OWLS ’20 Announcement
The Ontario Wilderness Leadership Symposium (aka OWLS) is an annual event organized to support the development of emerging wilderness trip leaders in Ontario. This low-cost, three-day symposium offers attendees opportunities for relevant leadership and skills-based training, a chance to network with others employed in this unique field and explore a variety of potential avenues for future career development. Young adults, with experience leading wilderness trips and residing in Ontario, are encouraged to apply to participate in this annual professional development event.
Registration is now open!
Registration is now open for OWLS ’20. The OWLS Planning Team is expecting that there will once again be a lot of interest in this event. The event is limited to 40 participants, and so it is important that you register online ASAP. To register online click here. Once registered, please complete and return the supplementary information form found here.
What exactly is OWLS?
OWLS is not a comprehensive guides course or wilderness leadership training program, but rather a short, three-day professional development opportunity for emerging wilderness leaders. The Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario recognized that many of Ontario’s young outdoor educators (especially those working in the area of wilderness leadership) were unable, for a variety of reasons (timing, cost, etc), to participate in a number of already established professional development conferences and events that take place annually. And so, OWLS has been created to serve the specific needs of this group of developing young professionals. OWLS provides an opportunity for wilderness leaders to connect, share ideas, and learn from established professionals in the field. In addition, COEO has started an OWLS fund to help offset the cost of this event and keep the application fee as low as possble for participants.
What to expect
OWLS 2020 is being planned for two nights, three days, on May 8-10, at a property about 45 minutes NW of Toronto. This event will take place largely outdoors and include a wide variety of skill-building, informative workshops as well as other fun activities with an incredible group of people. Come prepared for all kinds of weather and an open mind to learn and try new things. You are advised to arrive as self-contained as possible with respect to sleeping, personal clothing, toiletries, and all weather gear. This means you’ll need to pack early spring outdoor essential clothes like gloves, toque, long underwear, flashlight/headlamp, and a trustworthy rain suit. Refer to the Equipment List below for a comprehensive guideline of what to bring with you for the weekend. Remember to also bring stories, games, musical instruments, a journal and a decent small carving knife—a Swiss army knife will do, if you have one.
Friday, May 8, 2020
4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Symposium Registration and Site Orientation
7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Official Welcome and overview of weekend with snack!
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Evening Keynote Presentation
9:00 – 11:00 p.m. Storytelling and Campfire Social
Saturday, May 9, 2020
8:00 – 8:45 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Session A – Professionalism in Outdoor Leadership
10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Session B
12:00 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch and ‘speed networking’ activity
1:30 – 2:45 p.m. Session C
3:00 – 4:15 p.m. Session D
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Dinner
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Peer Run Sessions
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Evening Presentation – Self Guided Professional Development
9:00 – 11:00 p.m. Campfire and Astronomy option
Sunday, May 10, 2020
8:00 – 8:45 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Session E
10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Session F
11:45 – 12:00 p.m. Pack up!
12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Lunch, Invitation to COEO’s Annual Fall Conference, and Safe Journey Home!
Workshops and Presentations
This year’s presenter line up will offer a wide variety of topics, sure to challenge your current skills, increase your outdoor knowledge and encourage you to grow as a wilderness trip leader. Prepare to be amazed by the stories of some truly inspiring leaders in the outdoor world!
A huge thanks goes out to each of this year’s amazing mentors who are generously offering their time and expertise to those who will be attending this year’s Ontario Wilderness Leadership Symposium.
Our host site is the Upper Canada College Norval Outdoor School.
Accommodations will be in the Norval Outdoor School dormitory and cabins. The beds are bunks and you will need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. The facility is modern and comfortable and features separate washrooms and shower facilities. Bring ear-plugs just in case, and please inform us of any special accommodation needs with a note attached to your registration form. If you snore, please let us know. Tenting out is also an option!
Meals and Snacks
The Norval Outdoor School’s culinary professionals 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 the Norval property (BYOB), but no glass bottles – cans or tetra paks only please.
What to bring
We will be spending lots of time outside. Below you will find a handy list of essential clothing and gear you will want to bring along. Please let us know if you require a piece of equipment or clothing, as we have some items to lend out–and so you should not feel like you need to make special clothing or equipment purchases to attend this symposium.
Although the main objective of this event was to offer a significant learning and networking experience at a highly reduced cost, the OWLS Organizing Committee realizes that even the $75 registration fee may be out of reach for some folks–and so the COEO Board of Directors has set aside funds for five individuals who require financial assistance in order to attend OWLS ’19. Those wishing to apply for this must submit a letter to OWLS Chair, Kyle Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org with the requested amount and a rationale by April 15, 2020. Bursary applicants will be informed by April 20, 2020 as to whether or not they have received funding.
Do I qualify?
If you are a recent University or College graduate or nearing completion (from an academic outdoor recreation program or otherwise) and/or already have some professional experience leading wilderness trips for a summer camp, outdoor school or leadership program, commercial outfitter or other organization, you can register NOW to attend OWLS 2020! Please spread the word about this event to others you think would benefit from attending. In early May, we will be selecting 40 participants who are eager to learn, develop their wilderness leadership skills, network with experienced professionals working in this field, meet peers from different organizations, and participate in all aspects of the event.
Scenes from previous OWLS!
Registration is now open!
The OWLS Planning Team is expecting to once again receive many registrations for this event. Registration deadline is May 1st, 2020. The event is limited to 40 participants, and so it is important to complete the online registration form ASAP. To register online click here. Once registered, please complete and return supplementary information form found here.
Let us know if you have any questions, email email@example.com. Also, check back to this webpage and the COEO facebook page frequently, as more information regarding specific workshops and presentations will soon be posted.
Have you seen the OFFICIAL 2020 ONTARIO WILDERNESS LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM 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!