Sam Garrett-Jones, Executive Member, National Parks Association of NSW
The Activities Leaders’ Forum, held on Saturday, 29 Feb 2020 in Sutherland, was well attended attracting 22 members from five branches.
Gary Dunnett welcomed participants, underlining the importance of the activities program to NPA and the connection with nature that it provides. Sam Garrett-Jones introduced the purposes of the meeting in terms of ‘social and sharing, succession, safety, and strategy’. Four leaders – Brian Everingham (Southern Sydney), Joan Lowe (Southern Highlands), Jenae Johnston (Bushwalk the ‘Gong), and Graham Burgess (Illawarra) – spoke on their very different motivations and tips for leading activities.
NPA’s Bushwalking Manager, Matt McClelland, introduced a competency-based framework for bush leadership, as well as triggering a (test) Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) in the room! A round table discussion considered what NPA Activities did well, didn’t do well, and what could be improved. Participants provided helpful feedback on immediate ‘tweaks’ to the online activities program database, as well as suggestions for more medium-term support for leaders, such as half-day workshops on particular topics. One valuable idea was the creation of an online forum (such as a private Facebook page) to facilitate ongoing private discussions between interested leaders, the bushwalking coordinator and Field Activities Committee members on a range of topical issues. All present, particularly the new and aspiring leaders, welcomed the opportunity for a face to face talk with other leaders.