This week I’m going to talk about next week! Sure that makes sense I hear you say!!!
I’m off to a Hackermathon! It’s kinda like the FIRST Robotics comp, but with less time and without robots which is a shame because they’re really cool. Anyway next weekend is the annual GovHack, where teams come together for the weekend and try to create solutions to big data problems or processes for the government.
The most likely scenario and outcome from the weekend will be that an awesome collection of practical ideas will be developed that will prove we don’t really need half the government departments, we only need 5% of all public servants and our nation could be better run by 5 robots and a winged monkey! Once the government sees this, they’ll use their memory wiping ray gun thingy on everyone. Trust me! They have one. It’s real because I saw it in Men in Black. We will all forget the awesome efficient systems we designed and then come back next year to do it all over again!
Ok so now what’s it really all about? Well, basically what I said, but hopefully without the memory wiping. It gives innovative and disruptive people the chance to create some cool things which the government may actually use to solve real problems. I seriously can’t wait! Next Friday I’ll be heading to Canberra Grammar School to join a team I’ve never met before. It’s going to be awesome! I have no idea who I will meet there or what problems need solving, but the thought of the endless possibilities this presents is so exciting!
How crazy is the idea of meeting random people for the first time to solve a problem you have no idea about! I’ll be tweeting and Instagram as the weekend progresses. If anyone from Canberra wants to come along and solve a massive problem, then check out https://www.govhack.org/regions/act/ and get yourself booked in. It’s going to be amazing!
This is one of the dumbest questions you can imagine, but it's something I get asked quite a lot. Always in a different way, but basically it's the same question each time. This is mainly something I experience with boys. Their level of risk taking behaviour far outweighs girls on outdoor activities. No matter what the activity, someone in the group wants to push the boundaries so far that it risks stepping right outside the safe parameters of the activity.
Why can't we go swimming here? Why do we have to wear PFDs? I can swim!!! Why can't we go to the terrain park? I can do a 20 foot jump no worries! I’ve done it before! Mr. Jones let’s us do it! Playing one teacher off another is a common methodology for kids.
This is a massive challenge with boys and for an inexperienced instructor can be a mine field. Junior instructors often find it a challenge to balance discipline and responsibility with relationship building with students. However, a wrong move with boys wanting to push the limits can mean a serious accident in the making.
I’ve seen these happen before and I’ve seen near misses, which I’ve managed to catch in time and it’s not because the students are trying to disobey. They just don’t understand the risk in what they’re doing. It’s so easy to get momentarily distracted and find you have a student at the top of an abseil ready to go and they’re missing a carabiner, helmet or they’re heading towards the cliff without being clipped into the safety anchor line.
Whilst you can’t change boys and their desire to risk everything, you can be and must be more vigilant when running activities with them. Boys respect strong boundaries and although they will still push this, pulling them up whenever they’re doing so, will reinforce your position as an instructor, as well as ensure the highest level of safety for any activity.
Boys will find any excuse to do something dangerous and stupid, you can be assured of that! However, as an instructor in an outdoor environment, you have the ability to role model positive and proactive risk management and mitigation behaviours for the boys. If they do something way out and you have to drag them back in, use this as part of a debriefing process. Link it to other real risks in their lives and demonstrate ways and reasons for avoiding risk and effectively managing it. Whilst they might not get it right away, as with any experiential education, it could help them later in life to avoid serious risk and danger to themselves and others.
Always remember, when dealing with boys, you have to be far more vigilant and ensure you look out for the dumbest and most dangerous thing possible, because they’re most likely going to be doing it!
Always Living On The Edge!
This week, I’m in Thredbo for what is often the busiest week on the ski fields. It’s a combination of the last week of the school holidays, coupled with the Redlands Cup and a number of other inter-schools snow sports’ competitions. Many teachers use the draw card of snow sports to organise a school trip and at the same time get themselves a nice expenses ‘paid’ vacation! Whilst I’ve gone on one of these trips before, there’s often a lack of understanding of the risks inherent with snow sports that comes with this and having been part of a major snow sports’ program for six years that ran for the whole season, we would often see other schools’ groups on the mountain that were less than prepared for the conditions and the overall environment.
Whilst I’m not saying that teachers just throw caution to the wind, however, the risk profile of snow sports is one of the highest of any outdoor activity. Combine, speed, trees, ice, freezing conditions, lots of equipment, kids and other people who are out of control on the slopes and you get a challenging recipe for injuries. However, this shouldn’t be the case and through careful planning and management, every trip can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
So what are some ways to help plan for a safe and effective ski trip?
Have fun! Skiing and snowboarding are awesome sports and they challenge everyone in a different way. Ultimately you’re there with your group so everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience. If you setup the trip with clear guidelines and structures in place, you’re going to have an enjoyable and awesome experience.
This week, I’m taking a look at a combo of an awesome day out and the serious work that an organisation does to help protect our sea life! SeaWorld at San Diego is a great example of an industry leader that provides entertainment, but at the same time education and support for our marine creatures.
A couple of months ago, I wrote about Sydney Aquarium and so it was great to experience what the US has to offer in terms of marine experiences. I was not disappointed, as SeaWorld had a fantastic array of creatures, hands on exhibits, shows and wild rides!
The shows that are on throughout the day help engage both young and old with a range of different sea creatures they’d never otherwise experience. Although watch out at the end of the dolphin show! If you’re intending to stay dry all day, probably best to stand back a bit! You’ve been warned! The other shows include the killer whales, sea lions and feedings for the whole range of sea creatures. Oh and of course my favourite, the Beluga whale (a white whale), which was totally awesome in the arctic section of the park. You also have the choice of optional extras to get up close and personal with a range of sea creatures, which for many could be a life changing moment. If you like the idea of getting kissed by a large water based mammal, then this might just be your thing! For kids who might have confidence issues, this could be a very rewarding experience.
The work that SeaWorld does to help educate and inform people about our marine creatures is amazing. There’s a range of different programs which are conducted by the park that most visitors don’t see. However, it’s so important to the health of our seas and our marine creatures. For some more on the valuable work they do, check out: https://seaworldcares.com
Tons Of Rays!
If you want to get rid of the kids for a few days then, SeaWorld is also the place to do it! There’s a huge range of holiday, school and education camps available that combine the important education and environmental work the park does, with some great fun and entertainment. Best of all, they keep the kids overnight, so you can go and enjoy a night of fiery jazz flute in the social hotspots of San Diego! To see the full range of options check out the SeaWorld Camps page. (Sorry doesn’t have the places to be seen in SD on this page).
Just In Case...
Ok so now about the rides! Let’s face it, even the most environmentally scientific minded amongst us just love the rides. My favourite was the Manta, on which I managed to get the front seat for! It was awesome!!! An adrenaline pumping ride which shot up, down and twisted all around, pinning me to my seat as it rocketed along. There’s a stack of other rides, some that will get you totally soaked and others which are moving just fast enough to put a smile on grandma’s face.
This makes for a wonderful mix of education, entertainment and thrill seeking fun, all of which is contributing to the vital work that SeaWorld Parks does for the environment.
SeaWorld has parks in San Diego, Orlando & San Antonia as well as a range of other associated parks and adventures for the whole family. It’s well worth a visit when planning your next US adventure.