FALL CONFERENCE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN – REGISTER TODAY!
The 2021 COEO conference organizing committee has been hard at work and plans are well underway for this year’s annual conference. This year’s conference, Embracing Wellbeing & Mindfulness in the Outdoors, will be held at Camp Couchiching, located near Orillia, Ontario.
This year’s conference is going to be a little bit different… Due to the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and Ontario’s public health recommendations, the COEO Conference Committee has decided to move to a single day conference, which will be held completely outdoors! Our conference theme this year will be Embracing Wellbeing & Mindfulness in the Outdoors. As everyone is well aware, it has been an incredibly challenging year, but while working through this adversity, we have all witnessed a great deal of resilience and innovation. We have seen the personal health and wellbeing of learners prioritized, an increased appreciation of schoolyards and nearby outdoor places as valuable learning environments, and an exciting uptake of instructional strategies that moved learners away from screens and outside to learn. And so now is our opportunity to come together as a community and share all that we have learned during these challenging times, as well as what we have planned for the upcoming school year. This year’s conference theme will specifically focus on the ways in which outdoor experiential education can contribute to the health and wellbeing of learners. We will share best practices for supporting student wellbeing by focusing on experiences that bring students outdoors and have them learning in the backyard and schoolyard, in the local community and on the land and water. Prepare yourselves for jam-packed and exciting one-day professional development event!
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 Couchiching 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 located at 27 Peter Street North in Orillia. Please note that 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.
Although this year’s conference is a day-only event, the COEO Conference Committee appreciates that many people will need to travel several hours in order to attend, and as a result may require overnight accommodations. Our host site Camp Couchiching will have space available for tent camping, as well as limited single rooms and shared cabins for colleagues attending the conference together. $30/person/night + HST includes hot breakfast pre-conference, access to shower house. Cabins include cold running water (toilet & sink) plus electricity & heat. Access to canoes/kayaks (a waiver must be signed to use boats) and campfire areas available at no cost. Accommodation is available both nights. If you book both nights then the rate equals $25/person/night + HST. Registration for accommodation available September 1st. Please reach out to Camp Couchiching directly to reserve a tent site, room or cabin (705-325-3428 or firstname.lastname@example.org). In addition, there are several nearby accommodation options including the following hotels: Best Western Plus Orillia, Casino Rama Resort, Days Inn by Wyndham Orillia. Again, please reach to these hotels directly in order to make a room reservation.
WHAT TO BRING
Things you’ll need at the conference:
- Clothing to be comfortable in rain or shine and cold or warm conditions
- Swimsuit and towel
- Camping-style or portable lawn chair
- Journal/pen or tablet/stylus
- Water bottle
- Coffee/Tea Thermos or Mug
- Face mask
- Previous COEO conference nametag – we love recycling if we can!
- Business cards
Extra cash: The COEO silent auction is 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 and much more!
WORKSHOP AT-A-GLANCE SCHEDULE
The Conference Workshop Schedule will be posted on the morning of the conference. After checking-in, registrants will be invited to sign-up for workshops.
MEALS AND SNACKS
The Camp Couchiching will be providing delicious and nutritious bagged lunch for Saturday. 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.
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 Conference Committee Member, Kyle Clarke at email@example.com with the requested amount and a rationale by September 1, 2021. You will be informed by September 3, 2021 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Now an annual conference tradition, we are again having a Silent 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 20 items in the silent 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 email@example.com if you have any potential items you wish to donate. All proceeds from the auction will go towards COEO Conference Bursary Fund.
Individuals and companies that would like to market programs, services or products at the 2021 COEO Conference will be able to do so in the Exhibitor Showcase located inside the Camp Cooch town hall. Members of COEO may reserve exhibit space at no extra cost. Exhibit space is limited; contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot and avoid missing out on this great communication-promotional opportunity.
Are you planning to attend the upcoming conference as part of group of six or more? Group discounts are available. Contact email@example.com for more details.
Regular and Organizational Members $80 (Early Bird Rate) $90
Student and Retiree Members $65 (Early Bird Rate) $75
*Membership: Registrants for the 2021 COEO Annual Fall Conference must hold a current COEO membership. Membership fees may be paid with registration.
Also, please note that the special early bird pricing is only valid until August 31st, 2021 – to qualify, you must register online or mail-in your registration form and payment postmarked on or before this deadline!
Want your own copy of this year’s poster to hang up at your school or outdoor centre? Download a copy by clicking here.