Sarah Dunstan speaks to Aaron Dodds about his recent business venture for children, taking place amongst our local natural landscape.
Hi Aaron. What an exciting new initiative based here on the Mid North Coast! Please tell our readers a little about this travel based business model?
Intothewildadventures is an exciting new venture, looking to showcase our region with a unique outdoors educational experience for children to inspire and motivate independence, teamwork, resilience, problem solving, clean living, utilising our rugged yet beautiful coastline and hinterland.
Intothewildadventures has specialist staff to run exploration sessions via treasure hunts, mystery tours, hiking, surfing, climbing, kayaking, diving, camping, below water experiences, catching and cooking lessons, available for all ages and skill levels.
Our goal is to work closely with our tourism and accommodation bodies, to provide a specialist solution to help get more heads on beds, create packages to extend the stay and give all visitors a truly amazing experience while visiting the Mid North Coast.
Apart from the stunning surrounds of the regional landscape, what inspired you to create such a business?
This journey started for me at the age 16. Being a local, I volunteered with St Vincent De Paul Forster with Danny Austin and Greg and Lorraine Byrne, helping vulnerable youth as a team leader, taking these youth to outdoors educational centres like Great Aussie Bush Camp and Myuna Bay. In the past 15 years I have continued to work closely with underprivileged and in particular Indigenous youth via Boogie Youth and other specialist based clinics. Now as a father, my passion is inspiring the next generation to become more aware of their environmental footprint, sustainable living and using our Mother Earth to help them grow and become wonderful leaders of tomorrow.
My eldest son is a huge inspiration for me; having Autism means his learning and social interactions are unique. I use adventure and outdoor exploration to remove screen time, create problem solving opportunities, outdoor education and social challenges.
Having gained support from local Worimi and Biripi Elders and community, this allows us to explore most watercourses, caves, beaches, waterfalls, and underwater worlds in our region; Intothewildadventures is looking to combine our outdoors passion, educational desires, to inspire locals and visitors to enjoy our region, live, laugh, learn and love.
What are some of the learning modules that you cover with the kids?
Intothewildadventures is all about the experience, using a simple model of structured outdoor sessions, educating all participants on the history of the region we are exploring, the flora and fauna, the environmental footprint and more.
After working with vulnerable youth and people with barriers for many years, we have built modules to understand their learning needs and adapt to either the environment or the individual. Intothewildadventures has structured experiences for all ages and skill levels, from kids’ parties with a basic treasure hunt to the adventure extremists where we can hike, dive and climb. We are skilled to work with behavioural, cognitive, constructive and 21st Century outdoors learning.
Where are some of the particular places and areas the trips encounter?
Intothewildadventures have set trips from Diamond Head, Middle Brother, Blackhead, Copeland, Gloucester, Wallis Lake, Cape Hawke Harbour, Cape Hawke, Stroud, Forster and Seal Rocks. Each trip design has the ability to be adaptable for each adventure to suit terrain and weather conditions for all groups and individual needs.
Why do you think it’s important for children to spend time in the natural landscape away from media screens etc.?
The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend children receive up to two hours of time spent per day outdoors enjoying nature for good health and development. Getting the right balance between green time and screen time is important for all kids and adult health, including their cognitive and emotional development. This will help to ensure they develop into capable and resilient people.
As a Manning-Great Lakes local, what do you love about living in this coastal spot?
I have very fond memories exploring the area and local regions as a child with my father, siblings and mates. I’ve always loved learning about the land and sea, the flora and fauna, catch and cook.
Now as an adult, I have a spiritual connection to Mother Earth and have continued my adventurist spirit with a mat, Anthony Murphy, turning stones unturned, finding over twenty new waterfalls, caves and an amazing underwater world. Living in this region we can travel less than twenty minutes from townships and find pristine landscapes which truly will enhance your life.
How can people best contact you to enquire about upcoming adventures?
Please view www.intothewildadventures.com.au
Intothewildadventures is also on Facebook and Instagram. For more information, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 552 085.