Wild behaviour reigns at Kids Adventure Outdoors Anglesea


April 24, 2017

Childhood resilience was a key message of the Kids Adventure Outdoors Anglesea event, held on the Surf Coast, with the aim to encourage “more kids to be more active outdoors more often”. And so it was that hundreds of kids, parents and carers braved challenging weather conditions to enjoy a myriad of adventures, including an overnight camp out, in what organisers say was another successful outing for the festival, now in its third year.

Kids Adventure Outdoors. Copyright YMCA Recreation Camp Anglesea 2017. All rights reserved.

The event attracted more than 450 kids and adults over the course of the weekend with 171 opting for an overnight camp out.

Gathering clouds did nothing to dampen the spirits or energy of attendees from across the state and indeed interstate as they headed out on a roster of facilitated activities exploring the township’s natural landscapes. Active options included mountain biking, trail running, estuary investigations, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, fishing, and canoeing along with a raft of others. Two of Anglesea’s leading recreation camps, YMCA Anglesea and Camp Wilkin hosted a big line-up of fun, including plenty of thrill-seeking options from high ropes and vertical challenges to an 18-metre high giant swing. Cultural indigenous activities included boomerang art, Aboriginal face painting and Dreamtime games, while traditional camping favourites such as hut building and bush cooking – including obligatory damper making – were popular.

Emphasising the aim to build simple coordination, risk judgement and resilience was the ‘Building Resilience Zone’ at the event hub, mentioned by many kids as a favourite, perhaps because of its ‘no adults allowed’ rule. Of course, mums and dads joined in for the most part, happy to spend quality family time outdoors and away from screens and technology.

Kids Adventure Outdoors. Copyright YMCA Recreation Camp Anglesea 2017. All rights reserved.

“My daughter Maddy had been looking forward to KAOS all year,” says Jacqueline Johnston from Melbourne, who returned with her family for a second year. “It’s an amazing opportunity to be experiencing, in a single weekend, a lot of activities that we wouldn’t usually have easy access to. I believe it’s important for kids to get outdoors for their growth, development, their mental activity, their physical activity, to be away from screens and to be social as well, and KAOS delivers all of that and more,” says Johnston.

“Just to see the kids’ faces light up at each activity is so rewarding,” says event spokesperson, Vicki Chrzanowski, Manager of the YMCA Recreation Camp. “It’s amazing to watch as parents oversee children attempting things they never thought they would, pushing boundaries of what they thought possible, and experimenting with new outdoor activities they may never have experienced before – it is a very powerful event in terms of laying the foundations for a happy and healthy adulthood, hopefully with a lifelong connection to nature,” says Chrzanowski.

Co-organiser and camp host, Peter Stewart, from Baptist Camping’s Camp Wilkin, believes the KAOS event provides a unique way to introduce the outdoors not only to a new generation but also to parents who may not have had an outdoors upbringing themselves.

“The idea is to give kids and parents a little taste of the huge number of ways we can engage actively and safely with the outdoors, and then provide them with pathways to pursue those activities they enjoy the most with a view to developing a lifelong affinity with the outdoors,” says Stewart.

Kids Adventure Outdoors. Copyright YMCA Recreation Camp Anglesea 2017. All rights reserved.

KAOS Anglesea was conceived in response to a growing recognition that many children spend unhealthy amounts of time indoors which experts believes contributes significantly to emotional, psychological and health problems during childhood, all of which have the potential for ongoing, negative impacts that span a lifetime.

The event was produced as part of the Victorian Government’s Premier’s Active April initiative and Nature Play Week. Premier’s Active April encourages all Victorians to do 30 minutes of physical activity a day during April. Active April is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to promote healthy and active lifestyles and get Victorians to join in the fun of increased physical activity.

“We’re very proud of what we achieved this weekend at Kids Adventure Outdoors Anglesea,” says Raylene Fordham, Executive Officer of the Business and Tourism Anglesea Association. “The event attracted more than 450 visitors who all enjoyed the amazing natural attractions of Anglesea, from the beaches and estuaries to the trails and riverscapes, as well as all the games and activities hosted at the event hub and the amazing facilities on offer at each of the recreation camps.”

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