Outdoor People’s reflections on 2017

Round the Outdoor Family Camping campfire in August, one of our amazing Outdoor People volunteers, Sarah Waite (an ethnographer and coach in her 9 to 5 life), got everyone, from youngest to eldest, reflecting on their ‘3 Great Things’ each evening.

It’s a really simple everyday technique that’s proven to help make you happier. Once you’ve started, it gets brilliantly addictive. It’s one of the many simple but profound lessons I took from 2017, and I hope it can help all of you Outdoor Peeps as we move into 2018…

So how do you do it? Basically choose 3 great things that have happened to you, think why they are great, and write them down. Yep that’s it.

You can find out a bit more in Sarah’s popular Facebook Group: Sēing | 3 Great Things, (there will be a website coming soon).

Outdoor People’s 3 Great Things

These are the memories that make me zing, my personal picks for 2017, the experiences that got me springing up in the morning and looking forward to the new year…

1) Outdoor Family Camping – helping over 30 families with children aged 1-17 to go camping and have adventures. We visited Green Farm Kent and Inwood Camping; lent kit to our friends at Hackney Quest and Hackney’s The Crib and finished the year taking a group up Snowdon. The Snowdon trip was particularly special. We launched Outdoor People on Snowdon in 2014, so to take a group of families up there, to accompany Maria and Jo and Erin and Ben and Jamie and Hannah and Blessaid up to the very top, and see how excited they were and proud of themselves was just oh so brilliant.

We are of course, grateful to The Big Lottery Fund, VangoGreen Farm Kent, to Project Dirt and latterly to Hackney Community Transport, and to everyone that has bought tents or hired kit from us at Exhale, Offline and other events. We are also HUGELY grateful to all our volunteers, especially those that gave up time to join us in Kent, at Exhale or other events raising funds for this. We couldn’t have done it without you!!!

2) Outdoor Classroom Day
– Working with Project Dirt and backed by Dirt is Good/OMO globally, I’ve been leading this global campaign and in 2017 we saw over 2 million children get involved across over 100 countries.

This is our THINK GLOBAL campaign (complementing the ACT LOCAL Family Camping project), connecting us to like-minded NGOs around the world. With help from Unilever we’re starting to press the world’s media to make outdoor childhoods aspirational.

It also connects us to the different challenges facing families across four continents – to children getting outdoors in a Greek refugee camp; to schools enjoying outdoor lessons in Jeddah and Jerusalem; and to schools and families across the UK. If your school or your child’s school isn’t on the map yet, why not sign up as a supporter? (We’ll send you a free poster to promote the campaign).

For Outdoor People, working on this campaign has been doubly important as the consultancy money it brings in helps keep the whole organisation growing and gives us match-funding capacity to leverage against all our projects.

3) Outdoor People Stories
  Every week in the shop, we connect with more and more real people setting out on adventures. We’ve also met some amazing peeps at conferences, festivals and events.

Stories to remind us why we do this

Hearing from our customers why great kit inspires or helps them to go on great adventures, reminds us how important outdoors EVERY day is important for everyone, and especially for kids.

We’ve heard many, many inspiring stories: the mum of an autistic child who saw her child transform once they got to an adventure playground every day; the single mum who had been battling bedtimes and used one of Sarah’s meditation techniques to help her child get to sleep; the parents who were amazed about how quickly their kids went feral and LOVED it; the dads who slept outdoors for the first time; the student who took a Steripen round India and never bought bottled water; the camping in snow with a Thermarest; the hammock campers converted. And the many, many people who come to get Klean Kanteens and Elephant Boxes to reduce their reliance on plastic…

I have to make time to include an ‘Oscar List’ of thank-you’s: to  our Netil Market family, to colleagues in Unilever and Project Dirt that help us make the Outdoor Classroom Day website work; to our amazing Directors…

Can’t wait to see what the reflections are next year! But for now… I’m off outdoors to start my 30 minutes a day challenge!

Happy New Year!


Founder, Outdoor People

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