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Archive | Bushwalking club management resources

Child Protection Mandatory Reporting

On 1st October, 2020 the Office of the Children’s Guardian provided a webinar titled: Understanding your reporting obligations in sporting and local government organisations.

The recording for the webinar can be accessed here.

If you are listening from a place where children can hear the webinar the use of headphones is recommended.

 

Below is some information that was mentioned in the webinar and shared by Harris Short, Child Safe Coordinator, Local Government/Sport, Office of the Children’s Guardian.

For more information, click on the links provided.

 

Department and Communities and Justice (DCJ)

Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), previously known as Family and Community Services (FaCS) or Department of Community Services (DoCS), is NSW’s statutory child protection agency. The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 and Regulation 2012 detail DCJ’s responsibilities in keeping children safe.

A key responsibility is that DCJ is responsible for assessing reports made to the Child Protection Helpline. While anyone in the community can make a report to the Child Protection Helpline, that a child or group of children might be at risk of significant harm, the Care and Protection Act makes it mandatory for some people who work or volunteer in certain roles. For more information https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/families/Protecting-kids/mandatory-reporters/about

For guidance about making a mandatory report, using the mandatory reporter guide, to submit an e-report, or other information about mandatory reporting, visit https://reporter.childstory.nsw.gov.au/s/

JCPRP

The ‘Joint Child Protection Response Program’ (JCPRP), which used to be called JIRT, aims to provide a seamless service response to children and young people at risk of significant harm as a result of sexual assault, serious physical abuse and extreme neglect. JCPRP is a tri-agency program delivered by the NSW Police Force, Department of Communities and Justice and NSW Health. Joint Referral Unit (JRU) has a representative of each agency to work on joint decision-making around intake to JCPRP. JCPRP investigations are led by detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad.

Reportable Conduct

Learn about your obligations under the Reportable Conduct Scheme in our 30min video.

You can find information on the Children’s Guardian website about:

  • Identifying reportable allegations
  • Heads of entities and reportable conduct responsibilities
  • Planning and conducting an investigation
  • Recognising and managing conflicts of interest etc.

 

Information provided by:

Harris Short | Child Safe Coordinator, Local Government/Sport | Office of the Children’s Guardian
www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au

Alternate Activities COVID-19 Update

We are all spending a lot of time indoors due to COVID-19.

So we thought it was a good time to revisit our awesome alternate activity ideas!

No need to do them alone! Connect with the group you were planning to head outdoors with online using programs such as Zoom or Skype. Have fun and feel good about these ‘indoor adventures’ together!

  1. Find and schedule the walks and activities you want to lead when life returns to normal
  2. Not a leader yet? Call a current club leader and ask if you can buddy up to learn to lead later – they are friendly folk!
  3. Read the Bushwalking Manual – a great read for everyone doing all kinds of outdoor adventure 🙂
  4. Get started on a first aid course – you can do the pre-reading online for free! https://pfa.stjohn.org.au/
  5. Connect online with a club buddy to plan a club activity together for later
  6. Read our Risk Management Guidelines – it is truly worthwhile
  7. Learn all about our insurance – consider becoming an insurance officer – ask us how
  8. Start planning and coordinating a risk management online training session for your club. You don’t have to know it all – ask club members with special expertise to talk on their area.
  9. Run a online navigation theory session for your club and friends
  10. Learn how you can help our suffering wildlife: WIRES & NWC
  11. Write to members of parliament to ask for a climate action leadership: Federal Ministers, NSW Members, ACT Members.
  12. Brainstorm how to engage more youth in your club
  13. Organise your photos and send in some great ones to us so we can share them through our newsletter and website – email to admin@bushwalkingnsw.org.au.
  14. Contribute your photos and descriptions of the great walks of NSW & the ACT to manual@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au
  15. Check out all the resources available for you on the Bushwalking NSW website
  16. Ask your club management committee if they need any help
  17. Sign up for a Bushwalking NSW working group
  18. Help Bushwalking NSW develop a Hot/Extreme Weather Policy that can help all our clubs – contact us now!
  19. Schedule club social events for the new year
  20. Look for great speakers for your next club meeting
  21. Call elderly neighbours, relatives and friends and find out how they are coping with the COVID-19 crisis
  22. If you haven’t done it yet – put your Bush fire survival plan at the top of your list!

Alternative activities

Have park closures or extreme weather conditions cancelled your plans?

Here are oodles of awesome alternate activity ideas.

No need to do them alone! Meet the group you were planning to head outdoors with at a cafe or library instead. Have fun and feel good about these ‘indoor adventures’ together!

  1. Find and schedule the walks and activities you want to lead in the new year
  2. Not a leader yet? Call a current club leader and ask if you can buddy up to learn to lead – they are friendly folk!
  3. Read the Bushwalking Manual – a great read for everyone doing all kinds of outdoor adventure 🙂
  4. Get started on a first aid course – you can do the pre-reading online for free! https://pfa.stjohn.org.au/
  5. Meet up with a club buddy to plan a club activity together in the new year
  6. Read our Risk Management Guidelines – it is truly worthwhile
  7. Learn all about our insurance – consider becoming an insurance officer – ask us how
  8. Start planning and coordinating a risk management training session for your club. You don’t have to know it all – ask club members with each special expertise to talk on their bit.
  9. Run a navigation theory session for your club and friends
  10. Learn how you can help our suffering wildlife: WIRES & NWC
  11. Write to members of parliament to ask for a climate action leadership:
    1. Federal Ministers.
    2. NSW Members.
    3. ACT Members.
    4. Tell them you’d rather be bushwalking or hiking, healthy and active, than sitting indoors because of extreme weather events!
  12. Brainstorm how to engage more youth in your club
  13. Organise your photos and send in some great ones to us so we can share them through our newsletter and website – email to admin@bushwalkingnsw.org.au.
  14. Contribute your photos and descriptions of the great walks of NSW & the ACT to manual@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au
  15. Check out all the resources available for you on the Bushwalking NSW website
  16. Ask your club management committee if they need any help
  17. Sign up for a Bushwalking NSW working group
  18. Help Bushwalking NSW develop a Hot/Extreme Weather Policy that can help all our clubs – contact us now!
  19. Schedule club social events for the new year
  20. Look for great speakers for next year’s club meetings
  21. Call friends affected by extreme weather and learn how they are doing
  22. Prepare you home for fire as a group – going to each member’s home to clip and clear.
  23. Learn how to plan and prepare for fire
  24. Help out others affected by natural disasters
  25. If you haven’t done it yet – put your Bush fire survival plan at the top of your list!

And once you’re done. Pat yourself on the back and thank your team 🙂

Tips for growing your club

The topic at the recent Bushwalking NSW AGM was ‘How to grow your club’, providing an insight into how one club substantially grew from 50 members to over 300 over a period of a few years. Some of their ideas are paraphrased below. For more information and suggestions on club management see http://www.bushwalkingnsw.org.au/club-management/

You can listen to the audio which inspired this post. (Works on Chrome and Firefox. Apologies for the rough recording – with patience you will hear the gems buried within!).

Soft management

Allow the committee to handle the running of the club, rather than having boring and contentious general meetings where members wrestle over every last detail of its operation. Reserve member’s meetings for socializing, educating, talks and slide nights etc. Give the committee the authority under the club’s constitution to handle the day to day affairs of the club, including making decisions, finances, policies and procedures.

Focus on activities- not committee meetings. The committee should meet the absolute minimum times per year that is needed to organise the club program and fulfill its legal requirements. Under new Incorporated Associations law it is permissible to hold electronic meetings e.g. Skype, conference calls and committee voting by email.

Design the committee structure around roles. Don’t have inactive ‘ordinary’ committee members. Each committee member should have a defined purpose and role. You may need to change the constitution to do this.

Ensure that committee members change regularly by limiting the number of times a member can stand for a particular role. This prevents stagnation and burnout and brings fresh ideas onto the committee agenda.

Make it easy to participate

Clarify processes and procedures and document them so that others know what they should do and how to do it. e.g. how to join, how to become a leader, how to arrange an activity.

Remove obstacles from member and visitor participation e.g. paperwork.

Put your documentation and programs on your website so that everyone can access the information.

If members show an interest in a particular activity or idea or have a suggestion to make, ask them to lead the activity or implement the idea.

Don’t wait for people to volunteer; ask them to do something and give them assistance to carry it out. e.g. buddy potential leaders.

Feature program changes and late-notice activities on the website and encourage members to check it regularly.

Promote the club

Give members club business cards to hand out to interested parties, rather than bulky, old-fashioned leaflets.

Ensure the club website has a current design and feel and is easy to navigate.

Make visitors feel welcome and ask them to return.

Don’t get hung-up about age

Understand your Target Audience. Some clubs are youth oriented, such as university bushwalking clubs, some have all age groups in their membership, while others are composed of 50+. Don’t worry that your club has no members under 50 years old. People’s lives have a natural cycle. After they have had children and the demands of raising a family are most over, then they will start to look for new activities as they enter their fifties. Target these people for membership. The most important point is that you cater to their needs and continue to attract new members in that age group.

It is natural to have a turnover of membership or around 15-20% annually, so don’t worry when people resign. It is more important that you replace departing members.

Members don’t have to be locals. Having intercity, interstate or international members can open possibilities for club holiday activities utilising local knowledge.

The program

A diverse program, with a broad range of activity types and grades, will attract a diverse range of members, increase membership and increase activity participation.

Consider posting your program on the website so that both members and potential visitors can see the latest activities on offer.

Most clubs now email the program rather than printing and posting. Consider offering a monthly emailed program instead of the traditional quarterly. This means the Program Secretary’s duties are spread evenly across the year rather than clustered in a couple of months. It also means leaders don’t have to commit to an activity 4-5 months in advance, Late notice activities can be easily added to the website or sent out as an email alert.

Be social

Joining a bushwalking club is not just about outdoor activities. It is also about socialising. It’s okay for a bushwalking club to run purely social events with no walking involved. Create opportunities in the program for members to socialise, such as; planning for coffee at the end of a bushwalk, restaurant nights, attending fun events. The result will be increased group cohesion, increased membership, a spirit of volunteerism and higher participation in bushwalks.

Youth & Young Adult Engagement

Ben Trewen attended the 2018 Bushwalking Australia Face-to-face conference for Walking SA and shared his thoughts on Youth & Youth Adult Engagement in clubs and outdoor adventure groups:

G’day all,

I was really encouraged by your recognition of and enthusiasm towards engaging young people within your states, so I have put some thought to some engagement ideas that you may wish to pursue.

To begin with, I think the challenge needs to be tackled by asking some key questions of your [clubs and] groups.

Is there actually an identified ‘young person’ problem? If so, what does this look like? (Remember, this is your problem, not theirs).
Are current members ready to engage with young people? (Doesn’t need to be a shift in your identity, but it does likely require a shift in attitude and/or culture).
Do young people wish to engage with your club/group? If yes – can you determine the barriers? If no – why not?
What is the incentive? What can you offer to a young person that others can’t? (You DO have a lot to offer!)

To help work through these questions, here are some ideas/strategies you might consider:

When it comes to implementing strategies as I discuss below… please don’t look to do what you think is best. Collaborate with young people on what IS best!

Keep in mind also, that engaging young people may take more give, than take (especially to begin with) – but in the long run, it can absolutely be worth it. Young people today may be different to you when you were their age, but they still have as much potential, value and ambition as you did/do!

Here we go:

Access to [Walks]/Hikes
Provide them with hike options to get them walking in their own time – an initial point of engagement. Ensure they are easy to understand and use (consider GPX files). I think we do this incredibly well at Walking SA through our website.

Duke of Edinburgh
Have members train and register as Duke of Ed Award Leaders, then offer to assess young people completing the award. I know in SA, there is a shortage of Award Leaders. I’ve trained as one – it’s not hard, an online course.

Subject Matter Experts
Offer your skill and experience to verify/assess a young persons ‘outdoor education’ learning – this can apply to high school students, TAFE students and uni students.

Diversity of Options
Offer a range of group hikes that are maybe more appealing within their ‘lifestyle’ – early morning, night hikes, school/uni holidays etc.

Networking
Looking beyond the outdoor recreational benefits. Many young people are looking for employment opportunities and maybe people in your clubs can offer this beyond the bushwalking experiences.

Mentoring
See bushwalking as more than just a recreational activity. It’s a chance for a young person to work on their wellbeing and mental health with the support (mentorship) of an older, experienced, patient and wiser person. A chance to have time and space to think, talk through challenges, breath in fresh air, de-stress… whatever it might be for them. This may not require a specific ‘program’, but just a consideration to the fact that a young person may get a different outcome from an experience to what you might typically consider. I have so many thoughts on this one because of my own experience.

‘Discount’ Incentives
Young people will typically be students, apprentices, trainees or on crap money. Any opportunity to reduce their financial burden will help. Discounts with retailers, concessions on membership fees, free entry to events/activities. The tight nature of their spending won’t last forever, but can be a great offset to begin with.

Leverage Relationships
Get involved with outdoor educators, Scouts groups and similar and piggy back of the introductory work they are already doing to introduce young people to outdoor recreation. Otherwise, you risk them becoming absorbed in mainstream sport (or no physical activity). Outdoor recreation has so many benefits on mainstream sports, the sell is easy (there was only so many Saturday’s I could handle being wasted away after being cleaned up for a duck). It’s making the connection between what their school (or similar) offers them for a week or two and the ongoing opportunity that is the challenge.

Up-skill/Formal Education
Seek opportunities to partner with local training bodies (RTOs or similar) and see if they’ll incorporate part of their course into your groups activities. For example, a learner has to lead one of your walks which can then be recorded in their training log.

Tech Engagement
Consider introducing more ’tech’ into your activities that would appeal. Thinking GPX files, Geocaching, Strava, Radio Communications etc.

Content
Let’s not rule out the appeal of young people keen to capture the ‘money shot’, write about their experiences on their blog, put together an adventurous clip from their GoPro or similar. If you can provide and facilitate opportunities to do this, it can then come full circle and benefit you. You may have just engaged your next marketing and communications person to take care of your website and social media. Who knows…?

Gear
Two thoughts on this one – the first one is the young people like me who froth on gear. Think ‘Geardos’. Provide opportunities for people to play with different types of gear, explore what’s new in the market, and share what the good ol’ days were like (before everything in a kit was made of titanium). The second one is to appeal to the reuse/recycle types. Consider gear swap nights, share information about ethical products and purchasing etc. Patagonia and North Face are two of many brands doing lots in this space.

I hope this has been of some help or inspiration (and these points can apply to all outdoor recreation including sea kayaking, not just bushwalking). Young people are just incredible (they always have been).

On reflection, I would love to help you and your state body, clubs, groups etc work through these present challenges, because I’m excited to think about the potential for when we can engage them. So please let me know if there is anything I can do.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with a some words from Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard – “The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts”.

Guest Blogger: Ben Trewren

Join Ben on his Churchill Fellowship travels for outdoor adventure: https://www.bentrewren.com/

Club committee tools and tips

Running a successful club takes a few tools and skills that can be just as handy as a map and compass for keeping your club on track!

Great bushwalkers use their tools and resources exceptionally efficiently, so on this page we shares some tools and tips from Bushwalking NSW and our clubs. This is by no means all the great tips and tools employed by all our clubs, so if you’d like to add to this list, please share your tips here.

 

 

Inclusiveness

Recently a member ask us about ‘member protection’ – she was referring to the terms used in Sport & Recreation: http://www.ausport.gov.au/supporting/integrity_in_sport/member_and_child_protection

To use the Sport & Recreation phrasing, bushwalking should also be “safe, fair and inclusive for everyone involved…..[and clubs should seek to] to prevent and address discrimination and harassment and to protect children from abuse.”

These attitudes and behaviours are deeply ingrained in our clubs.  The fact that bushwalking clubs welcome all members of society, and provide social interaction and recreation for all people, is one of the reasons why I work for Bushwalking NSW!

Clubs have reached out to Bushwalking NSW for assistance on these matters and we have helped these clubs out on these sensitive matters.  If you have any concerns or suggestions in this area, feel free to contact us for assistance.  You can reach me using my personal email or use our form on the contact us page.

To describe some of the ways that Bushwalking NSW is safe, fair and inclusive:

Our clubs also practice inclusivity in may ways, the most common is that clubs promote the culture of always pacing the walk to the slowest walker.  Members have even benighted themselves for the safety of their fellow walkers and the group.