Hello my name is Ann and this is the story of my People Outdoors journey.

My People Outdoors journey began when I was studying a Certificate IV in Disability at the Kangan Institute. Whilst completing my work placements I was able to demonstrate the necessary skills and knowledge in both a simulated environment on Kangan Broadmeadows and Moonee Ponds campuses, also in a work environment. It was during one of Kangan’s incursion days during class when we were introduced to Heike, the representative from People Outdoors.

img: People Outdoors Volunteer AnnI was very impressed with the way in which Heike explained to our class the adventures that People Outdoors provided for individuals with a disability within the local and broader communities. She spoke with such affection and dedication that I was inspired to sign up and add People Outdoors as a second placement option. I was sure that this would offer a rewarding experience for both me and the participants who attend the “Adventure for All” activities.

At my Induction with People Outdoors I was given a Volunteer’s Handbook, which was a great reference guide for my first weekend camp as I was unsure if I would be able to remember all of the People Outdoors required policy and procedures while providing support for my designated camper.

The Camper Profile and the detailed volunteer job description, together with attending a home visit gave me the information on the required levels of support that I needed to be providing while on ”Adventure for all” Camps.

My first camp gave me the opportunity to use transferable skills I gained as a parent, as a person with dual qualifications in Aged Care and Home and Community Care and as a student enrolled in a Certificate IV in Disability to provide support to People Outdoors campers.

I was provided excellent assistance from the Keilor Park People Outdoors office staff and exceptional guidance from the Program Leader throughout the time spent on that weekend camp. This gave me the confidence to successfully complete all the required tasks.

I have since attended approximately fifteen People Outdoors Programs which include eleven camps and four day activities. During this time I gained the necessary experience to become a Program Leader on day activities and school holiday and weekend camps. 

People Outdoors camps provide experiences that helps participants, volunteers and Program Leaders with a deeper understanding of how the world works. They teach discipline, teamwork and leadership while also providing people with a disability with social connections through flexible inclusive activities. Each program is designed to meet each camper’s needs, goals and aspirations.

The camps and day activities focus on participant camper’s potential ability and not on the limitations that arise from the many types of diagnosed physical and intellectual impairments.

A participant may face personal challenges while on camp however careful consideration is taken to assess all risk levels to provide safe participation in any program or day activity.

Activities which may include swimming, rope courses, Flying Fox, Giant Swing, canoeing, cooking, campfires, surfing, beach activities , bush adventures and educational learning within the local community - all of which I have had the privilege to experience as a member of the People Outdoors Team.

I have seen firsthand how each activity can improve socialization and change expectations, attitudes and behaviors while having a significant positive impact on each individual who is in attendance.

In my opinion People Outdoors vision provides holistic inclusive opportunities that empower campers, families, volunteers, the community and all staff members and in doing so improves the quality of life for all.