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2019 National Conference
Conference Program

Conference home   |  View PDF Version of Program


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PFD.jpgDay 1 – Thurs 27th June

pete2.jpgPete Griffiths - click here for presentation

CEO, Australian Camps Association

"The state of camps in Australia"

As the CEO of the Australian Camps Association (ACA), Pete is uniquely placed to provide a snapshot of the size and context of the sector across Australia, using data compiled from a wide range of sources over multiple years. This will include camp numbers, bedstock and distribution against population as well as a comparison with other countries.

He will then look at current trends identified through ABS data, ACA surveys and feedback, including market types, program development and market expectations.

Pete will comment on common sector challenges, including increasing compliance expectations, the rise of accreditation, staffing and community approaches to risk management / risk benefit. He will conclude by noting opportunities and describing the likely shape of the sector in the future.

About Pete: Pete has worked in nature based tourism and outdoor education since 1985. He has had many roles during his career, including running an adventure travel company in Tasmania, working in the field, developing and running residential camps and as Head of Outdoor Education in three Victorian schools. Pete joined the Board of the Australian Camps Association in 2014 and became the CEO in 2015. 

David Stricklandimg.jpgDavid Strickland - click here for presentation

Sport and Recreation Victoria, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

"Telling our story - who's listening" 

Camping and outdoor programs are often solutions looking for a problem. All levels of government (federal, state and local) are grappling with a range of economic, environmental, social, health and wellbeing issues and are seeking partners with solutions.  

If camping is ‘telling our story’ it is important to know who is listening and how to package the story for a government audience. This session will highlight the various government policies and initiatives where camping is a logical solution and wise investment.  

About David: David is the Executive Officer of the Sport and Recreation Camps Committee and Management and Group Manager for Camping and Outdoor Programs with Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) in the Department of Health and Human Services.  A leading advocate for physical activity and outdoor learning through camping and outdoor activity programs, David oversees the management of five government owned residential camps in partnership with the Victorian YMCA. Over 65,000 people attend these camps annually. David plays a significant role in research and strategic development initiatives in the camping, outdoor education, physical activity and nature play sectors.  He was one of the designers of the original Australian camping accreditation program and an innovative state government leasing model for the development and management of government owned assets.


oksanap.JPGMs. Oksana Petrovskaya - click here for presentation

Head of International Department, Russian Children's Centre "Orlyonok"

Presentation on the Russian Children’s Centre "Orlyonok" 

This presentation will discuss the All-Russian Children's Center "Orlyonok". Delegates will learn about this large camp.

"Orlyonok" is a federal state budgetary educational institution. Its founder is the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.

The center is located in the Krasnodar Territory, 45 kilometers from the city of Tuapse, on the shore of the Black Sea. The total area "Orlyonka" covers 253 hectares, and the length of its sandy beaches is 3.7 km.

There are ten basic children's camps at Orlyonok: Sunny, Star, Strelny, Storm — all-the-year-round, Patrol, Komsomolsky, Olimpiysky, Yunarmeets, Olympic Village and Solnyshko "- in the summer. At the same time in the winter in them there can be 1500 children, and in the summer - more than 3500.

About Oksana: more to come...


SoniaSoniaZaveskysml.jpg Zavesky - click here for presentation

Director, Zavesky Consulting

"Working with the media on good news”

Sonia's prestenation will introduce you to:

  • Understanding news values – hooks and opportunities for positive media coverage
  • How to tell your positive story - structure and the essential elements of persuasive messaging 
  • Control Technique – keeping on track during the interview /media conversation and dealing with difficult questions

About Sonia: Sonia is a former ABC journalist and newsroom Chief of Staff, who now provides media and presentation skills training to a wide range of clients in the corporate, government and community sectors. She has experience in managing organizational reputations, both in Australia and globally, including during her time as Director of international Communication for Greenpeace.


Kevin Zhang.png

Kevin Zhang - click here for presentation

CEO, Argyle Hotels

"Presentation Title: What makes us strong” 

Kevin will speak about the business value of Argyle Hotel Group, especially in relation to the community and staff. More details to come...

About KevinKevin Zhang is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Argyle Hotel Group (NYSE: GHG), a leading hotel management group with 9 hotel brands globally. AHG currently has ~140 properties throughout Asia Pacific. Kevin is one of the key members serving on the Tourism, Trade and Investment Policy Advisory Counsel (TTIPAC) under the Minister of Trade and Investment, Australia.


RobCochrane.pngRobert Cochrane - click here for presentation

Director of Global Initiatives for the Chongqing Municipal Department of Education

"Updates on outdoor education in China and the Chinese Education Policy"

More details to come...

About Robert: Robert Cochrane is a veteran of 19 years in senior education management within the Chinese government and now bridges his work with the private sector. He is currently the Director of Global Initiatives for the Chongqing Municipal Department of Education, Vice President of the prestigious 21st Century Baifu Academy and Director of the Australian-registered education consultancy Academe. His field of expertise is the globalization of Chinese education through proactive collaborations and he has been a long-time vocal proponent of lessening the gap between education and industry.

Through his work in providing innovative solutions to the many hurdles that the internationalisation of Chinese education faces, most recently Rob has received direction to explore cross-cultural opportunities for the education community. Under the newly published Central Party policy and with the establishment of the Committee for International People to People Exchanges (CIPPE), of which he is a member, Rob has identified ACA as an appropriate partner in widening the reach of the Chinese study tourism market to include practical skills and self-reliance.


MFeutrill-photo.jpgMaree Feutrill

Area Manager, YMCA Victoria

"Designing programs for diverse populations"

This led discussion will provide delegates with opportunity to learn and share examples of intentional design of camp and outdoor programs to enable greater participation for people of various ages, abilities and backgrounds. Designing your outdoor product for diverse users, leads to greater social inclusion, a deeper respect for diversity and human rights and a more profitable business. 

A toolkit of resources and support networks will be shared with delegates to provide practical take home information to support you on your journey in creating greater inclusion in your outdoor business.

About Maree: Maree has worked for non-profit organizations in the outdoor education and camping sector in Australia for 25 years and is currently a senior Manager at YMCA Camping, with a focus on creating inclusive and accessible camping opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. 


Adrian Antonelloweb.JPGAdrian Antonello and Matt Morgan

Queensland Recreation Centres

"Themed Programs - Linking School Camps to the Australian Curriculum"

The Queensland state government operates two residential outdoor recreation centres (Queensland Recreation Centre’s) situated on the beach front at the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.  Each centre has the capacity to accommodate up to 480 (Gold Coast) and 320 (Sunshine Coast) guests, while delivering outdoor recreation programs for up to 220 participants concurrently.  Program offerings include instructor led activities that are predominately centre-based, but also utilise the local natural waterways and beaches.  Activities range from traditional outdoor recreation, including canoeing and challenge ropes courses, to the Matt MorganWeb.jpegmore unique indoor recreation activities, such as artificial caving and circus skills.

While Queensland Recreation Centre’s cater to all sections of the community, our core business revolves around providing school camps for young people, predominantly from year bands four to eight.  The current issues affecting schools decisions to integrate a school camp into their curriculum are three-fold; these being budgetary pressures, risk aversion and time constraints.  As decision makers appetite for risk has diminished, a large part of our products attractiveness lies in the well organised and controlled environment in which our activities are conducted.  Further to this, school budgets have tightened and time constraints have amplified due to full teaching programs requiring rigorous justifications for the expenditure of money and time away at school camp.  It has therefore become an expectation for some of our clients that the camp experience should link directly to the Australian Schools Curriculum; and this presented a new challenge for our organisation to overcome.

This presentation explores the journey that was taken in planning, developing and implementing the project. It will also provide insight into one of our four themed programs, and discuss how the activities link to the Australian Schools Curriculum.  Following this will be a practical component with a demonstration of how a simple targeted brief and debrief facilitate those curriculum links.  Finally, the presentation will finish on some findings and recommendations and an opportunity for audience members to ask questions.  

About Adrian: Adrian has over twenty years’ experience working in the outdoor recreation industry, across both private and public sectors, primarily in residential school camp settings. He is currently employed by Queensland Venues to provide oversight of the venues work health and safety and risk management frameworks, and performs a critical role in product and service development for the Queensland Recreation Centres.  Examples of key projects Adrian has led for the Queensland Venues include the development and implementation of an accredited training and risk management framework for the delivery of outdoor recreation programs, Aboriginal cultural trail/orienteering activities, and curriculum based ‘Themed Programs’. 

About Matt: Matt has been employed with Queensland Recreation Centre’s for the past fourteen years and is based at Tallebudgera on the Gold Coast.  Responsible for staff training, mentoring, program development, quality assurance and the delivery of outdoor recreation activities; he is a key contributor and senior member of the Programs Team.  He also has worked within the department in research and evaluation, program coordination and community recovery.  Some of his projects include; the creation of an adolescent leadership program, the development of ‘Themed Program’ training resources and was responsible for the implementation of the themed programs project at the Gold Coast Centre.


lukejansons.pngLuke Jansons

Business Manager, Active Education

"Creating the story with exceptional customer service"

Looking for a way to gain a competitive advantage? I have 3 words for you "Exceptional Customer Service!"

We all have a story of where, as a customer, we didn't have a great experience. Unfortunately, poor customer service is becoming all too common. However, business with a customer centric approach who understand their customers, their journey and the key touch-points are gaining a competitive advantage.

This workshop aims to equip you with the knowledge and easy to use tools that will enable you to deliver a more personalised experience at individual touch-points and improve the whole customer journey.

Key takeaways:

  • Understanding the different phases of the customer journey.
  • Tools and skillsto develop a customer journey map tailored to your organisation.
  • Understanding the importance of key customer touch-points.
  • Ability to identify current gaps and actions to improve individual touch-points.
  • Ideas to implement customer centric thinking across your organisation.

About Luke: For the past 14 years Luke has had the privilege of creating remarkable outdoor education experiences for thousands of young Australians each year.  After starting work in the industry with Active Education in 2005 as a kayak instructor, Luke became the Program Manager in 2008 and for the past 11 years has enjoyed the challenges that management in a growing small business brings.  Luke has a passion for sharing knowledge that will see an improvement to the professionalism and customer service within the sector.


Bianca Crocker 2017 colour.jpgBianca Crocker

Founder, Fish Community Solutions & Small Non-Profits Alliance

"Grant Writing - building a case for support"

Telling your story to a potential funder is no less important than sharing it with supporters or the community, but sometimes it can be trickier as questions can be complex and word limits are tight.

As someone who has extensive experience working with small organisations, Bianca's presentation will be informative and provide you with some effective tools to writing better grants, learn where to access them and understanding the philanthropic grant environment in Australia. 

About Bianca: Bianca Crocker, aka The Fish Chick, is the woman behind Fish Community Solutions; a social purpose business that works with small or emerging non-profit organisations to build sustainable funding models so they can create positive change in our world. In 2012 she was awarded the Fundraising Institute of Australia’s inaugural Young Fundraiser of the Year and was a finalist in the Global Fundraiser of the Year. Bianca is a passionate and enthusiastic fundraiser who holds the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) accreditation and was recently elected as a Fellow of the Fundraising Institute of Australia.

She founded the Small Non-Profits Alliance to better support small charities to connect, learn and grow. Find her on Twitter @TheFishChick or connect through LinkedIn @TheFishChick.


DonMacDowall150x150.pngConference Dinner Presentation - Don MacDowall

Southern Cross Award Recipient

"The ACA Story - how did we get here?"

Don MacDowall has been a spy, a life model, a test pilot, a rodeo clown, journalist, industrial advocate, poet, graffiti artist, steam train driver and linguist. None of this is true (but it would make a good story!).

What is true, is that back in 1984 Don became the first Executive Officer of the Camping Association of Victoria. He'll tell some stories, some of them probably true in part, about the early days and the journey to the Australian Camps Association.

About Don: Don was a branch commissioner with Scouts- Venturers and worked closely with future ACA Life Member, Bill Oakley. Don was the first Executive Officer of the Camping Association of Victoria (CAV) a role in which he served from 1984-2000.

Day 2 – Fri 28th June


Nick Owen.jpgNick Owen

Head of Middle School, Billanook College

"Current trends in adolescent health and their connection with camps from a school's perspective"

Can we easily identify the philosophical or practical ‘steps’ made in our industry?  In short, do we have a clear storyline?  Regardless, what does the future look like and what is our ability to maintain a cohesive, relevant, engaging and positive ‘story’.

The briefest of investigations into western health and wellbeing, education and sociology suggests the challenges have never been more numerous or powerful and therefore the need of outdoor recreation/education never more critical.

Drawing on my current experience(s) in school, this workshop looks to identify some current trend lines in adolescent growth and learning and to marry these challenges with the undoubted opportunities that our story represents.  With positive and courageous action we can make a difference!

About Nick: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust. Nick enjoys the idea it might be both!  

A Science graduate with majors in anatomy and physiology, a Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education and a Diploma in Education, Nick has worked in and around  journey-based Outdoor Education and mainstream school settings for more than 20 years.  He currently works at Billanook College  (Victoria) where he still dabbles in Outdoor and Environmental Studies and is Head of Middle School.

He maintains a keen interest in exercise physiology and would love more time to ride his bike.  If there is a single recent theme in his life, it’s the movement towards a Buddhist orientation. 

Visual art, funky shoes, travel, and a new bicycle are the few consumables he has any interest in. Nick has two daughters – who have always been an inspiring gift in his life - and a new dog that’s a lot smaller than he ever imagined owning.


SoniaZaveskysml.jpgSonia Zavesky 

Director, Zavesky Consulting

"Getting comfortable being interviewed" 

A practical session where select participants conduct practice recorded TV interviews. The participants will receive feedback on their interview content and performance.

About Sonia: Sonia is a former ABC journalist and newsroom Chief of Staff, who now provides media and presentation skills training to a wide range of clients in the corporate, government and community sectors. She has experience in managing organizational reputations, both in Australia and globally, including during her time as Director of international Communication for Greenpeace.


RayMackin.JPGRay Mackin

Professional Adventurer

"Engage / Promote / Share" 

We plan, share and design our own adventures using technology, why don’t we let our students?

Looking at 360 degree cameras, VR headsets, drones, social media sharing and adventure design platforms, lets look at the whole adventure and how to engage people of all ages in each of the phases, from planning through to mementos and keepsakes.




MANDI-8web.jpgMandi Baker

Researcher, LAMPED Research 

"Preparing leaders for a strong future"

Outdoor leaders are often at the heart of meaningful outdoor stories. Mandi will be sharing her vision, insights and findings from recent and on-going research about the skills and abilities of outdoor leaders. She will discuss the increasing interpersonal challenges that new and veteran leaders are facing in the field and the affective abilities (previously known as soft skills) necessary to manage these. There is mounting evidence for the urgency to develop affective abilities among current and emerging outdoor workforces. The development of affective abilities among leaders can strengthen the value outdoor experiences have on the personal and collective stories of the populations being served.

This research is supported by the Australian Camps Association and Department Job, Precincts and Regions, Victoria State Government. There is also an opportunity for others to join the site-visit component of the current study. If you are interested, Mandi would be happy to talk to you!

About Mandi:  Mandi is a researcher and lecturer with a special interest in organised outdoor experiences, youth, community development, employment and management practices, recreation and leisure. Mandi has many years of experience working in camps, charity and outdoor education organisations in Canada and Australia. Her work explores everyday work experiences through sociological concepts to offer fresh insights and innovative solutions to employability, leadership and management.


PaulSalmon.jpgProf. Paul Salmon and Dr Scott McLean

University of the Sunshine Coast - The UPLOADS Project

Presentation: 'UPLOADS Research: Why using the app is important for all camps and providers'

The UPLOADS project has been collecting Australian Led Outdoor Activity (LOA) incident data since 2014. In this time, thousands of incidents have been recorded, analysed and reported back to organisations via annual reports with the aim of improving safety in LOAs. In September 2018, the new UPLOADS National Incident Dataset (NID) was released, providing a repository of nationwide LOA incidents. The capacity for both on and off-line reporting and ease of use of the new UPLOADS app, combined with the generation of automated reports, provides a state-of-the-art incident reporting and learning tool for the LOA sector. At present, the NID has close to 1,700 reported incidents from over 60 organisations across 388 individual programs. This presentation will provide an overview of the analysis of the camp related incidents reported to date, including a comparison of incidents on camps to incidents in organised sport and other activities.

The preliminary findings show that snow sports, walking/running, and wheel sports activities currently have the highest incident rates. The most prominent contributory factors across the LOA system include facilities, communication between parties (such as between parents, schools and providers and between activity leaders and participants), risk assessment, policies and procedures, participant competence, physical and mental condition, and attitudes, peer interactions and equipment and clothing. The practical implications for camp safety and risk management are discussed. It is hoped that this presentation will inspire camping organisations to participate in the UPLOADS project, to make camping safer.

About Paul: Professor Paul Salmon holds a chair in Human Factors and is creator and director of the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He has almost 20 years experience in applied Human Factors and Safety Science research in a number of areas, iScottMclean.pngncluding defence, transportation, workplace safety, sport and outdoor recreation, cyber security and disaster management.

Paul has co-authored 19 books, almost 200 peer reviewed journal articles, and numerous conference articles and book chapters. His current research is focussed on applying Human Factors theories and methods to better understand and prevent major societal issues. Paul is particularly passionate about Human Factors methods and their capacity to help optimise health and wellbeing, and believes the discipline has a bigger calling in this respect. He enjoys football, cycling and running, and is an avid Star Wars fan.

About Scott: Dr Scott McLean is a Research Fellow and theme leader for the Sport and Outdoor Recreation theme at the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems. He has a background in Exercise Science (MSc, BExSc) and obtained a PhD in Human Factors in Sport in 2018. Scott’s PhD involved applying Human factors and system ergonomics methods to enhance performance analysis is football. His main areas of expertise and interest include performance analysis, teamwork assessment, systems dynamics, extending system ergonomics methods into sporting domains, and coaching science.


Brian (2).jpgDr. Brian Lord

Healthy Lifestyle Health Promotion Services

‘What’s in a name - Camps for older adults’

This presentation details the fundamentals needing to be covered when providing a “camp experience” for older adults. Organisers need to utilize a matrix of considerations when designing the activities and infrastructure of the camp. That matrix consists of levels of adventure, special interests, new challenges, and familiar activities, along with all the myriad details of the “living” experience to be had in the camp environment. 

So, what do we call this combination of factors that go towards satisfying the participants? It starts with what title the camp provides - Healthy Lifestyle Holidays, Great Getaways, Active Life Weekends, Adventure Camp for Active Older Adults, Vacations for Pleasure - these names have slightly different connotations and will attract slightly different clientele. So “What’s in a Name?” becomes imperative to address from the outset.     

About Brian: Brian has been involved in camps and camping since he was a boy – school camps, military cadet camps (both as a camper and an officer), YMCA camps, National Fitness camps, later with Australian College for Seniors, Odyssey Travel, Vacations for Pleasure, Healthy Lifestyle Vacations, Active Life Weekends, and more recently with Australian Camps Association. After a career of 40 odd years at Charles Sturt University and its precursors, (having been Head of the School of Environmental and Information Sciences, and the inaugural winner of the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for teaching Excellence), Brian retired but continued his association with camps and camping. He has five tertiary degrees, all of which are allied to the great outdoors, and enjoys presenting to those who have similar interests. He has always been known as “Lordy” – but what’s in a name?


DomCourtneycrop.jpgDom Courtney

EO, Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation

"The state of the outdoors"

Dom will facilitate a discussion regarding the current context for outdoor activities. There will be opportunities to discuss a range of national issues from Australian Adventure Activity Standards through to the National Outdoor Leader Registration Scheme. There will be a discussion of the current issues and opportunities across Queensland, including the development of the Queensland Sport and Active Recreation Strategy 2019-2029 and what the proposed establishment of Health and Wellbeing Queensland might mean for the outdoor sector across Queensland and Australia.

About Dom: Dom Courtney is Executive Officer of QORF (Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation), Treasurer of Outdoor Council of Australia, Deputy Chair of Australian Adventure Activity Standards Steering Committee, and a board member of Queensland Fitness, Sport and Recreation Skills Alliance.

Day 3 – Saturday 29th June


It’s always nice to take time out from your camp and to take a look at other sites and take the opportunity to discuss things that most camp managers would face.

With this in mind we are happy to announce that we will be running a post conference camp tour visiting:

  • Sunshine Coast Recreation Centre

    The Sunshine Coast Recreation Centre is located between Currimundi Beach and the mouth of Currimundi Lake just north of Caloundra. The Centre has received a $7.1 million facelift, with accommodation, dining and activity facilities receiving a major overhaul. We offer quality accommodation, facilities, meeting spaces, instructor-led activities and delicious healthy catering which can be enjoyed in our undercover outdoor eating area. Our large open spaces allow your group to truly appreciate the great weather we have here on the Sunshine Coast. We promote safe and exciting participation in outdoor recreation and have all the skills to deliver the ideal experience for groups of all ages and abilities. Our indoor rock wall and a two-story caving system, which is the first of its kind in Australia, have been added to our extensive list of activities on offer, and will be offered on Saturday 29th June as part of your guided tour of the Centre. The centre has inclusive facilities and activities equipped to accommodate people with disability and accessibility needs including wheelchair accessible and fully adapted accommodation, sports and dining facilities. The centre operates on a 24 hours per day, 7 days per week basis.

  • Maroochy Waterfront Camp & Conference Centre

    Maroochy Waterfront Camp & Conference Centre is a group accommodation venue where you can expect the ordinary to be extraordinary.  This exceptional facility has firmly established itself as the Sunshine Coast’s premier destination for school camps and school retreats, sporting group camps, church retreats, corporate functions, conferences & workshops, adult & youth camps and everything in between. Located on the pristine banks of the Maroochy River in Maroochydore and centrally located close to everything on the Sunshine Coast, this is a destination where the views and tranquillity are certainly assured.  Sleeping from 15 and up to 200 guests in a variety of accommodation types, with mouth-watering catering prepared by qualified Chefs, you are sure to be delighted in every way.

  • Apex Camps - Sunshine Coast
    Apex Camps Sunshine Coast is your premier school and group camp destination on the Sunshine Coast, with more than 35 years of experience in delivering camps and providing outdoor recreation. Nestled in the Maroochy River Conservation Park between the pristine North Shore beach and the beautiful Maroochy River in tranquil Twin Waters, complete with resident kangaroos, our beautiful 10-acre site boasts more than 30 onsite activities including South-East Queensland’s largest outdoor rock climbing and abseiling tower, and a brand new, state-of-the-art high ropes course and twin flying fox. To top off our campers’ experience, we provide delicious, full onsite catering, and a wide range of value-add facilities, including multiple, large indoor activity and meeting rooms, a tennis and basketball court, swimming pool and full size oval. As a registered not-for-profit charity organisation, all bookings made with Apex Camps are in support of Apex Australia helping improve the lives of young Australians.

You can book your place on this optional tours when registering to attend the conference. 

latest news

ICF Appeal to Premier Berejiklian

ICF President, John Jorgenson, writes to the NSW Premier "...More than ever before, children need camp. Whether through school camp experiences or direct outdoor experiences arranged by families on managed camp sites, camps are ready and able to support your state’s children. Please recognize and consider camps as an essential service’ in the lives of our children. They, and New South Wales, will be better for it, if you do..."

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