Lessons from the Giant Swing

In January I attended the National Education Outdoors Conference, held in Fremantle, WA.  I was only a few months into the job so it was a steep-learning curve experience – a real eye opener into the industry, its sub-culture and the issues facing it.

Hanging around on one of the giant swings at Mapleton

My observation was that the outdoor education industry is blessed with people of passion, really desperate to use the great outdoors as an educational tool in the lives of many.  There is also a directness about their conduct that is refreshing.  A frank appraisal of outdoor education, it successes, failures and opportunities was encouraged and pursued with honesty and transparency.

One of the questions asked at the conference that had the most impact on me as I thought about QCCC was:

How do the experience and activities at your camp-site differ from the adrenalin rush offered by a Theme park, such as Dreamworld? 

It’s a great question and something I’ve pondered since as I’ve looked at ministry development of our sites, particularly QCCC Mapleton which has the greatest emphasis on the provision of outdoor education services (Mapleton’s outdoor education team currently numbers some 14 people.)

Fizzing down the flying fox or swooping through the rainforest on the Giant Swing may create transcendent memories, but is that enough?   If the experience we provide gets hard-wired into someone’s brain, can we go further by connecting that experience with a lesson that will set them up for life?

That’s something we’re working right now as we look to set up our programs for 2011 and beyond.  We want to provide our guests with a holistic experience – by combining the fun and camaraderie of our activities with vital truths and life lessons that they’ll take away with them long after camp is finished. 

We think we’re coming up with some great ideas that I’ll share as they progress, but comments and ideas from my readers will be gratefully accepted!

 Just for fun, here’s some footage from our Giant Swing and below is a link to a story on the same swing.

The Mapleton Giant Swing.

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