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National Leadership Forum, November 2017

Posted on December 11, 2017 by Catherine Ross

In late November 2107, twenty-three Canadian camping leaders met for two days at Camp Elphinstone on the Sunshine Coast of beautiful British Columbia. The group included five recently-elected provincial Presidents and two newly-appointed Administrative Staff, all keen to learn and to share.

President Stephane Richard led us through a packed agenda, which included items of importance to every camp in Canada.

We celebrated our successes:

  • Working with Tactix, a lobbying firm, camps are now exempt from the Labour Market Assessment requirement and may hire temporary foreign counsellor staff.
  • Biannually, Tactix provides a federal and provincial audit of all anticipated legislation that could affect camps. This enables our industry to be proactive rather than reactive.
  • Stephane Richard and Donna Wilkinson ran a successful International Camp Directors Course for a maximum twenty-six participants at Elphinstone in November.
  • We now have five qualified Lead ICDC trainers, two of whom are bilingual, which will allow us to offer a bilingual course in 2018.
  • Gabrielle Raill, creator of the National Marketing Campaign, Thanks to Camp, reported that we have exceeded our goal for the number of camps participating in the first year while urging the camps that are not yet involved to get on board NOW! When the campaign was presented at the International Congress in Sochi in October 2017, it attracted international interest, opening up the possibility of revenue generation. The second phase of the campaign, More Than Just Fun, is on track to be launched in February, 2018.

We were invited to participate in two important initiatives:

  1. Dr. Laurie Browne, American Camp Association Director of Research, described ACA’s current groundbreaking Five -Year Impact Study, Research 360 and invited CCA’s participation as an oversample. The purpose of the study is to explore if and how camp experiences prepare youth for college, career and adult lives outside of camp. A decision to participate must be made by December 2017.
  2. Eric Shendelman, OCA President, attended a meeting of the Canadian Drowning Prevention Coalition and offered to share their October 2017 report with the NLF. To assist them in their task, Co-chairs, Lisa Hanson Ouellette and Dr. Steve Beerman are asking the CCA to provide data on their camps, campers and water based programs. Eric will circulate an online survey to the provinces to achieve this purpose.

We accepted a challenge:

A newly formed committee will seek alternate resources to enable us to continue to finance our programs and initiatives that benefit all camps. Marketing, research and lobbying have been identified as important national programs. With additional funding, we could accept the offer of the Quebec Camping Association to translate their newly created Emergency Procedures and Inclusion documents.

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Communications Officer at Canadian Camping Association
Catherine's lifelong love of camping began in 1953 when she accompanied her mother, the new camp cook, to Camp Tanamakoon in Algonquin Park. She remained at Tan until 1978 as a camper and in several staff roles. After five years as a teacher, in 1979, Catherine and her husband George purchased Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da for girls in Parry Sound, Ontario which they owned for 20 years. Catherine has served on the Board of the Ontario Camps Association, and is Past President of the Society of Camp Directors. She is currently Communications Officer on the Board of the CCA. She is past editor of Camps Canada, published by the CCA, and the OCAasional News, the newsletter of the OCA. She is the author of four publications. Her articles on camping have appeared in numerous magazines.