Workgroup Updates

November 9, 2020

After a short break to let the storm pass, the Summit workgroups are back on track! On November 2, representatives from Training and Certification Framework, Education, Consensus, Accepted Practices, and Accessibility workgroups came together to assess progress and plan future actions. Here’s an update on their amazing work.

-> Consensus: Develop a consensus statement about the value of Led Outdoor Activity in Canada.

Much research and documentation have been gathered. The workgroup is focusing on 5 particular aspects: Health and wellbeing, economic prosperity, quality education, identity, and environmental prosperity. 

Between now and the Summit, the plan is to:

  • Organize and make accessible a Library of information.
  • Send a survey sometime in February to ensure they are in the right ballpark and are not missing something important.
  • Reflect on how all this gathered information can be brought to the Summit in 2021 regarding leverage to better support the outdoor sector.

-> Accepted Practices: Compile and share best practices, structures, and systems related to Led Outdoor Activity across Canada.

Through their efforts, the team has identified 8 areas that are important for organizations. These areas are Organizational purpose and vision, Administrative practice and governance, Organizational risk management, Risk management in the field, Documentation and accountability, Activity guidelines and standards, Intentional programming, and Sustainability. Unlike the burden that a long list of policies and procedures would bring, these guidelines aim at optimizing knowledge to empower the community.

Between now and the Summit, the plan is to: 

      • Further flesh out the 8 identified areas.
      • Bring this information to the Summit and use the gathering to see if these can be endorsed as accepted practices for Led Outdoor Activity programs in Canada.
      • The goal is not to have a complete “product” by the Summit, but to take one step towards becoming more coherent in the sector. 

-> Training and Certification Framework: Discuss and develop a proposed national framework of competency training for outdoor leaders.

Training and certification is a contentious topic in the outdoor community. The team is taking things slow to ensure the work is done well. Focus is shifting towards developing a framework that recognizes existing training and certifications across the country. Such a sector-specific framework, including technical, leadership, facilitation, and first aid skills, would help:

  • Train organizations and make it easier for outdoor leaders to improve their skills;
  • Avoid the common reality of having to redo a course when moving to a new part of the country;
  • University diplomas to gain better recognition;
  • The sector to be more resilient in case of an accident.

Between now and the Summit, the plan is to: 

  • Further reflect on what a functional and respectful framework would look like.
  • Bring this information to the Summit gathering to agree with what our framework can be.
  • The goal is not to have a complete “product” by the Summit, but to take one step towards becoming more coherence in the sector. 

-> Education: Outdoor Education in K-12 institutions.

During the summer, the workgroup designed and distributed a comprehensive survey with support from the BC Teachers Federation and the Canadian Teachers Federation. This survey will help the outdoor community better understand how we can leverage our expertise to support schools in bringing students outside effectively. 

Things are paused right now because of the return to school, making it impossible for them to continue. 

Between now and the Summit, the plan is to:

    • Send the survey and analyze the results.
    • Use the gathering to share the information.
    • Make plans to support school and teachers to go outside.

-> Indigenous: Indigenous perspectives for land-based activities

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the representative of this workgroup was unable to make it to the meeting.

-> Accessibility: Accessibility to the outdoors for people with differing mobility

Through hard work, even during the Covid storm’s peak, the Accessibility workgroup has made a lot of progress. They’ve developed a toolkit for inclusion and accessibility for Led Outdoor Activities to be distributed to the community. Meant to evolve with time, it has information on program design, consideration, and a listing of organizations specializing in bringing people with differing abilities outdoors. They have even developed recommendations for the Summit project itself and other workgroups! This is a lot of concrete value to bring to the community to ensure that what is being done has a legacy and makes the outdoors more inclusive.

Between now and the Summit, the plan is to:

    • Complete the toolkit.
    • Support the reflection of other workgroup and the Summit event team.
    • Prepare a presentation for the Summit gathering.
    • Identify what needs to be done post-gathering.

Workgroups have made amazing progress exploring their respective topics and working on coordinated solutions to benefit the community as a whole. As some had halted their work to let the storm pass, they still need time to get ready for the Summit gathering in September of 2021, but all workgroups are back on track.

You will not want to miss the Summit where we’ll take the initial reflections of workgroups and shape them into what will work for the community. It will be when we go from a siloed sector to an organized community with a solid foundation showcasing our value and expertise. The future of the outdoor community is our hands!

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