What is the Outdoor Council of Canada?
The Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) is a nationally incorporated, non-profit, member-owned organization. The OCC was founded to promote universal access to outdoor education and recreation. We seek to be a trusted umbrella organization for the outdoor sector.
What is the purpose of the Outdoor Council of Canada?
The Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) promotes the integration of outdoor education and activity into the Canadian Identity.
Canadian have a long-standing tradition of connection with, and involvement in, the natural world. The decline of Canadian's connection to the outdoors through education and activity is a cause for concern since:
Physical activity in the outdoors, urban through to wilderness, has the potential to significantly increase physical activity levels of individuals resulting in improved quality of life, decreased absenteeism, increased productivity rates, and decreased strain on the Health Care system.
How does the Outdoor Council of Canada Fulfill its Mission?
We strive to be a platform for empowerment of the Outdoor Sector through:
Advocacy: We engage with outside stakeholders to
promote the value that our community provides and secure the resources we need.
Through this advocacy we improve the social and economic ecosystems within
which we work. In particular, we enhance our community’s ability to succeed by
increasing demand for their services and the value accorded to those services.
Promoting the National Outdoor Community: By promoting
collaboration within the sector we increase each others voices, and leverage
our collective experience and knowledge to advance our individual and
collective missions. In this our organizational values reflect the values and
practices we follow in the field.
Increasing Leadership Capacity: Our role is to
make it easier for the Outdoor Community succeed in their missions. We do so by
researching, developing and implementing initiatives that increase leadership
capacity at all levels from the grass-roots through to the national. Examples
include the Field Leader program, the Outdoor Activity Club, and connecting our
members to key stakeholders and resources.
Why is there a need for an organization such as the Outdoor Council of Canada?
There is an extreme shortage of leaders and educators who are trained and qualified to lead beginner and intermediate level outdoor activities. Also, the number of these leaders is declining rapidly.
There are increasing expectations for the safety of minors in the care of others (custodial leadership), and yet there are few recognized standards which enable risk managers to determine if people are qualified to lead a particular activity. A considerable amount of management resources are wasted to ascertain leadership suitability. Many of the activities that could be offered safely and inexpensively, with a well-organized infrastructure in place, are not considered because of the difficulties and expenses associated with the assurance of due diligence.
Land managers are concerned about liability exposure, and are restricted in their ability to make public lands available to many groups. The lack of an organized infrastructure makes it very difficult to objectively distinguish between safe and unsafe practices, and between qualified and unqualified leaders. Considerable amounts of publicly funded administration efforts are wasted to address these issues, and many opportunities are lost. Regulations on Crown lands proliferates in the absence of a more rational and efficient process.
An increased number of parents do not have the ability to introduce their children to meaningful outdoor experiences. This is an alarming trend because most people who are active in the outdoors throughout their lives report that their friends and families are the number one reasons why they became active.
The K-12 education system, and other youth oriented organizations, that have provided the initial introduction and training for young people are no longer doing so for a number of reasons. These reasons include:
Many risk managers hold the false perception that outdoor activity is more dangerous than other sporting activities. There is strong evidence that well managed activities, such as hiking and cross country skiing, are much safer than many traditional school based sports.
Risk managers increasing standards for risk management, and intensified competition for access to the backcountry, result in a progressive restriction of organized groups that provide outdoor learning and recreation.