Many of us joined the team at The Outdoor Education Group because we wanted to be part of a purpose-driven organisation and make a positive difference in the lives of young people. Others joined to explore Australia’s incredible natural landscapes. Georgia Potts, Course Coordinator, was motivated by both these considerations and has been with The Outdoor Education Group for almost 5 years. Georgia started as an Outdoor Educator for Journeys programs and is currently a Course Coordinator working from Djidbidjidbi College, in Jabiru, Northern Territory.
WHAT LED YOU TO JOIN THE OUTDOOR EDUCATION GROUP?
I grew up in the United Kingdom but was working in Southeast Asia when friends recommended The Outdoor Education Group as an employer. I really wanted to explore a beautiful country I had never been to before while making a positive difference in the lives of young people. For me, The Outdoor Education Group was the perfect fit!
WHAT DOES A COURSE COORDINATOR DO?
Course Coordinators support the preparation of programs and manage the Outdoor Educators who are out on a program, handling all things logistics, communications, and risk. We brief our team as well as attending school staff on things like joint supervision plans, first aid and emergency scenarios.
Once a program is running, we support much of what is happening in the field from food drop-offs, maintaining communications with our Outdoor Educators, problem-solving and working alongside the School Coordinator to ensure our programs are delivered smoothly and students have an unforgettable time with us.
The work I do today is supported by my experience as an Outdoor Educator. From managing one student group to multiple groups with increased logistics, risk and communications responsibilities.
Ultimately, I see my role as a support for those who are out working hard in the field with the students; often I’ll assist in their decision-making processes. It is my responsibility to see the bigger picture and therefore allow our Educators to concentrate solely on their groups. I take pride in empowering our Outdoor Educators and being present for them.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
No two days are the same! I begin each day by checking in with all the team members, giving them weather information and any pertinent updates. We call this scheds or scheduled communications. Once I have heard from all the groups, it is time to get started with my daily tasks; this usually includes program logistics such as dropping out food, filling up and delivering water.
I am always on call during the day to respond to our Outdoor Educators, sometimes supporting them with first aid/medical issues or environmental factors. I am responsible for guiding our field team, so I need to ensure I am aware of all the different risk factors in a situation. I will often work alongside a School Coordinator during these tasks. I may then have time to prepare for future programs and complete admin work. Evening scheds occur at 6 pm and usually result in some logistics tasks.
Some days run smoothly, whereas other days can be flat-out responding to outline changes, shifts in weather, medical issues and more.
Here, in the Northern Territory, each program is 24 days long, so I get to know the staff and students well and I am always thinking about how I can best support the team out in the field with their groups.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A PROGRAM? WHAT’S INVOLVED?
Preparation for a program involves ordering the equipment, creating a food order, communicating directly with the school to receive medical information as well as managing school preferences, creating logistics plans based on the outline, managing bookings, monitoring environmental factors, creating briefing notes and risk assessments, creating activity resources and more!
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love my job for so many reasons! I am really passionate about the outdoors influencing our physical, social and mental wellbeing, so I love helping young people connect with nature.
I love the challenge of a dynamic work environment, responding to changes and supporting staff who are working hard and doing a great job with their groups.
I love working with the community, which is especially prominent in my role up here in the Northern Territory.
Recently, I had the opportunity to go with five students to an Elders’ Lunch dedicated to celebrating the Elders and Traditional Owners of the Kakadu National Park as part of NAIDOC Week. The School Coordinator, students and myself cleaned and set up the area and served the elders tea and coffee as well as food supplied by community caterers. Each elder received a winter hamper for the cold with blankets, flannels, bedsheets etc from the health organisation Red Lily. The students chatted with Goldie, an Elder, for ages and learnt a lot from her, especially regarding Bininj youth and the few opportunities they have. It was a memorable evening for me.