The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2021-04-16T11:19:45Z Funds for Youth to get Outdoors! 2021-04-16T11:19:45Z funds-for-youth-to-get-outdoors EMBARGOED UNTIL 19 April 2021     19 April 2021   Outdoor education and recreation have a tremendous and essential role in achieving and maintaining physical and mental health, yet many of population are still yet to access and experience the benefits. Announced today, Outdoors NSW & ACT are one of the successful applicants of the Australian Government and NSW Government Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund which will get more youth into active recreation.   The funding will go towards connecting with 1,900 youth across Greater Sydney and Northern NSW with a variety of active recreation opportunities through a structured program and then celebrating their achievements on completion of the 8-week program with 4-day camp.   “The skills built in active recreation and the outdoors cannot be replicated elsewhere and it is so important that these opportunities are delivered to all youth in our communities regardless of barriers, so they have the opportunity to build skills of social capacity, resilience and mental health management.” Lori Modde, CEO of Outdoors NSW & ACT comments.   As has been demonstrated time and time again, the value of camp-based holiday programs for children and youth impacted by catastrophic circumstances is visible in their social, mental and resilience capacity. The experiences, memories, and friends made by attending these programs seems difficult to measure however, parents, participants, and staff who deliver these camps will observe how powerful an impact these projects make across the entire community.   However, what is more measurable is the long-term health outcomes and a multitude of studies show time spent in nature is consistently linked to well-being objectives. A 2018 paper by Marsden Jacob & Associates estimated $508 million was saved in lifetime healthcare costs by people participating in outdoor pursuits in NSW alone. The Outdoor Youth Programs Research Alliance (OYPRA) reported from their nine-year study, the sharp rise in the youth anxiety and mental health challenges can be improved through participating in outdoor programs.   The youth that will partake in this program will be in some of the disadvantaged areas of Northern NSW & Greater Sydney and also affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires. Based on the highly successful ‘Drought Break’ program run by the Office of Sport under the Auspices of Regional NSW in December of 2018 and January 2019, Outdoors NSW & ACT in collaboration with their active recreation partners applied for close to $600,000 to implement this Youth Recreation Resilience Program.   Partners involved in the project will include members of Outdoors NSW & ACT, Department of Education, Office of Sport NSW and non-government organisations working with the communities in question.     This is a Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund project through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.     --ENDS-- For more information contact Lori Modde CEO Outdoors NSW & ACT 0415 279 822 ceo@outdoorsnswact.com.au   Nature Play isn't an option, it's a necessity! 2020-12-15T10:31:30Z nature-play-isn-t-an-option-it-s-a-necessity On the 10th of December, the NSW outdoor education sector came together to discuss the development and growth of Nature Play in the state. WA, QLD, SA, ACT, and VIC all have dedicated nature play organisations, so this was an important action for inclusion across a range of industries including urban planning, preventative and restorative health care, active recreation as well as primary and early years education. Hosted by Outdoors NSW & ACT and facilitated by Sam Crosby, Greater Sydney Parklands, there was an overwhelming 100 registrations for the one-and-a-half-hour event which proved the interest in the effort to do more. “It was so pleasing to hear that we have a united voice when it comes to the importance of nature play in this state”, said Lori Modde, CEO of Outdoors NSW & ACT. “We had representation from Nature Play Australia, Network of Community Activities, NSW Early Years Nature Connections group, Australian Association of Environment Education, early childhood practitioners, environmental educators, local councils, out of hours school care providers, landscape architects, urban planners, park managers, parents, and researchers”. Western Sydney University published a research paper, “Wild Play Garden” (Dobia, Truong, Ward, Regalado, 2019) that deduced nature play exposes children to risk in order to learn and increase resilience. Parents noticed their children enjoying the freedom to explore and to take risks in a safe environment. This is one of many research articles that prove the benefits of playing, learning, and being educated outdoors. “There is much current research about nature play and in support, we know it has benefits and those practicing can demonstrate these. What we now need is a wide-ranging association that invites more people; practitioners, teachers, and children to access nature play so we can provide results for children and families”, said Fran Hughes who is the convenor of a professional development networking group known as NSW Early Years Nature Connections. “Increase social, physical and language skills, increased resilience, self-management, cooperation with others, increase imaginative play, develop positive relationships with self, others and the environment to name a few”. As a result of demand and need, the Greater Sydney Parklands are currently developing a Nature Play Strategy in partnership with many stakeholders across NSW, including Outdoors NSW & ACT, Network of Community Activities to name a few, that will take form in 2021. “We saw the effects of COVID on our kids and youth so it’s so important we move on these solid findings and start with the younger years on getting them outdoors, playing, and discovering nature more.” Says Mrs. Modde. In a research paper about growing up in a digital age in Australia by the Gonski Institute in 2020, 84% of teachers surveyed believe that digital technologies are a growing distraction in the learning environment. More than nine of ten educators think that the number of children with psychological, social, and behavioural challenges has increased in the last 3 – 5 years. Empathy has also declined, as well as student physical activity. As we were coming out of lockdown Tom Mulvaney, Psychologist, and Co-Leader of Policy at the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy spoke to the media on a similar line, “We need to keep people physically and mentally well through a system that caters for a safe, stable and connected time in the outdoors. Going outdoors is one cost-effective and safe way to support physical, mental, and social wellbeing and prevent longer-term ill health”. Sam Crosby from Greater Sydney Parklands who facilitated the forum said, “Bringing together a wide spectrum of people and organisations to discuss the opportunities that nature play can bring was extremely inspiring and I look forward to building on the success of this forum to develop a movement for nature play in NSW and all of the benefits it brings for children and families.” An Oasis rises from the Ashes 2020-09-13T09:19:39Z an-oasis-rises-from-the-ashes On the 31st of December 2019, Mark and Sue Berry, Owners of Bower at Broulee, a luxury couples retreat that was built and developed over 20 years of hard work, watched their passion and business go up in smoke. Determined not to give-up, the last 8 months have needed more resilience and passion than ever before as he set to rebuild his passion with his wife Sue. The Bower at Broulee has now risen from the ashes in stunning glory and is set to open its doors on October 2nd to its past and future guests. Located on the NSW South Coast, just south of Batemans Bay, this stunning retreat is perfect for couples seeking privacy and luxury in a natural environment. The Bower consists of 5 fully self- contained and architect designed and located on 100 acres of bushland that it well on its way to being ‘reborn’ from the tragic fires of 2019/2020. “The miracle of nature can be seen in the ‘fluffy’ trees that now occupy our property” said Sue Berry. “the gorgeous green sprouts seen on the trees in the early days were signs of hope and kept us going with our journey to rebuild”. Set within a kilometre of the iconic Broulee Beaches, Mark Berry spoke of the unquestionable decision to rebuild as there is no better place on earth to relax than in a place surrounded by nature. “The fires took out our residence, the stables and all outbuildings. Each of the five Bowers suffered various levels of damage from nearly destroyed to scarred” Sue explains. Sue and Mark took on this challenge head-on, but not to just rebuild but to improve the facility for future guests. “It was an opportunity as much as a disaster for our business” Mark explains. The new iteration of the Bower looks incredible. Luxury fit-out, all new bathrooms, decks and finishes, plus state-of-the-art contactless check-in technology will see The Bower at the forefront in the new post-Covid tourism space. Each Bower is self-contained and has a fully equipped kitchen, stunning bathroom with underfloor heating and deep double spa, wood fires, reverse cycle air-conditioning, and private BBQ’s on the deck. “COVID-Safe practices have also been introduced ready for our opening in October” said Sue. The natural social distancing supplied by the independent Bowers is supported by experiences in the Eurobodalla region such as bushwalking, kayaking, mountain biking and other nature-based activities. And while you may be up for your own self-catering options the Bower has thought of everything in case you don’t want to cook. Chef prepared ready-made meals are an option amongst other delights that will ensure that relaxation is the outcome from your stay at the Bower. Double standard 2020-09-10T07:07:10Z double-standard Outdoors NSW & ACT is urging the NSW Government to reconsider a statement made by the Premier on the 11 August, stating school’s extra-curricular activities, excursions and overnight camps are not acceptable during a pandemic[1], yet pubs, clubs, restaurants and brothels can remain open; a double standard causing detrimental effects to the health and wellbeing of our young people, not to mention the State’s economy.   Lori Modde, CEO of Outdoors NSW & ACT, the state’s peak body for the outdoor education industry explained making such a blanket statement is not only unfair, it’s illogical and short sighted.   “I applaud the Premier for her efforts in protecting our State against COVID-19, we are certainly doing better than some when it comes to stopping the spread, and we respect her priorities putting our citizens safety first. However, her recent statement condemning outdoor education is unfounded and certainly shows zero consultation has ever occurred with our industry.   “What we know about COVID-19 thus far indicates it is more highly transmissible in indoor environments, especially where there are high concentrations of people, so that leaves me to wonder - where is the logic in keeping pubs, clubs and restaurants open, but our sector, operating in the great outdoors, naturally socially distanced in the fresh air, are to remain off limits to our key clientele?” stated Ms Modde.   Dr Phil Humphris, General Practitioner at Kildare Road Medical Centre who holds a Masters in International Public Health and has undertaken extensive humanitarian work in Ethiopia, the Middle East, and Sudan as a Director of Medecins Sans Frontieres, having first-hand experience with SARS, Ebola and Malaria, concurs with Ms Modde’s point of view and continues on to explain “while there are still gaps in the knowledge of transmission patterns for COVID-19, the epidemiology of outbreaks and transmission shows ventilation appears to be particularly important. The lack of exchange of air in indoor environments is thought to increase the risk of transmission.   “In relation to outdoor education, the biggest concern is for overnight camps, where large numbers of people are living and congregating in enclosed environments; however if these risks can be mitigated by strict control measures and a COVID-Safe plan, I see no reason why they should be halted unless there is widespread community transmission,” explained Dr Humphris.   Peter Griffiths, CEO of the Australian Camps Association said the Outdoor Council of Australia gave the sector a COVID-19 Management Plan in early May 2020, and since that time, each and every provider in the outdoor sector has been ready.   “Outdoor education providers are in the business of risk mitigation, safety is the cornerstone of our business, it’s not something any of our providers are flippant with. Each of our facilities has comprehensive COVID-safe plans and procedures in place to allay concerns about the risk of transmission, in fact, we’re safer to visit than your local restaurant!” said Mr Griffiths.   Graeme Janes, CEO of Christian Venues Association explains some of the COVID-Safe procedures the facilities have put in place include pre-screening processes working in partnership with the schools - plus a second screening upon arrival, increased usage of PPE, hand sanitizer in ingress and egress, perspex screens around food serveries, more frequent cleaning rotations throughout communal and high-touch areas, invested in prototype tent with divisional walls, plus regular COVID-Safe training.   “But a lot of requirements that have been newly implemented by restaurants have been part of our day-to-day business practices since inception, for example, the collection of guests' names and their details, plus rolling out activities in small groups. That all said, we are all well-equipped and prepared to have our clientele return to us,” exclaimed Mr Janes.   Another area of concern for the outdoor sector, is if the government continues to halt access, what ramifications that will have on the health and wellbeing of young people throughout NSW? Outdoor education and recreation have a tremendous and essential role in achieving and maintaining physical and mental health, it is also critical to the normal development of children and youth.   “The consequences of halting outdoor activities for all are impossible to measure, however logically we know there are very real lasting, if not permanent, negative outcomes if people do not have access to the great outdoors,” furthered Dr Humphris.   A multitude of studies show time spent in nature is consistently linked to objective, long-term health outcomes. A 2018 paper by Marsden Jacob & Associates estimated $508 million was saved in lifetime healthcare costs by people participating in outdoor pursuits in NSW alone[2]. The Outdoor Youth Programs Research Alliance (OYPRA) reported from their nine-year study, the sharp rise in the youth anxiety and mental health challenges can be improved through participating in outdoor programs[3].   Tom Mulvaney, Psychologist and Co-Leader of Policy at the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy is seeing the dramatic impact of the pandemic on the wellbeing of children, young people and families, and also the sectors now limited ability to mitigate that impact. “What we've been seeing in young people is the increased risk of loneliness and isolation at this time. Access to the outdoors obviously facilitates physical health outcomes, but also facilitates connection to other people, to the world around us, which ameliorates loneliness or isolation. “There’s a lot of evidence to support young people spending time in nature directly, but there's a stronger evidence base for those therapeutic outcomes being enhanced when a person’s time in nature is guided by a professional. Guided time in nature has positive outcomes for young people who experience stress, depression, anxiety, social anxiety, relationship issues and so many of those clinical presentations that are on the rise as this pandemic progresses. “We need to keep people physically and mentally well through a system that caters for safe, stable and connected time in the outdoors. Going outdoors is one cost effective and safe way to support physical, mental and social wellbeing and prevent longer-term ill health. We need to capacitate this as soon as possible to avoid long term, potentially irreversible impacts,” concluded Mr Mulvaney. --ENDS-- [1] https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/cluster-linked-to-sydney-s-tangara-school-grows-source-of-outbreak-a-mystery-20200811-p55kjm.html https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/coronavirus-cluster-at-a-sydney-girls-school-could- be-linked-to-retreat/news-story/f640a816b92c88cdf9018eba75cb2549 [2]A Marsden Jacob Report, New South Wales Nature-Based Outdoor Economy, key estimates and recommendations (a copy of the report can be provided upon request) [3] https://www.outdoorsnswact.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Outdoor-Youth-Programs-Research-Alliance-Research-Findings-Summary.pdf