Nick: For two main reasons – This project ties in well with our vision: OBHK is dedicated to building a stronger Hong Kong by developing resilient individuals. To complete this challenge, we must work together. The aim to promote sustainability and raise environmental awareness is the same message we tell our students. Also, Norman from Run For Good has been part of the Outward Bound community for a long time!
Nick: Connection to nature, and therefore protecting it, is a key component of our educational framework. Instead of us teaching them, students embark on a journey of self-learning. There are three parts to our framework - learning about yourselves, building community and understanding the natural world. As our founder - Sir David Akers-Jones said, “We need to make sure Hong Kong’s young people maintain a connection with the outdoors and the environment because as Hong Kong becomes more urban, if we are not careful, we are going to lose that connection.”
Nick: Through our courses, we incorporate a ‘leave-no-trace’ concept to remind participants to be aware of the environment. Participants live with less and see ways to live with less waste at home, too. As an example, some of our courses will have young participants out paddling and then arrive on a beach covered in litter and plastic, which they rarely consider what happens to after consumption. When they witness the polluted beach, an originally beautiful environment, the message hits harder. The experience of being surrounded by trash is more effective than just being told to protect the environment. Our facilitators will also debrief the experience and instil the mindset of environmental responsibility, changing the mindset of the participants from the inside out.
We also promote these values through our daily operations and organisational goals. We just got solar panels installed, in which we hope to alleviate the use of unsustainable energy. We also try to minimise the use of single-use plastics in our office and operations. Finally, Outward Bound International is in the process of developing an environmental charter which all its schools will sign up to.
Nick: First of all, we train all our staff from the very beginning. Each field staff will have to undergo a 1-year training and assessment period before they are fully operational. There are also regular refresher sessions for staff to maintain and learn new skills. Secondly, Outward Bound is internationally accredited by the Association for Experiential Education, which is one of the highest safety standards recognised globally. Outward Bound International also visits us every 2 years, and we receive a certificate of endorsement for reaching their standards. There is a huge network of people and committees that ensure safety here.
Nick: We will give our full support. On the event and other practicing days, we will provide full safety cover by sending boats and our professional staff to escort the whole process. We will also help arrange other logistics such as water, food, and provide safety advice. We're excited to be able to use our talents in safety management to support environmental initiatives.
Credit: Run For Good