The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on summer camps, outdoor recreation, outdoor education and tourism. The Canadian Camping Association forecasted that 57% of camps were at risk of bankruptcy in 2021. The outdoor sector continues to face challenges including a lack of availability in skilled workers, barriers to accessing training and relevant professional development and a lack of diversity in the outdoor workforce.
The Training Academy offers an innovative model that offers free training to current and aspiring outdoor leaders. It pairs technical skill development through experiential outdoor journeys with classroom workshops on topics such as wilderness mental health first aid, trauma-informed care and coaching techniques, to name a few. Participants can also gain both technical and occupational certifications along with year-long mentorship by the Training Academy’s highly experienced faculty.
We are also partnering with BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ grassroots organizations across the country to build access for
under-represented groups, refine programming and build more inclusive spaces. While there remains much to do, we will continue to connect with equity seeking groups to invest in the change needed until we are all sustained and thriving as a collective outdoor sector.