Outdoors for Out of Home Care young people: The benefits of the bush and nature for children in the out of home care system.

Ms Deborah Watson1
1CREATE, North Melbourne, Australia


The purpose of this presentation is to explore the benefits of outdoor education for children in out of home care and to encourage more programs specifically designed for children and young people in out of home care.

Children and young people in out of home care benefit greatly from rich outdoor education and nature experiences. All children in the OOHCS have experienced trauma and this often continues whilst in the system. Children are moved frequently and have trouble maintaining relationships and education because of constant displacement.

Camps provide a safe haven for young people to explore relationships, challenge and stretch their boundaries and develop friendships. These elements are vital for healthy young people.
Much of this presentation is anecdotal as I have not conducted research, however the benefits are evident.
Much has been learnt over the years in running programs for young people and how to best structure programs.

My hope is that the value of these experiences is offered to all young people in out of home care

Deborah has worked with young people in out of home care for over eight years. Deborah has a background in theatre and dance and currently works for CREATE foundation. Over the years she has facilitated many camps for young people in the out of home care system and seen the incredible benefits such experiences bring. Outside of work Deborah is a grandmother of one , mother of three, loves to cycle, dance, read, garden and funnily enough go hiking

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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