s speech and the program itself is its unembarrassed idealism. It is not justified primarily on economic grounds, but rather on a deeper sense that outdoors experience is fundamental to personhood and nationhood.
To give credit, the Victorian Government has committed increased funding for school camps and excursions. But what a moment it would be if the “user pays” fixation were to give way just a little towards the idea of parks as a universal entitlement. For our kids, at least.
- Scott Chapman, Outdoors Victoria Chairman
Calendar of upcoming events
31 March    Closing date for submissions, outdoor training package review. Details here
1-31 April    Premier's Active April, statewide    Details here
10 April   Closing date for submissions, Regional Development Victoria review.  Details here
11-19 April  Nature Play Week, events statewide. Details here
11-12 April   Kids Adventure Outdoors Festival, Anglesea  Details and registration here
2-3 May    AdventurePro Video Festival, Marysville  Details here
22-24 May   Outdoor Education 2015, Marysville     Details and registration here
30 Nov-4 Dec  International Sea Kayaking Educators Conference, Hong Kong. Details here

Know of any happenings or information you think should go out to OV’s mailing list?  Flick me a note and I’ll include it in our next update.
Chuck Berger, CEO  0417 447599  /  /

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