I’ve been in the adventure business for over 20 years having first completed the rigorous Mountaincraft course then as an outdoor adventure guide and camps instructor and second running an outdoor adventure company. More recently for the last 8 years I’ve been Head of Outdoor Education at an elite Melbourne private school where I was responsible for taking over 1000 students per year on adventure expeditions but more importantly returning them home safely to the school and their parents. With these interactions with teachers, parents and, indeed, children the same frustrations keep bubbling to the surface. There is a real disconnection/distraction in the family unit relationship. Parent to parent; parent to child and child to teacher ….. and this lack of connection inevitably leads to a lack of respect. I’ve spoken to many kids who don’t even know what their parents do. There is a perceived lack of time, knowledge and skill to adequately address the previous frustration, and, There is an underlying ‘shaky foundation’ that I refer to as a lack of ‘Sense of Place’ that has occurred as a result of removing ourselves from the natural environment which manifests in feeling a lack of place and purpose.
To address these problems, I have created the 5 step Navigator program that helps families undertake a physical camping adventure with structured activities, so at the same time a metaphoric journey of discovery in their relationships. Starting with looking around them and seeing what they have and where they’re at and then setting a destination, mapping a path to get there, taking into account the bumps in the journey, and finally to take a look at what they have learned, ready to go on another adventure, both a physical journey and in the family relationship. Continuing to invest in ongoing adventures is to ensure quality time on this journey of life together. As an example, I recently worked with a family with 2 sons 12 and 10. The older son suffers from some significant disabilities and the extra requirements placed on this family where putting stress on every part of their life. Through the Navigator Program journey we were able to solve many of their hurdles for escaping what had become their ‘normal’ challenges. They now go camping as a family unit and enjoy quality ‘undistracted’ time as well as feel like a regular family.
I am truly fortunate that I am able to work in the field that rings my bell. I firmly and passionately believe that great power, healing and magic can be found at the intersection of human relationships and the natural environment. We live in busy times. We have surrounded ourselves with cities, gathered things and gadgets and gained access to unprecedented amounts of information, yet we have never been more disconnected from each other both within our families and our neighbourhoods. It is imperative that we look to reconnecting with people (including ourselves!) and this is the core focus of the Navigator program. I’m lucky. I have been privileged to witness fathers connect through tears with their 12 year old sons, reading a personal message handwritten on a paper boomerang whilst sitting on a rock in the forest. I have seen a 16 year old boy on a multi-day hike in the Central Australian desert, who hasn’t even thought about his mobile phone for 4 days, sit in silent awe, centring himself and then find out the next year that that moment brought meaning and purpose to his studies and further future! It is cliché but true. We often embark on Adventure to find something, but in the end we find ourselves and each other. My name is Scott Brown and I am The Outdoors Guy.