The Canadian Outdoor Summit is a historic national gathering aimed at celebrating our contribution to Canadian society and solving key challenges faced by outdoor programs. The Summit will be held in Gatineau city from September 29th to October 2nd 2020.
This project is a collective effort of the outdoor sector. Your program offers tremendous value to those who use your services. For the Summit to be a success, your engagement and participation is required.
Like any expedition seeking to "summit", much effort will be required in advance for a successful "approach" so we can "Summit" together.
The Summit brings together educators, trainers, program administrators and industry leaders to discuss strategy, directions and overarching decisions with the aim to accomplish the following outcomes:
A statement about the value of outdoor activities for Canadian Society.
Identify accepted practices of Canadian outdoor programs.
Develop national standards of competency training for outdoor leaders.
Additional outcomes may be added to the Summit as the process evolves.
The outdoor sector is broad and diverse. It includes any organization responsible for the well being of others in an outdoor environment (schools, camps, guiding companies, outdoor clubs, therapeutic programs), outdoor training organizations, certifying bodies and land managers overseeing service providers on their territory. These organizations have a different set of objective and challenges. However, all will be served by the successful accomplishment of the Summit's outcomes.
Our sector has many vibrant organizations. However, these organizations are often disconnected from one another. One piece that is notably absent is a distinctly Canadian national event where we can all gather together, celebrate our successes, learn about each other and create stronger national bonds.
One goal will be to forge and energize a unified national voice that connects our sector to greater opportunities for funding and recognition, both from government and the private sector.
The statement will be a foundation for informing Canadians of the value of outdoor activities and will be used as a lever to affect policy changes provincially and nationally. The outdoor sector is an important contributor to economic, social and environmental health. However, as a sector we have little control over messaging about what we do and why it is valuable. The result is little understanding of the importance of outdoor activity, low respect towards the associated professions and lack of interest in orienting resources towards the development of outdoor activities for Canadians. The statement is a first step towards claiming our position as an important contributor to society.
The first step to developing accepted practices for outdoor programs will be to compile best practices, structures, and systems related to outdoor programs across the country. Then, the goal will be to design standards promoting quality and safety while being flexible enough to be functional for our diverse sector. This will significantly increase our collective resilience in case of high profile accidents. In other words, we know how to design quality outdoor programs. Let's make sure our expertise is used across the country to help develop better and safer programs.
Developing national standards of competency training for outdoor leaders will have many benefits. It will ensure that outdoor leaders have a clear standard of care to refer to when meeting their duty to care for participants. It will enable training organizations to prepare futur professionals to meet the needs of the industries. It will define the competencies required to act as an outdoor leader and help promote respect towards this role. It will make it easier for land managers to evaluate if a person has the required competencies to operate on their territory.
Who is the Summit for
The Summit's focus is on Led Outdoor Activities where at least one person is responsible for the well being of participants while outdoors. If you lead others in the outdoors, or if those activities are offered on the territory you manage, this Summit is for you.
To accomplish the outcomes a pre-Summit process is necessary. Furthermore, to ensure acceptance of the Summit results this process must include a broad representation of the outdoor sector.
A Steering Committee has undertaken the initial leadership (been given ownership) of the Summit and is defining a grass-roots process promoting input and broad engagement from the outdoor sector. This is bearing fruits as two organizations offering regular outdoor conferences for sub-sections of the outdoor sector have joined forces with the Summit (Canadian Adventure Therapy Symposium and Forum plein air).
The Outdoor Council of Canada sits on the Committee and serves as the promoter for this project.
Process: Prior to the Summit, working groups will develop recommendations and proposals pertaining to the identified outcomes. These will be presented at the Summit. A diversity of representatives from the outdoor sector such as adventure tourism, post-secondary institutions, certification bodies, camps, K-12 education, adventure therapy, health and wellness will be part of these groups.
Structure: The Steering Committee, which represents 10 different organizations, is responsible for the efforts of the working groups. A separate Advisory Committee composed of representatives of the outdoor sector will be invited to evaluate the work of the Steering Committee and make recommendations.
Inclusivity: Inclusivity is a core value of the Summit. In addition to engaging a diversity of representatives, a special effort will be made to ensure that the perspectives of Indigenous outdoor programs are part of the process and that their contributions help to shape and inform the Summit outcomes.
Be Part of the Collective Effort
There are a lot of pre-Summit projects and workgroups that would benefit greatly from your talents and ideas as well as access to your networks. We are now seeking passionate individuals and organizations who can commit some time to being part of this unprecedented national collaboration. We will need both funding and people who can commit time to work on various projects as volunteers.
Contact us today to learn more about the gathering momentum of the Summit.