Into the great outdoors

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 June, 2011, 12:00am


Outdoor education programmes provide opportunities for people to develop a range of personal skills and attitudes that can benefit them in all aspects of their lives.

By overcoming the physical and mental challenges, these programmes provide participants a chance to build a sense of independence and self-reliance.

By participating in problem solving, team building and other non-competitive activities, people can also develop inter-personal behaviour such as trusting and caring for others, having tolerance and the willingness to give or accept support from others when needed.

Dragonfly ( is offering a five-day outdoor education programme during the summer holidays called Island Adventurer that consists of a series of day trips to three of Hong Kong's islands: Lantau, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau.

'Our programme aims to get students outside, into our natural environment, learn new skills, create a genuine interest in the outdoors, and have fun,' explains Will Huetinck, company director of Dragonfly.

'Many youth in Hong Kong need a fun and safe environment to push their boundaries, try new activities, explore unknown areas of Hong Kong, and to build confidence and self-esteem. Our course aims to do this in a supportive and positive environment. Individuals with a range of abilities can sign up as we accommodate everyone. We do this by splitting into ability levels and having low instructor to student ratios.'

Participants will be divided into two age groups, eight to 12 and 13 to 17.

The main outdoor activities for both groups will be sea kayaking, cycling, raft building and abseiling.

Other activities include arts and crafts, beach volleyball, camping skills, shelter making, hiking, fishing and kite making.

Basic instruction will be provided at the beginning of every activity and skill assessments will be conducted to ensure participant safety throughout the programme, Huetinck says.

For example, cycling will take place in an enclosed location for those who are inexperienced, while and the more experienced will be taken on rides along village pathways and country park trails.

'Parents concerned about safety issues can rest assured that all instructors are highly trained in outdoor activities and hold certifications in first aid, CPR, lifesaving and all the outdoor activities offered in the course,' Huetinck says.

The course takes place between July 18 to 21 and August 1 to 5, and costs HK$3,200, including all instruction, transportation, food and equipment.

Each day begins at 8.30am and concludes at 4.30pm. Instruction will be given in English, with support in Cantonese and Putonghua.