Mark Dingle_Col_Small2I’m honoured to take on the role of Chair after Scott Chapman stood down from the role last month. Scott’s commitment, care and leadership has been invaluable in the foundational years for OV and we thank him for his service after so many years of service to the sector – which I’m sure will continue in other ways, hopefully for him away from boardrooms and meetings! We are also sad to see our CEO Chuck Berger leave us to follow an exciting opportunity for his wife and family to work in Kununurra in the Kimberley. Chuck was a tremendous CEO and brought a strong strategic focus and critical insight that our sector needed – and valued. Chuck is keen to stay connected to OV and we welcome his contributions from afar.

As the incoming Chair I come into this role after some years away from an active role in the outdoor sector, and feel a strong sense of privilege to be entrusted with this task. I’m fortunate that we have an outstanding and active board that will ensure Outdoors Victoria is led by a strong, collective voice.

The outdoors have always been a part of my life from childhood days in scouting and family camping, through to a decade as an outdoor educator and on to years in advocacy for the outdoors with professional associations including board roles with the Outdoor Educator’s Association of Queensland and Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation. After moving to Victoria more than a decade ago, I led the VOEA before leaving to work in the public sector and now for the last five years with Ernst & Young (EY).

With a young family and a life that can appear more busy than I would like, I am more than ever drawn to experiencing the outdoors and welcome the challenge of finding opportunities to live life outdoors. And as I look around the sector I can see what a common aspiration this is given the variety and amount of activity underway.

As a Board our primary focus at present is recruiting a new CEO. We are in the midst of interviews and look forward to finalising that process in the weeks ahead. We also continue to engage with the sector and participate in important forums and projects that promote and encourage Victorians to live life outdoors, as this newsletter demonstrates.

To you, the people that make up the community of professionals and leaders in the outdoors, thank you for all that you do to enable others to participate and engage with our natural world. In all the change and surprise that surrounds us, the outdoors with its stillness, beauty and grandeur is an inspiration drawing us all to restore our spirits and to live well and with hope.

I look forward to meeting many of you and hearing your stories.