The 2017 COEO Conference Organizing Committee has been hard at work and plans are well underway for this year’s annual fall conference. This year’s conference theme, Inspired by Nature, Innovative by Practice, asks participants and presenters to share the learning experiences that have inspired them as well as the innovative work they are doing in the field. This conference will provide an opportunity to share best practices around outdoor education and explore new ideas and perspectives about engaging children and youth in outdoor learning. Our host site will be Camp Couchiching—located near the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Orillia, Ontario, “Camp Cooch” operates as a year-round outdoor education centre and summer camp, and also maintains close ties to its surrounding community through various action projects and unique program offerings.
How can we, as Outdoor and Experiential Educators, instill a lasting love of the outdoors in others? How is your practice expanding and/or changing the field of outdoor education? How are you bringing people together? How can we, as educators, foster and maintain hope and resilience in youth?
The conference committee has received workshop proposals focused on, but not limited to, the following:
Innovation and Creativity: How do you keep your practice fresh? How do you think outside the box to create meaningful outdoor programs? How do your methods integrate technology into the outdoors? How do you use your outdoor spaces in innovative ways?
Community and Inclusion: How are you influencing the culture that is driving your community? How can we use our teachings to celebrate diversity? How can we build and enrich strong communities?
Activism and Perseverance: How do you motivate students to advocate for meaningful change? How do you challenge the status quo to shift social and environmental norms? How do you stay motivated as an activist/educator?
Registration is now open!!! See below for more information about the conference (including Carpooling, Live and Silent Auction, Entertainment, Conference Bursaries, Student Group Rates, Student Bursary Fund, and much more) and click here to read about all the exciting workshop offerings!
Since 1946, Camp Couchiching has hosted tens of thousands of youth on the shores of Lake Couchiching near Orillia, Ontario, Canada. Originally founded as a single gendered camp with an Anglican religious focus, Camp Couchiching has morphed over the years into a co-ed inclusive community which operates throughout the year. Most of Camp Couchiching’s programming operates out of their main camp site near Longford Mills, Ontario which is open from May through October. This 15 acre piece of property has over a km of shoreline, rolling fields and mixed deciduous forests. Camp Cooch is a few kilometres south of the Canadian Shield, and so they enjoy a limestone base and tend to be less “buggy” than its northern neighbours. During the rest of the year, Camp Couchiching supports many varied community initiatives including in-school programming, sustainable gardening, experiential education tutoring, PA day programming and March Break camps too. The camp’s main program is a Summer Overnight Camp and a successful Summer Day Camp and Spring/Fall Outdoor Centre. They currently provide programming to over 7000 people each year. They feel it is important to provide many of their programs at no or low cost and for the other programs, they ensure there is ample subsidy available to ensure that the ability to pay isn’t a barrier to participate.
Camp Couchiching is located at 3990 Longford Mills Road, Longford Mills, Ontario (Ramara) or 3990 Longford Mills Road, Washago (depending on the map/app you are using). Google maps will show a Camp Couchiching at 27 Peter Street North in Orillia. This leads to the camp’s winter offices, not the camp property (don’t go there). The camp is 3 kms north of Casino Rama, which has a lot of signage. Please see the detailed directions below.
From Toronto & the south
Take Hwy 401 in Toronto to Hwy 400 north. Follow Hwy 400 north through Barrie, take Hwy 11 north to Orillia. At Orillia take the Hwy 12 south exit (follow the Casino Rama signs to Rama Road). Follow Hwy 12 through Orillia (over a bridge in Atherley). Turn left at the traffic lights just past Atherley onto Rama Road (Simcoe County Road 44), and follow it for about 7 kms. Camp Couchiching will be on your left.
From North Bay & the north
Take Hwy 11 south. Exit onto County Road 169 at Washago. Travel about 1 km and then turn right onto Rama Road (Simcoe County Road 44), and proceed for about 8 kms. Camp Couchiching will be on your right.
From Ottawa & the east
Heading west from Ottawa take Highway 17 through Arnprior to Renfrew. Continue west onto Bancroft. Follow Highway 118, then 503 towards Kinmount. From Kinmount, take 45 west to Rama Road (Simcoe County Road 44). Turn right and follow it for about 7 kms. Camp Couchiching will be on your left.
From Kingston area
Take Highway 401 west to Hwy 115. Take Hwy 115 north, then 35 north to Lindsay. Follow 7 west towards Highway 12. Turn right at Hwy 12, and head north for 50 kms. Turn right at the traffic lights onto Rama Road (Simcoe County Road 44), and follow it for about 7 kms. Camp Couchiching will be on your left.
Accommodations will be in shared camp cabins at Camp Couchiching. Facilities include flush toilets and hot showers. Please bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towel and flashlight. Tent camping is available on the Couchiching property (same cost applies). Please inform us of any special accommodation needs on your registration form.
WHAT TO BRING
Things you’ll need at the conference:
- Sleeping Bag
- Clothing to be comfortable in Rain or Shine, Cold or Warm
- Toilettries & personal items
- Water bottle
- Coffee/Tea Thermos or Mug
- Dance Costume! (see details below)
- Ear plugs
- Alcohol (no glass beer bottles please – cans only)
- Musical Instruments
- Previous COEO conference nametag – we love recycling if we can!
- Business cards
Extra cash: The COEO silent and live auctions are always filled with amazing items, so don’t forget to bring some extra cash or perhaps even your cheque book! Additionally, the President’s Raffle will be taking place again this year, and you may want to purchase tickets to win a $100 MEC gift Card!
MEALS AND SNACKS
The Cooch Kitchen will be providing delicious and nutritious meals for the conference. Please outline any dietary needs clearly on your registration form. Coffee, tea, juice and water will be provided at all times in the dining hall. Other snacks will be provided at times indicated. BYOWB! – Bring Your Own Water Bottle. ***Please note, alcohol is permitted on Camp Couchiching property (BYOB), but no glass beer bottles – cans only please.
Each year the COEO Board of Directors sets aside funds for individuals who require financial assistance in order to attend our annual conference. This year, COEO Alumni have also stepped forward and contributed funds specifically for students and young professionals who require financial assistance to attend the conference. Those wishing to apply for conference bursary must submit a letter to COEO Past, Past President, Kyle Clarke – firstname.lastname@example.org with the requested amount and a rationale by September 1, 2017. You will be informed by September 3, 2017 to whether or not you have received funding.
As always, the COEO Conference Committee encourages carpooling when possible and will help facilitate this by organizing a list of drivers with available space in September – please contact email@example.com if you require a ride or are willing to offer a ride to someone else. Please email with your name, email, where you’re coming from (area/town) and how many spaces you have or will need in a car.
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE KEEPERS AT COOCH
Join Our Circle
Over the past couple of conferences, COEO has been afforded the opportunity to invite indigenous knowledge keepers to recognize the land, the traditional territory, and to help us explore how to best approach, explore, and respect indigenous perspectives, practice, and relationships.
Once again COEO is pleased to announce that Peter Shuler, elder from the Mississaugas of The Credit First Nation, and Mark Douglas, Fish Fence Guardian from the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, will be joining us to provide their guidance in helping people connect to more Earth knowledge, self-awareness, and the appreciation of the Fall Season!
As Traditional Ecological Knowledge Keepers and teachers they have worked with all levels of the education system to develop better relationships, and encourage the inclusion of an indigenous worldview in our places of learning. They look forward to talking and learning more about outdoor education programs and practice!
They will be conducting an opening and closing to the conference and running several workshops at this years conference. Although the conference organizing committee will offer tobacco, please also feel free to bring a small tobacco tie or a little pinch of tobacco from you organization if you wish to for the opening.
AWARD NOMINATIONS AND PRESENTATION
Our annual conference is also the time for us to recognize and celebrate the efforts and achievements of COEO members and other outdoor educators throughout the province. Join us after dinner on Saturday evening as we acknowledge the recipients of this year’s annual COEO awards. Please consider nominating a deserving colleague or organization — visit the COEO awards webpage and read about our five major awards. A nomination form can be downloaded from the bottom of that page.
LIVE AND SILENT AUCTION
Now an annual conference tradition, we are again having both a Silent Auction and a Live Auction and we will need your help. We are looking for a variety of items to be donated by you or your affiliated organization. We hope to have about 30 items in the silent auction and about 5 big-ticket items in the live auction. We are open to welcoming whatever you have to offer. Past auctions have included donations of: gift certificates, books, organization-related clothing, camping gear, gift baskets, artwork, handmade crafts, etc. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any potential items you wish to donate. All proceeds from the auctions will go towards future COEO initiatives. The auctions will take place just after dinner on Saturday evening.
SATURDAY NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
Get ready to move your feet and hop/bop around the dance floor. We are once again excited to be hosting the Living Daylight Stringband for a square dance tutorial. We’ll also be having the traditional afterparty with DJ Lisa for those looking to strut their stuff late into the night. This year’s Saturday night costume theme is…1950’s Sock Hop! That’s right, pull out those poodle skirts and grease back that hair, ’cause we’ll be rocking around the clock (or at least until lights go out). Feeling like an old time sing-song jam session? Well, bring your banjos and guitars to join in the fun, accordians and harmonicas are welcome too! There will be a campfire all night with lots of jammin’ potential.
Individuals and companies that would like to market programs, services or products at the 2017 COEO Conference will be able to do so in the Exhibitor Showcase located inside the Couchiching town hall. Organizational members of COEO may reserve exhibit space at no extra cost. Exhibit space is limited and organizational members and presenters will be prioritzed; contact email@example.com to reserve your spot and avoid missing out on this great promotional opportunity.
Are you planning to attend the upcoming conference as part of group of six or more? Group discounts are available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
COEO GEAR FOR SALE
COEO gear will be available for sale at the conference. Some of it will be offered at reduced pricing. To get more information please contact Deb at deborah_diebel
Registration is now open!
Regular and Organizational Members $225 (Early Bird Rate) $245
Student and Retiree Members $195 (Early Bird Rate) $215
Registration can be done online or by mail. Download a copy of the 2017 COEO Annual Fall Conference registration form by clicking here or register online and use PayPal to make payment using your PayPal account or credit card.
*Membership: Registrants for the 2017 COEO Annual Fall Conference must hold a current COEO membership. Membership fees maybe included with registration. Also, please note that the special early bird pricing is only valid until August 15th, 2017 – to qualify, you must register online or mail-in your registration form and payment postmarked on or before this deadline.
Have you seen the OFFICIAL 2017 ANNUAL FALL CONFERENCE POSTER yet? (see below) Download a copy for your very own, print and display it with pride in your centre, school, camp, store, park, staffroom, office or outhouse!