Out Doors was founded in 1987 by a number of people primarily working in mental health who had a strong interest in recreation, play and outdoor adventure and a belief that these elements are valuable parts of a holistic approach to personal development and mental health as well as assist to integrate mind, emotions and body. It aims to assist people to get out the door of hospital or home and to participate in the life of their community.
Out Doors was established for the following purposes:
- To develop, organise, conduct and evaluate services to improve people’s mental health, with particular emphasis on people with a psychiatric disability.
- To use outdoor adventure education as the main vehicle for providing rehabilitation and integration.
- To develop, organise, conduct and evaluate education and training programs for people involved in improving mental health.
- To provide an information, referral, resource and research service.
- To promote the value of outdoor adventure education, recreation, and peoples mental health needs
In December 1989 after two and a half years of lobbying, Out Doors was successful in obtaining funds to run a project called ‘Going Places’, which started as an outdoor program with no paddles, canoes, tents, sleeping bags or any other outdoor gear. Equipment was borrowed and hired from many generous organisations and staff clocked many kilometres in their own vehicles until 1993 when the organisation was able to secure a vehicle through a funding round.
In 1993, Out Doors took on the auspice of a new, Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) funded recreation program, Doing Things, which provided a range of opportunities to people with psychiatric disabilities living in the inner Melbourne suburbs of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Richmond.
In 1995 and 1997, Out Doors awarded silver and bronze by the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Service Achievement “in recognition of the achievement in developing and implementing their initiative of outdoor experiential learning activities to enhance physical and emotional well-being”.
Since its establishment in 1987, Out Doors has become more sophisticated in its business acumen and strategic direction without losing sight of its primary goals, mission and vision.