Getting our communities outside!

2 replies [Last post]
hammj
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Joined: 2013-08-30

Just wondering what other municipalities are doing to get their communities (especially kids) outside exploring & learning about nature and stewardship, participating in outdoor programs &/or learning about the world around them.

1. If you are offering programs specifically designed to be outdoors, what kinds or programs are you offering and do you have designated space?

2. When implementing outdoor programs did you work in partnership with City or District Parks or schools for use of their outdoor space?

3. Were surveys sent to community members seeking information about what kinds of outside programs they would participate in? If yes, was this a worthwhile activity and did you receive the information you were seeking?

4. Were other outdoor groups and organizations (Stream Keepers, Local Hiking groups, Local Outdoors groups, etc.) consulted when planning programs or did you plan based on what you or your communities wanted?

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

hking
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Joined: 2013-12-02

Hello
A few points/responses
We have recently issued an RFP with a goal of increasing our programming within our regional parks- guides, local outdoor stores, private park operators, retired biologists etc. are the groups we have and expect to continue to work with. We hope to not only create programs that individuals would register but also over time develop programs that fit with curriculum sets making the programs attractive to school groups (all levels).

We do have a good relationship with our two small municipalities and would/do make use of their parks spaces but the focus of this RFP is specific to Regional parks. The larger municipal centre in our region already does a great deal of parks programming and has their own recreation department so we are not looking to expand into that area.

Throughout day camp programs we always include an element of outdoor play every day. we are lucky to live in a region rich with parks so there are lots to choose from, but we will even make use of the passive green space around our facility.

We have had limited success with a local contractor who specializes in 'eco kid' programming. Her content is strong but her organizational skills have not proven to be great. I would imagine that is a unique situation and shouldn't be taken as a deterrent, but a good reminder to make sure you review contractor expectations!

We are constantly receiving feedback and responding- I wouldn't say there has been a vocal demand for this type of programming, but as we've slowly been expanding the programs are proving to be successful so that is a good indicator of the demand.
No we haven't been working with local groups on our recreation side but our parks planners/coordinators are in contact with those types of groups.

chris.filler
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Joined: 2011-05-04

Thanks for the question.
We are adding more and more nature-based programming in the District of Saanich. This is driven not only by our community documents such as Official Community Plan, Recreation Master Plan and Early Childhood Strategic Plan, but it is also driven by the need from our families in our community. We heard about this need through a broad based community survey, and we are receiving positive reinforcement through strong registration numbers.
In terms of partnerships, for some of our early childhood programs, we purposefully sought out local partners in our community who were engaged in this type of instruction in the first place.
Those partnerships have been one of the most rewarding components within our programs, highlighting the value of nature-based programming in its ability to catalyze community into action.
Look forward to more discussion.
Chris

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