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Development as a Outdoor Educator 

My development as a Outdoor Educator began In year 11 when I completed my first Outdoor Ed topic. I quickly engaged in the topic and continued to year 12. These two years saw me learn all the basic skills suchas Rock climbing, Kayaking/Canoeing, and Bushwalking. This gave me the confidence to go out with mates and experience these out of school hours. This is when I was given the chance to go to New Zealand for two weeks, where myself and a couple other year 12 students would assist the teachers in leading the program. The three weeks in New Zealand changed my perspective of what It meant to be a leader and what responsibilities came with it. Mike Meredith, my Year 12 teacher was nice enough to push me towards a new course starting at Flinders University. This is where I’ve been for the last three years. Continuously expanding my knowledge and abilities, becoming a better leader, while also learning the ins and outs of the Outdoor Industry.

My Beliefs As an Outdoor Leader

Throughout my university degree, I have met many Outdoor Leaders, and all of them have had different styles of Leadership, qualities, and beliefs. Some prefer putting their participants through harsh conditions and unnecessary amounts of work, where others prefer to connect more with their participants allowing for better interactions, more trust, and most importantly allowing that participant to better themselves either by accomplishing something new or feeling better about themselves.

 

My University course has helped me become a leader which will be most effective for the growing Outdoor Industry. As an growing outdoor leader I believe that experiential learning is an important threshold which all leaders should integrate into their teaching/leading style. Allowing the participants to be responsible for their own learning and decision making helps participants feel empowered and allows for the experience of early adulthood. On a recent bushwalk with Year 11's, I was given the chance to run a reflection session, the students were crushed and didn’t have much left in them, so I used experiential learning and gave them 15 minutes to go off by themselves and reflect on the day, what they could have done better, what would you change if you did it again. The students were given control if they participated in this activity as I didn’t feel the need to force them at that time. After the 15 minutes ended, the students came back into a group and started a deep conversation about the day. The students explained the way they were feeling and apologised to others if they felt like they said something throughout the trip. After I sat down with them and reflected on their experience of the activity, and I was overwhelmed that all the students enjoyed the activity. They normally aren’t given the time to reflect on their day and take those emotions throughout the trip. This activity changed my view on experiential learning as I will use this threshold throughout my career. I am also a big advocate of Adventure-Based therapy in how it allows participants to venture outside their comfort zone and see themselves in a new light. Importantly how peoples mental health can benefit from Adventure-based therapy.

 

Recently I have been introduced to Nature play and the many advantages it has on young adults and children. Allowing adolescnets to connect with nature not by just going to the playground but feeling, hearing, smelling and seeing the environment and how that can improve their perception of the outdoors at a older age. As I continue to grow my knowledge around Nature play, I'll be sure to be using it in the future, especially if I am given a younger group of kids which find being outside adventurous enough. 

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