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Asia Oceania Camping Congress

By David Petherick, CEO Australian Camps Association

Asia Ocean Camping Congress, Sydney Australia 18-22 October 2013

Planning is now in full swing for the 5th Asia Oceania Camping Congress (AOCC) which will be held at the Novotel, Sydney Olympic Park from 18th-22nd October 2013.

The Australian Camps Association will be co-hosting this conference with our good friends from the Outdoor Recreation Industry Council (ORIC) of NSW and we are expecting between 400-450 delegates. Half of those delegates will come from all parts of Australia and the rest will join us from Asia and the rest of the world including strong delegations from Russia (where they have 50,000 camps!), Japan, China, Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Canada, USA, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia.

The conference will focus on a range of themes including:

  • Leadership
  • Innovations in program delivery
  • Future directions for camps and outdoor providers
  • Resilience, community building &/or the environment
  • International cooperation
  • Research
  • Running a camp or outdoor business

On the important theme of building resilience we are in final negotiations with a couple of very exciting keynote speakers.

Michael Ungar Ph.D is a Killam Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada where he directs the Resilience Research Centre that coordinates more than five million dollars in funded research in a dozen countries. That research is focused on resilience among children, youth and families and how they together survive adversity in culturally diverse ways. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on this topic and is the author of eleven books. Among his most recent works are Turning the Me Generation into the We Generation and Too Safe For Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive.

Michael will present a keynote which will discuss ways residential camps can offer our children and teenagers the right amount of risk and responsibility. He will share what he has learned from recreation and mental health professionals, families, and educators who have found ways to provide children with the ‘risk-takers advantage’, helping them to grow up to be competent, caring contributors to their families, schools, and communities.

We are also in discussions with Michelle McQuaid. Michelle recently presented at our ACA conference in Healesville and was inspirational. With her playful, scientific approach Michelle fuses positive psychology and neuroscience into simple, practical actions that anyone can take to create life-changing habits that last. Michelle rode the dot com wave, became the youngest ever General Manager for one of the world’s largest advertising houses and climbed to the top of some of the highest corporate ladders in Australia, London and New York. Along the way she completed her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania with Martin Seligman, the field’s founder. An advocate for empowering people to steer their own course, Michelle now helps organisations, like PricewaterhouseCoopers, BHP Billiton and the National Australia Bank to design strength-based cultures across the entire workplace. She also has a strong belief in paying it forward so it’s her great pleasure to serve on the board of non-profit organisations like Reach (who help build self-belief in teenagers) and Play for Life (who use play to initiate social change projects) and partner with schools implementing positive education approaches. You can learn more about Michelle’s adventures and how she may be able to help bring out your best at .

We are starting to put together a really strong program and we are keen to hear from more presenters related to our conference themes or who can bring a new or interesting perspective to the outdoors sector. We are also very keen to hear from people who can present on the value of outdoor education and recreation within the school curriculum. You can find out more at our conference website and you can also lodge an expression of interest to present there.

I hope to see you at our conference in Sydney in October 2013.

David Petherick


Australian Camps Association

(03) 9430 2900

David was appointed as the CEO of the Australian Camps Association in 2006. He is convinced that camps and outdoor programs help young people understand and develop leadership and respect for themselves, others and the environment.

David was also a Professional Educator who majored in physical education and was a youth worker for 10 years.