Order of Canada Awarded to Canadian Camp Director, Jocelyn Palm

Posted on November 25, 2013 by Catherine Ross

Jocelyn Palm receives the Order of Canada from David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada.

On November 21, 2013, Jocelyn Palm received the Order of Canada for her outstanding contribution to the lives of thousands of individuals, many communities and our country.

Jocelyn Palm is an extraordinary leader in lifesaving and aquatic safety, a visionary and practitioner in youth development and a tireless advocate for women’s health. Over more than 40 years, Joc has exemplified an unwavering dedication to “desiring a better country” through her work with the Lifesaving Society, Glen Bernard Camp and Women’s College Hospital.

In 1968 she became the first Executive Director of the Ontario Branch of the Royal Lifesaving Society and subsequently the first Executive Director of the National Lifesaving Society. Joc established national and international standards for aquatic safety. She wrote the definitive National Lifeguard Service (NLS) textbook, which today remains the official text for NLS candidates and instructors. She revolutionized lifesaving education with the introduction of victim recognition and “situational training” which balances judgment, knowledge, skill and fitness. This situational approach to lifesaving education is now standard methodology throughout the Commonwealth. The Society’s national Water Smart® drowning prevention campaign was developed and launched under Joc’s watch in 1987. Since then, the number of annual drownings in Canada has fallen dramatically. Our country is extremely well regarded today in the international lifesaving community due to her leadership and hard work.

In conjunction with her work for the Lifesaving Society, Joc also researched and developed injury prevention programs with Dr. Charles H. Tator, a Toronto neurosurgeon. Beginning in the 1970s, Joc and Dr. Tator collected data on diving injuries, and armed with this information, determined that they could make a difference with targeted injury prevention programs. Together they developed specific recommendations on advising young people about avoiding spinal cord injuries, which included the production of a video, Sudden Impact.

In 1977, Joc became the owner and director of Glen Bernard Camp. She has been and continues to be a mentor to thousands of young campers and staff members. She has also made significant contributions to the camping community as President of the Ontario Camps Association, President of the Canadian Camping Association, President of the Society of Camp Directors and speaker at provincial, national and international camping conferences.

Joc is a visionary who has brought to life many youth development opportunities. Twenty years ago she was teaching young people about the importance of environmental stewardship, long before “green” was the latest buzzword. She not only continues to mentor tangible solutions in environmental sustainability through programs and facilities at Glen Bernard, but she has designed these opportunities for people of all ages, so that everyone can learn and take ownership of this important issue.

Joc’s dedication to helping others learn and improve their quality of life is evident in her work with Women’s College Hospital. She has devoted countless hours to furthering this hospital’s mission of delivering exceptional health care for women and their families.

She created the Women’s Health Matters Forum & Expo event. For 12 years, this two-day public consumer conference allowed up to 20,000 women each year, of all ages and class, to benefit from access to the latest health information and research. She continues to work with hospital officials and related organizations, such as the Immigrant Women’s Health Centre.

Joc is successful in her life’s endeavours, and most importantly facilitates success in others too, especially our youth – tomorrow’s leaders.

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.