Camp and outdoor adventure activity providers are holding their breath for news of schools to return to camps and excursions.

The camp sector in Victoria lost in excess of $125M in term 1 and term 2 forward bookings within two days of an original DET directive at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. If we include school camps and the 500+ Outdoor Activity Provider businesses, that number is close to $400M.

Although no one doubts that the closures were a necessary precaution at the time, we are very concerned that in Victoria, if schools don’t receive swift advice from DET, they will continue to cancel camps and outdoor adventure activity excursions in terms 3 & 4.

Unfortunately, yesterday’s communication from the department has provided little joy to relieve the uncertainty camp and outdoor adventure activity providers are experiencing.

Below is a link to the latest advice:
https://www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/Pages/changedday-to-dayschoolops.aspx#link2

“Camps and excursions.

The Department will provide further advice about activities such as camps, excursions and incursions before the start of Term 3.”

Benefits of camps and outdoor adventure activities for young people

Independent research www.oypra.org.au clearly shows that camps and outdoor adventure activities (1) decrease anxiety, (2) increase connection to schools, (3) increase connection to peers and (4) increase efficacy. There is no better way to improve every student’s mental and physical health than to take part in a camp or outdoor adventure activity, especially as students return to school following such a long period of social isolation.

The camp and outdoor adventure activity experience is the ideal way to re-integrate and re-socialise students.

Impact on regional economies

Camps and outdoor adventure activity providers are almost universally located in regional Victoria, and thus rely on local communities for support services (activity, catering, housekeeping and maintenance staff, transport and food supplies). COVID-19 comes hard on the heels of a severe bushfire season with its attendant bushfire smoke and air quality concerns which had a severe impact on regional towns. We must understand that this is an issue that affects the livelihoods of entire regional communities, not ‘just’ camps and outdoor adventure activity providers.


What are we doing? 

The camps and outdoor adventure activity provider sector is well prepared to return to work

OV has worked with The Australian Camps Association (ACA) , the Outdoor Council of Australia (OCA) and other outdoor peak bodies across Australia to provide the resources our members need to safely return to work. These resources include a COVIDSafe Workplace Plan for Camps, a COVID-19 Guidance Document for Camps (co-produced with the Christian Venues Association) and a Return to Play Plan for Camps (under preparation).

A ‘Return to Play’ plan for Camps and Outdoor Adventure Activity Providers is now being drafted by the ACA and OV and will be submitted to Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) and will be forwarded by us to the DHHS and DET. This will be shared with you as soon as possible.

Work is also underway with other government departments connected to the outdoor sector, including the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions, with assistance from Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC).


What can you do? 

Please make sure you familiarise yourself with the OCA COVID MANAGEMENT PLAN and the OCA Framework. We advise you use that as a guide to develop your own in-house Covid-19 management plan as part of your standard operating procedures.

Please connect with Andrew Knight if you have further queries. To book a chat please email ceo@outdoorsvictoria.org.au

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