Distance, timing and financial restraints have made it difficult for the Newfoundland Labrador Camping Association (NLCA) to participate in regular meetings of the CCA/ACC Board. Eager to keep the NLCA connected to CCA/ACC, President Jeff Bradshaw decided that if Newfoundland could not come to CCA/ACC, then CCA/ACC would travel to Newfoundland.
During his two-day visit on September 14 and 15, 2010, Jeff listened to Newfoundland camping leaders who gathered at Killdevil Camp, directed by Malcolm Turner, President of the NLCA. He learned about the challenges facing Newfoundland camps: declining camper-age populations, attracting new user groups, adjusting programs based on camps growing or shrinking, recruiting and retaining staff, and coping with the increased cost of food and fuel and the province’s minimum wage legislation. Regrettably, most of these problems are not unique to Newfoundland. Camps on the west coast are concerned about out-migration to the east coast. Camps on the east coast are dealing with migration to the mainland.
Jeff also used the opportunity to deliver training sessions on camp management. He stressed the importance of identifying how your camp is distinctly different from other camps and other activities that children and staff can experience. He suggested using websites to communicate current information about your camp, tapping international markets, continuous communication with current families, staff and campers and the recruitment of the next generation of campers. He offered some simple steps to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the camp. Jeff stressed the value of gathering as camp leaders and learning from one another. He confirmed that, “no matter what the style, the scope, the size of a camp program might be, you can learn from one another.”
Malcolm Turner concluded, that Jeff’s contribution “cemented a solid relationship between CCA/ACC and NLCA now that everyone understands the benefits of being part of the organization.” He intends to use the content of Jeff’s presentations, which received excellent feedback, for discussion at the October meeting of the NLCA and to share the content with those members who were prevented from attending the workshop because of camp commitments. Malcolm also expressed his appreciation to CCA/ACC for supporting Jeff’s trip. An article on Jeff’s presentations with photos appeared in The Western Star on September 17, 2010.