It is a privilege to be involved with The Perry Outdoor Education Trust. In 35 years as an educator I have always been a passionate advocate of outdoor education, acutely aware of how important it is for young people to experience the great outdoors, to appreciate their local natural environment and to experience those simple, exhilarating outdoor activities that are so much part of the NZ psyche and so good for the soul. It is essential that they learn to respect the environment, to protect and care for it and to keep themselves and others safe while they enjoy it.
But outdoor education is so much more than an end in itself. It also offers an effective context for the development of the whole person because it exposes participants to new challenges, pushes them outside their comfort zones and in doing so fosters self-confidence, courage, perseverance and resilience, all key capabilities. Communal living in the outdoors also enables young people to better understand group dynamics and to grow the social, co-operative and interpersonal skills that are essential to belonging and inclusiveness.
Every secondary school student deserves to benefit from quality outdoor education experiences but too often cost or lack of resources and expertise are a barrier. I admire the work POET does to help schools overcome these challenges and I am proud to have a small part to play in the difference they make.
-Vicky McLennan, Trustee