UCBON con­nect­ing pub­lic with Cape Bre­ton out­doors

The Victoria Standard - - Sports -

The Unama’ki Cape Bre­ton Out­door Net­work (UCBON) wants to con­nect the gen­eral pub­lic with all the out­door ac­tiv­i­ties Cape Bre­ton has to of­fer.

The 60-mem­ber com­mu­nity of out­door pro­fes­sion­als in­cludes univer­sity pro­fes­sors, tour op­er­a­tors, pub­lic health pro­fes­sion­als, mu­nic­i­pal and pro­vin­cial govern­ment em­ploy­ees, Mi'kmaq Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity Lead­er­ship (MPAL) Co­or­di­na­tors and Parks Canada em­ploy­ees. The net­work launched a year ago when a small group of out­door pro­fes­sion­als re­al­ized there were op­por­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate a strong re­gional net­work and im­prove their ca­pac­ity to get peo­ple out­doors.

“We saw lots of great stuff hap­pen­ing in lit­tle pots all over the place and not a good sense of what's go­ing on in the big­ger pic­ture is­land-wide,” said UCBON steer­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber and CBU Pro­fes­sion Pat Ma­her.

“For ex­am­ple, I might be run­ning a wilder­ness first aid course in Cheti­camp and some­one else is run­ning one in Mabou. We don't know that each other is do­ing it. If we had worked to­gether, we could have had twice as many par­tic­i­pants,” ex­plained Ma­her.

Ma­her also said the part­ner­ing of or­ga­ni­za­tions can lead to more ef­fec­tive re­source shar­ing, re­duce re­dun­dant pur­chases (eg. one or­ga­ni­za­tion buy­ing kayaks and shar­ing) and save groups money.

The UCBON steer­ing com­mit­tee meets 3-4 times a year, and the wider net­work meets ev­ery six months to strengthen its ca­pac­ity. Mem­bers held a half-day “col­lab­o­ra­tory” at CBU in June 2017, and a pro­fes­sional re­treat-style gath­er­ing at Camp Bre­ton­dean in Mira on Feb. 24. The Mira event was spon­sored by NS Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties, Cul­ture and Her­itage and the CBU School of Arts and Social Sciences.

UCBON also en­gages with pro­vin­cial and na­tional net­works.

“We’re en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple in­volved with the Cape Bre­ton out­door scene to go to the Nova Sco­tia Out­door Net­work Spring Sum­mit in April in Ayles­ford. There is also the Nova Sco­tia Hik­ing Sum­mit hap­pen­ing in Ingonish in May. Some of the same con­ver­sa­tions or same dis­cus­sions may hap­pen there.”

Any­one who works in the out­doors, or leads peo­ple in the out­doors, wish­ing to join the pro­fes­sional net­work should email Pat Ma­her, Pat_ma­her@ cbu.ca. The Unama’ki Cape Bre­ton Out­door Net­work can also be fol­lowed on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Mem­bers of the Unama’ki Cape Bre­ton Out­door Net­work (UCBON) who took part in the gath­er­ing at Camp Bre­ton­dean in Mira on Feb. 24 in­clude (left to right): Erin Phillips, Vince For­re­stall, Rosie Syl­li­boy, John Hudec, Pat Ma­her, Wayne Mckay, Emily Root,...

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