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ACA National Conference – A Great Success!

2017_ACA-9677The 2017 Australian Camps Association Conference concluded last Saturday the 17th and what a fantastic event it was. With over 120 delegates from four states and more than 50 Camps attending, along with some very special guests from LeShine in Shenzhen, China, the Conference was a huge success – thanks at least in part to our Conference sponsors and trade displays.

I’d like to thank PFD Food Services for being our Major Conference Sponsor, as well as:

  • AB Phillips (insurance and business services) – our Dinner sponsor2017_ACA-9692
  • VenueLife (venue management systems) – our networking sponsor
  • One Planet (outdoor gear)
  • Hypersonic Industries (bunks and bedding)
  • Elgas (energy)
  • RHSports (sporting equipment and apparel)
  • Coach Tours Australia – our Saturday Camp tour sponsor
  • Encompass (outdoor adventure service provider)
  • Venue 360 (venue management systems)
  • Equipped (outdoor gear)
  • Playmeo (on line games and group based program resources)
  • Schoolholidays (visual activity and resource search engine)

The support we receive as an Association from these organisations is invaluable, not just in contributing to keeping registration costs down but in the services they provide for you as members. I encourage every member to check out what these people can do for you and to make the most of their expertise.

The next key part, of any Conference, is the presenters. With a delegate group as diverse in experience and interest as ours it is not possible to pitch every presentation at the same point but I am sure that there were enough ‘nuggets’ of wisdom or insights in every presentation to meet everyone’s needs.2017-ACA-0295

Our keynotes – Brad Ostermyer, CEO of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC), Peter Buckley (media specialist), Gordon Smith (sales skills) and Jody Aiken (Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia) set the tone for each day for the other topics which included the background, challenges and opportunities for camps in China. Thank you to the LeShine team for making the long trek to Australia and for getting so involved with our Conference, and indeed to all the presenters for their contribution.

If you missed a presenter or weren’t able to attend, we have posted some of the presentations on line, with more to follow. You will find these by clicking on

Of course, no Conference has any ‘life’ without the opportunity to network, connect and socialise with friends old and new. We had a great time after hours, including at our gala dinner on the Thursday night where we were able to make a number of awards to deserving people. Tim McNeil and Tal Harwood, two of our People Outdoors (our service for people with disabilities) volunteers were recognised for their phenomenal achievement of attending over 100 camps as a volunteer – great work guys.ed camps for seniors, social media, engaging with people with disabilities, research, Childsafe and many more. I want to especially recognise the session delivered by Ivy Feng and Dongliang Liao, along with their colleague Linda, which covered

2017_ACA-0773We presented three Southern Cross Awards, designed for non members who had made significant and lengthy contributions to the sector. Awardees included David Strickland, Colin Kneebone and Grant McCance, all of whom have been fantastic advocates for the ACA and our work for many years. Finally, we had a new Life Member join this select group – Julie Parr from Active Education in South Australia. Julie has been a member of the ACA for more than ten years and her award recognises the great and extensive work she has done in the outdoor sector over and above her daily responsibilities. Congratulations to all of these worthy recipients and if you have anyone you feel should be recognised by the ACA in the future, please go to Outdoor Business Online (member only access) and download the nomination forms found in the ACA Honour Board area.

The Conference concluded with a camps tour on Saturday, which visited Doxa Malmsbury, PGL Campaspe Downs and YMCA Lady Northcote. Apart from all three of these venues being in a lovely part of the world, it was great to hear their respective managers – Dan, Dan and Rob – give some context on their camp’s histories and business models.

Finally, I must thank the team here at the Australian Camps Association – Steve, Gosia, Louise and especially Jess – for their work in making this Conference so successful. Great job everyone, much appreciated.2017_ACA-0796

If you would like to find out more about upcoming events post Conference, please see further information in this newsletter, or go to

Kind Regards,