CCA Builds Bridges not Walls

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Catherine Ross

On the day of and the day prior to the US Presidential election, the sixth annual National Leadership Forum of eighteen camping leaders convened at Camp Tawingo in Huntsville, Ontario.

Stephane Richard (CCA President-Elect), Jill Dundas (CCA President), and Harry Edwards (Past President) at the National Leadership Forum.

Stephane Richard (CCA President-Elect), Jill Dundas (CCA President), and Harry Edwards (Past President) at the National Leadership Forum.

Following Trump’s election, we witnessed protest marches on both sides of the US. On the contrary, guided through a packed agenda by CCA President Elect, Stephane Richard, we departed to our separate provinces committed to build bridges not walls and launch several, exciting, national initiatives.

Despite the limited time and the temptation to be outside by the lake in the glorious November sunshine rather than inside at a board table, we accomplished much:

  • We reviewed the provincial reports, and identified common themes and challenges.
  • We heard presentations from two potential partners: one to reduce the overwhelming paperwork load for camp administrators onboarding staff and a second to reduce the risk and increase the safety of campers with allergies.
  • We agreed to nurture our ongoing partnerships with Foodbuy, Sterling BackCheck, ChariTree and the Roberta Bondar Foundation.
  • In 2017, we will launch two new programs: CCA Connects, a program to gather national camping data, and a National Marketing Campaign.
  • Jeff Willis of British Columbia challenged us to become allies of the indigenous peoples. We committed to a future round table discussion to explore ways to connect with indigenous campers.
  • We learned that twenty camp leaders, both national and international, would participate in the International Camp Directors Course immediately following the Forum.
  • We learned about the many research projects now underway that will increase the knowledge of our industry and help us to improve the experience for our campers.
  • Skip Connett, Chair of the Insurance Committee, informed us that property damage caused by weather conditions played a large role in insurance claims. He mentioned that if marijuana becomes legal, directors will need to consider re-wording camp policies.
  • We confirmed our ongoing commitment to lobby governments on issues that impact camps.

President Jill Dundas has kept us on track for the past three years as we began to implement the vision identified for CCA. Thank you, Jill!

The Board Members, Committee Chairs, Provincial Presidents and Executive Directors departed from the 6th National Leadership Forum united and willing to give Stephane Richard their full co-operation and commitment when he begins in January 2017 to lead us to realize our ambitious dream for CCA. Good luck, Stephane!

Past 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 served as Communications Officer on the Board of the CCA, as is a recipient of the CCA's Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award. She is past editor of Camps Canada, published by the CCA, and the OCAsional News, the newsletter of the OCA. She is the author of four publications. Her articles on camping have appeared in numerous magazines.