Sold On An Outdoor Leadership Program

first_imgAnyone who has ever been temporarily lost in the woods — orwould like to avoid the experience — will find courses ofinterest in the Nova Scotia Outdoor Leadership Program (NSOLD). The program, which is operated by the Office of Health Promotion,is designed for volunteers and professionals 17 years of age andolder who are interested in becoming outdoor leaders, orupgrading their outdoor leadership skills. “Anyone can enjoy these courses,” says Steve Cooke, who has beeninvolved in NSOLD as a participant and as a leader since theprogram began in 1979. “There is lots to do, and lots to learn.” Using several different approaches in several different courses,NSOLD’s goal is to enhance the quality and quantity of NovaScotia’s outdoor leaders, enhancing physical skill and fitness.That is a great idea, considering Nova Scotia has the secondhighest rate of obesity in Canada. Recent reports also show thatmore than half of Nova Scotians are not active enough to enjoyhealth benefits. Giving participants knowledge and training ofhow to be safe and active outdoors, can lead to safe, healthy,and more environmentally friendly, experiences. The program is of interest to individuals seeking personaldevelopment as well as groups from schools, universities,volunteer organizations, government departments and privatesector organizations. “As long as you are interested, you can learn from thesemodules,” says Jody Conrad, co-chair of the NSOLD workingcommittee. “The individual courses were created considering whatoutdoor enthusiasts would need to know, in a group situation, tokeep everyone safe.” One of the most basic safety skills in the outdoors is theability to avoid becoming lost. The Wilderness Navigation modulecombines theory and practice in the use of map, compass, globalpositioning system (GPS), and other navigational techniques.Participants take part in practical exercises, in- and outdoors,that enable them to accurately and confidently travel throughwilderness areas. The Wilderness Navigation module “can take anyone who doesn’tknow about navigation,” says Mr. Cooke, the module’s co-ordinator, “and the result is they can take a tour through thewoods and get through and back safely.” With the combination of compass, map, and the GPS, Mr. Cooke saysyou are prepared for any situation. “To be really safe, you needit all. You never know when your batteries might fail.” He laughingly says one of his favourite parts of the weekend iseating; “The food is incredible, lots of quality and quantity.”But he goes on to say that meeting great people and teaching avaluable skill are highlights as well. Other courses offered under the NSOLD program are OutdoorSurvival, Emergency Procedures, Environmental Interpretation, andLeave No Trace Outdoor Ethics. Leadership School and Women’sOutdoor Leadership are also offered, as well as specialinitiatives like Mentoring in the Outdoors and LeadershipResource Service. NSOLD also promotes the Wilderness and RemoteFirst Aid course, offered through the Canadian Red Cross, andBecoming An Outdoors Woman course, offered through the Departmentof Natural Resources. Applications are available on the website at www.gov.ns.ca/ohp/srd/nsold . For more information regarding the Wilderness Navigation program, contact Steve Cooke at 902-422-7075. For more information about NSOLD, contact Jody Conrad at the Office of Health Promotion, 902-424-7589. -30-last_img read more