Berghaus arranged a special morning activity for 50 school pupils along with their teachers, in a park near its global headquarters in Sunderland. The initiative was a pilot event for #itsgreatoutthere, The European Outdoor Group’s (EOG) Europe wide campaign to promote outdoor participation and healthier, more active lifestyles.
With help from local MP Sharron Hodgson, Berghaus made contact with George Washington Primary School, where head teacher Ailsa Taylor was keen for her pupils to try a new outdoor experience. A team from Berghaus created routes for groups to follow around the park and answer questions about different locations. The activity was designed to give youngsters a chance to learn some of the basics about map reading and using a compass, while exploring the outdoors.
#itsgreatoutthere is an initiative that was launched by the EOG in 2015, to promote participation in outdoor activities. Through the campaign, EOG members and other outdoor businesses are trying to inspire people to lead healthier lives by heading outdoors, offering an alternative to more sedentary pursuits, and playing a positive role in combating the epidemic of inactivity that is threatening to overwhelm society. In 2016, #itsgreatoutthere will focus on helping young people to access the outdoors. The Berghaus and George Washington Primary School activity was a pilot event that will provide a template for other companies to use as a guide later in the year.
Richard Leedham, Berghaus brand president, comments: “#itsgreatoutthere is a really important campaign for our industry on many levels and at its heart, it is about participation. The theory is that once young people get a taste of the outdoors, they will want to return time and again and will be active for life. Judging by the enthusiasm of the children from George Washington Primary School, that theory is very sound. The youngsters were an absolute credit to their school and they all appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves.”
Ailsa Taylor comments: “We were delighted to work with Berghaus on the #itsgreatoutthere pilot. The school is a great exponent of learning outdoors and has a forest school on site. Enabling the children to get out and about in the great outdoors, gave them a fabulous opportunity to learn new skills, in an environment where they could actually use them. The children came back excited and motivated by what they had learnt”.
Aaron Lang from Year 5 adds: “The park was absolutely amazing and the scenery was great. It was fun solving the questions. I would love to go again.”
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, comments: “With so many fantastic outdoor places to go and visit here in Sunderland and the wider North East, it is great to see Berghaus engaging with local schools to help children experience the outdoors, learn important life skills and find a love for nature.
“As childhood obesity is becoming an ever-growing problem in our society. It is great that companies like Berghaus are doing more to encourage children to be fit and healthy and I look forward to seeing more schools get involved with #itsgreatoutthere later this year.”
Following the event in Herrington Country Park, Berghaus and the EOG presented photos and footage to the rest of the outdoor industry during ISPO MUNICH. The EOG will now prepare a set of guidelines for outdoor companies to use when preparing their own #itsgreatoutthere events to run later in the year. A target date for the 2016 campaign activity will be announced by the association soon, with the intention of creating a wealth of #itsgreatoutthere material that is shared across social media, promoting outdoor participation and sending a strong message to European policymakers about the major role that the sector can play in fighting the inactivity epidemic.