Loren – we haven’t met so I hope my out-of-the-blue comments may spotlight a few alternative thoughts/views to those you are likely to be receiving from most in the OBA community. You’re right of course that the OBA community is massively supportive and rightly so – based on OB’s impact from its beginnings here. But just a thought… the OBA community comprises many from almost its origins here and through the times when OBA was a influential, pioneering force for challenge and development in industry, public service, military & related, disadvantaged communities and groups and education. I count myself in that number but like me many of those long-term supportive links will pass on over the next say 10-15 years. And at a time and facing a future when the fundamentals of Kurt Hahn’s OB will be in dire need again.
As a past director/chair I confess that I’m probably solo on the subject of what follows. John Atkin and others will certainly confirm that. But I believe that Dr Hahn might also be questioning the efficacy of OB around the globe these days. It’s not that OB courses don’t receive voluble participant appreciation; it’s more because the course challenges/deliveries may no longer be appropriate for today’s society and some of the almost certain destabilising world dynamics we face into.
Australian society today ( much like that of many such countries) is a cushioned environment for most young people _ at least most of those experiencing OBA and similar outdoor experiential programs. Parenting and early educational life in general is far more sheltering:- shielding children and our youth from risks, bullying, hardships, and all of the knock-about rough and tumble by which our young learned to positively relate to the not-so-nice aspects of life like hurt, confrontation, disappointment/loss, failure etc. all of which remain as vital today as ever. Few dare suggest it – but such cotton-wooling over a few generations unquestionably ranks high in Australia’s continuing depression/suicide rate escalation – just as one downside characteristic. Another aspect is related to more self-centredness and less outer perspectives of obligation. Consequently and more than ever the fundamentals of OB are needed as a well as a change -back to how parents and education prepare children for future useful lives. I won’t go on – but I don’t mind being out on a limb by repeating my belief that OB tenets should have a major role in that sort of environment and its related sphere of catching up with the related problems emanating from several generations of ‘soft” culture. Just some thoughts and you are not obliged to respond. But whatever – I wish you well – carlo
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