After the successful events in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Kids Adventure Outdoors (KAOS) is returning to the seaside town of Anglesea once again with the express aim of encouraging more kids to get more active in the outdoors more often.
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Scheduled for the weekend of the 8-9 April, 2017 – perfectly timed for the middle weekend of school holidays – KAOS has been extended to involve numerous outdoors recreation camps and organisations throughout Anglesea, making the most of the town’s unique land and seascapes and expansive outdoor recreation facilities. With more community organisations taking part, more activities have been added to the program with surfing, junior ranger and estuary explorations joining a jam-packed line-up that includes camping, mountain biking, canoeing, climbing, giant swing, archery and lots more.
The unique KAOS event was conceived in response to a growing recognition that many children spend unhealthy amounts of time indoors – the average child in Australia spends at least 44 hours per week in front of the TV or a screen – 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.
“We have been inspired by the many other worldwide movements now working to reconnect children with nature, recognising the positive and therapeutic benefits of the next generation being more active in general but specifically more active in an outdoors environment. ” says Vicki Chrzanowski, Manager of the YMCA Recreation Camp, Anglesea, which will host some of the activities.
“Connecting our kids with nature is an important childhood development issue,” says Chrzanowski. “It touches on health, education, community, recreation and natural resources. It’s all about facilitating play in nature and creating pathways to engender lifelong habits of activity and enjoyment in the outdoors.”
KAOS features activities aimed at engaging school-aged children with natural landscapes, giving them the opportunity to try a range of different outdoor pursuits and teaching them skills to make them (and their parents) feel comfortable and confident in the outdoors – skills and experiences that they can draw on for the rest of their lives.
A feature of this year’s event will be a much larger festival hub at the Anglesea Green which will provide extra activities for the younger 2-5 year olds as well older kids.
“We want to expose parents and children to the vast array of fun activities that can be enjoyed in the outdoors and then offer pathways for families to continue enjoying the outdoor pursuits they like the most, “ says Geoff Caldwell, Director of Camping at Baptist Camping, another of the partner recreation camps on the organising committee. “It’s about developing healthy lifestyle habits for the long term.”
The event is also a great way to participate in both the Victorian Government’s Premier’s Active April initiative and Nature Play Week.
The 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.
“Anglesea is the perfect setting for a Kids Adventure Outdoors weekend,” says Raylene Fordham, President of the Business and Tourism Anglesea Association, which is heading up the organisational committee of KAOS Anglesea.
“Our town already boasts excellent facilities offered through the numerous recreational camps based in town, plus the Scout Camp, the surrounding National and State Parks and the endless trails that weave through them, not to mention the opportunities for water based activities both seaside and on the town’s estuary inlet,” says Fordham “In terms of a safe but beautiful environment where families can get an easy taste of adventure activities, it is the perfect location.”
Kids Adventure Outdoors taps into academic American author, Richard Louv’s, seminal work Last Child In The Woods, linking the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation — he dubs it ‘nature-deficit disorder’ Louv argues that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.
“So we thought that an event celebrating kids engaging in adventure activities is timely and relevant, and would serve to give parents an ideal forum to unplug their kids from their electronic gadgets and plug them back into physical activity enjoyed amid a wild but safe natural environment,” says Chrzanowski.
“Importantly, the weekend will give those parents who have little experience or confidence in taking their kids into nature, a safe, comfortable setting in which to ease their way into the outdoors.”
As part of the weekend, families are being encouraged to get a first taste of the camping life, with a facilitated overnight camp-out being offered.
“For those families yet to experience the joys of camping out under the stars, or who don’t have the equipment, or just want to get more experience camping before going it alone, this is the perfect opportunity,” says Chrzanowski. “We provide the tents, a campfire dinner and have hosts on hand to ensure everyone enjoys their night under canvas, flame-cooked marshmallows included!”
For more information and to book your family into KAOS: www.kidsadventureoutdoors.org.au.
A sampling of the two-day event line-up includes:
- Canoeing – a first paddling experience in canoes on flat water
- Sailing – get a taste of salt air and sailing in the safe confines of the Anglesea River
- Climbing walls – experience the joys of the vertical life, including roped wall climbs and bouldering room.
- Giant swing – for thrill seekers, a swing that lets you go high in the sky
- Learning to surf – in the safe waters of Anglesea Main Beach
- Trail run – run/walk along fun trails. Parents welcome. Non-competitive – every child is a winner
- Stand Up Paddleboarding – great for balance and strength on the calm waters of the inlet
- Mountain bike – short mountain bike course
- Fishing – watch their smile as they catch their first ever fish!
- Low ropes course – test your balance on this mega-course of low rope challenges
- Skateboarding – four wheel roller derby
- Geocaching – navigate your way to hidden treasures
- Bush Hut building – let nature help you build a shelter
- Camp Out – parents and children encouraged to sleep in tents sited in our special camping zone
Kids Adventure Outdoors is a joint initiative between Business and Tourism Anglesea Association, YMCA, Baptist Camping, Anglesea and District Community Bank, and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee with support from Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism, Surf Coast Shire, Premier’s Active April and Sport and Recreation Victoria.
For general enquires please call KAOS Anglesea 0n 0497 890 400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bookings can be made online today at: www.kidsadventureoutdoors.org.au