Uniquely different outdoor education programs.
Black Diamond Adventures came into being in 2017 to offer a uniquely different – and sorely missed – approach to the personal development of Australian youth through outdoor education programs.
This approach was developed by our founder, Rob Mann, who had spent over a decade working with youth as a PDHPE teacher and Outdoor Ed facilitator. He also had formative experiences in his late teens/early twenties working as stockman in remote areas of the Northern Territory and as a leader in the health and fitness industry.
And so, while the outdoors is a core element to the process, there are a number of psychological influences that have shaped who we are, how we operate and what we hope to achieve for ourselves – and our clients.
THE AUSTRALIAN OUTDOORS
For many outdoor education programs, the outdoors is considered the environment where learning takes place, with the emphasis being on the learning or teachable component – often achieved by getting outside of one’s comfort zone. Being outdoors typically heightens that feeling of being outside of one’s comfort zone.
At Black Diamond Adventures both elements are equally valued.
Our outdoor education programs help participants to learn about Australia and being Australian. This is because a growing number of young people are no longer provided the opportunity to experience the real Australia for themselves. Like it or not, urbanisation is spreading and young people are, more than ever, living with parents who themselves have largely lost connection to the land. With positive numbers of international migrants choosing Sydney and its suburbs as their new home, it is equally as important that they have a positive experience of the Australian culture and feel like they belong.
Much of what we offer is the ability to experience Australian pastimes that generations before have taken for granted. Things that are the birthright of every Australian. Things like: how to fish; how to cook a damper and boil the billy; how to sleep under the stars; how to surf a wave at the beach; how to talk – really talk – with other people around a camp fire. And then there is the understanding of why you should do all these things.
APPRECIATION FOR AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE
Most Australians live on the Eastern seaboard, however, it was regional and rural Australia – on the other side of the great diving range – that largely helped make Australia the successful country it is today. This came about due to our Aboriginal first nations and the pioneering spirit of Australian stockmen working together.
Through our outdoor education programs we look to make these connections very much alive and relevant, by giving participants insights and actual experiences drawn from this pioneering life. Before becoming a PE and Outdoor Education teacher, our founder, Rob Mann, worked as a stockman in the Northern Territory gaining invaluable experience, knowledge, empathy and passion that are melded into our programs.
As we’ve come to realise, it’s the indomitable experience of previous Australians that shaped the character of Australians and our grit and determination that we are known for. The outdoor challenges we provide enable people to find their own grit and determination – and for them to take on part of the Australian ethos.
Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
– Anonymous –
SEEING THE INDIVIDUAL
While we work with groups, our attention is honed on the individual. So many of our young people are anxious, lack confidence, or mask their insecurities through acting out and unfortunately at times by bullying.
The most important job we do at Black Diamond Adventures is to respect and connect with each individual so we can work together. By placing focus on an individuals strengths we have found success in growing self-confidence, self-esteem and developing a positive sense of self. This creates a platform for personal development and a range of well-being outcomes to be achieved.
We tell all of our students: “We believe in you.” “We believe you’ve got what it takes.”
Our goal is for them to believe it too.
SEEING THEIR FUTURE
Encouraging our youth goes hand in hand with shaping our youth. For us that involves a conversation about character – about how each and every one of us consciously creates our own character. We can model ourselves on certain people. We can choose to react to something in a certain way. We can choose to treat people in certain ways.
We work with young people to help them imagine the type of person they want to be, the character they want to have, and how they will become the best possible version of themselves.
To become better at anything requires opportunity, practise, feedback, practise, personal reflection and more practise – which is where motivation comes in to play. As a former leader in the health industry, Rob, incorporates progressive principles of Positive Psychology to up-skill staff so that they may effectively apply a range of Positive Psychology Initiatives (PPI) to the outdoor education programs we deliver. This enables participants to develop skills that they will be able to carry with them when they leave us.
In conclusion, the outdoors is an incredibly powerful learning environment because it allows for experiential and unique outcomes to be achieved. We believe by spending long periods of time with young people there is increased opportunity to make a lasting, positive impact on the future leaders of our country.