Power To Be uses a Theory Of Change framework as an evaluation tool that looks at the intricacies of people and how they change behaviourally, physically, and socially. Our program theory of change is: “Power To Be’s participants’ sense of self and community is positively increased by removing barriers to access nature-based programs”. To achieve this change, our programming approach is guided by 8 outcomes to support growth and impact in our participants.
Whether we are paddling, exploring, climbing, stretching or simply getting the wiggles out, participation in Power To Be’s programs often involves moving our bodies in some way! Our physical activity outcome in our Theory of Change seeks to support individuals with increasing their access to physical activity.
This outcome identifies different levels of engagement in participants as they gain experience in our programs. As a baseline we hope to have our participants take part in some form of physical activity through the activity of the day. This can vary week to week and seasonally, but can include sunny days paddling on the water, stepping through beautiful snow, an evening climb at the gym, or a playful social game. Our goal is to support participants to take part in these activities in a way that works for them.
What we hope to see is participants enjoying the experience whether through fun or challenge. When they come away from the activity, we hope that they feel inspired or excited to do it again. We strive for our programs to be a catalyst for participants to discover a new activity, have the support to learn or practice that activity in a way that is accessible to them, and hopefully build their confidence or strength in their abilities. Lastly, we love to see our participants taking their experience from Power To Be and continuing that journey outside of our programs.
The last year has required our team to be more creative in how we offer this outcome to our participants. In the early days of the pandemic we found ways to encourage safe activity when we needed to be physically distant. One example was a team challenge that individuals did on their own but contributed to a group goal. We also created activities like scavenger hunts, and nature bingo for participants to do in between virtual programs – we even had a few group work outs through video calls!
As we began to meet in person again, our staff and participants enjoyed 1:1 walks, adventures with household groups, and intentional time to build up confidence and strength in outdoor activities again. By providing the opportunity for challenge at whatever level a participant is at, we have seen folks embrace growth and accomplish incredible personal milestones. One highlight from this past year was seeing many of our participants take part in our Power To Summit fundraiser in May – and having them express excitement to do it again next year! A few of the youth were our Wilderness School Alumni and seeing them coordinate the team, the prep workouts and support one another the day of was truly a testament to the will power of this group. Other milestones we saw this past summer were participants and staff from community groups trying paddleboarding for the first time, folks getting comfortable being in a TrailRider again, and a three-night expedition on the Juan De Fuca trail!
Physical activity looks different for everyone – we hope that our programs can provide one source of access to support folks in being more physically active in their lives!