building new castles every day

Posts Tagged ‘education’

Workshop: BC Camping Conference

In Doings, Learnings on February 21, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 12.32.07 PM

This week, I had the pleasure of attending the BC Camping Conference at RockRidge Canyon outside Princeton, BC. The BCCC has been a client of mine for the last six months (I developed and maintained the conference website). It was exciting to see our hard work come together!

I also had the great educational experience of facilitating a workshop, “Effective Communication for Camps.”

Click here to download the accompanying resource, “Effective Communication for Camps” (PDF, 885 kb)

Tuesday morning, I talked with over 30 passionate camping professionals about how camps, including staff and external stakeholders, can be effective communicators.  

You see, different departments within camp deal with different audiences. These audiences have unique needs, motivations and interests. For example, Food Services and Human Resources may both deal with volunteers, but volunteer adults helping in the kitchen will have different needs, motivations and interests than volunteer teenagers helping run a day of programming for child campers. 

The workshop touched on the five elements of effective communication but focused on one element in particular: The Receiver. In other words, the Audience.

We split into small groups and considered the unique needs, motivations and interests of unique audiences that a camp would commonly communicate with:

  • Teenage camper
  • Soon-to-be bride
  • ‘Helicopter’ parent
  • Site maintenance volunteer
  • Executive director
  • Existing donor with decreasing funds.

By the end of the hour workshop, we had discussed how effective communication isn’t just about sending and receiving information. Rather, effective communication is about asking for action, listening for feedback, assessing your abilities, learning more about your audience, and asking again.

Click here to download “Effective Communication for Camps” (PDF, 885 kb) for an overview of the workshop content and more in-depth questions you can ask yourself to ensure your next piece of communication results in action!

Effective communication is a never-ending circle of action. Any person or organization on any budget can achieve effective communication. The key is to regularly and clearly identify who you are communicating with, what you want of them, and how you can make the most of existing means and resources.

Questions? Please contact me at or read more about my work here.

RockRidge Canyon, Summer

RockRidge Canyon (near Princeton, BC). Just add some snow, ice hockey enthusiasts, and a campfire to stay warm in -5*C weather, and you get more of the February camp feel.

and the life-learning continues

In Doings, Thinkings on January 18, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Friends, forgive me. It has been two whole months since my last post. But I bet you were up to some good fun in that time too so hopefully I wasn’t the only one spending less time at the computer.

In the last two months much has happened. I lost two of my jobs based in windowless offices and gained a wicked fun job on a mountain. Turns out I’m a better person, mentally and physically, when I get to hike around in the fresh air with a team of people on a daily basis. So what felt originally like a blow to my confidence was actually a blessing. I’ve been given the chance for a career change; a change I’m not sure I would have taken on my own accord. (Because a job is a job, right? Mmm, not.)

at work in my festive kitchen

Christmas and New Years celebrations provided a dusting of happiness and love over the last two months. My family gathered in early December and I spent the actual holidays with my dear friends and lovely guy here in Vancouver. I hope, wherever y’all were, you were surrounded by love and delicious food too.

linocut wrapping paper

family feeding

faux fire on Christmas day

For 2011, self-education is my personal phrase. Having never been an outdoor education guide, my learning curve has been as tall as the mountain I work upon. From determining Amabilis Firs from Mountain Hemlocks, to leading power hikes, to informing Brownies about the adaptations of snow fleas, snowshoe hares and red-breasted sapsuckers, my mind is exploding [gleefully] with new content! Not only are my co-workers supportive and eager to help me learn, they are just my kinda people: quirky and keen. And we’re all foodies! Work is good on a mountain.


Oh, and I built my very first website!

obligatory cat photo included

I’ve registered myself in an Introduction to Web Development and Design course at the downtown campus of a local technical institution, BCIT. I just finished my second week and all I want to do is code. Like a maze, you can get lost in the opening and closing of tags, but boy is it fun problem solving how to display content by XHTML rules. (You have my permission to call me a nerd.)


New years also coincided with some personal decisions.

  1. I’m moving.
  2. I’m going to do a big bike trip this year. At least one will be with my dad.

The first decision came down to timing. And the opportunity for cheaper rent (an offer one cannot refuse when one has recently lost work). My OBSV pal, Natalie, has been living with a few friends in a Kitsilano townhouse for a few years and six months ago there was talk of me filling the room of one departing friend. That departure didn’t actually materialize back then but on January 2, 2011 I got an inquiry text from Miss Natalie asking about my living situation.

Was I happy where I was?

Meh, I’m ok here in my converted attic. I love the view of the mountains and the large, well-lit kitchen. But it’s been getting lonely living alone. And the heat is next to nothing up here. Oh, and it’s 700 bones a month.

Being in Mount Pleasant has been, well, pleasant, and I admit, the rent is a sweet deal for this highly-demanded hipsterville. Yet I’ve been here a year and I like to keep things different. The townhouse friend is moving out so I’m moving in. To save $200 a month, to live with friends, to have ensuite laundry, and to enjoy co-loving a chihuahua (you’ll hear more about Riley in the future).

The second major decision represents a change in my personal outlook. I announced to myself (and to those who care to listen to me) that I was not going to focus on a career. That is, a path of employment that seems to follow one industry, or one area of expertise. It’s just not for me. I love too many things and enjoy learning too much to stick with just one profession.

With that quiet announcement came a wave of relief. No more stress. Just the need to make money by doing anything I enjoy. And not even needing to make a lot of money. Just enough to live. To enjoy living. In relative comfort.

Sure, this choice comes with compromises, but everything does. It has not only reduced my stress but has freed up my time. And time savings, I find, are just as valuable as money savings.

So, with time opening up, I want to materialize the ideas I’ve been stacking up in my mind for ages. One of those is doing a big bike trip.

Originally I was gung-ho to join Global Agents for Change on their group ride down the Pacific coast of North America, from Vancouver to Tijuana, Mexico. A couple friends have done it over the past few years and I’ve been thinking about doing it myself ever since I once volunteered with the non-profit back in university.

But after doing what I do best — thinking, a lot — I realized a big group ride wasn’t for me. (Also, and no offense to GAFC, I don’t agree with fund raising $2000 for a cause I am not personally connected with by virtue of geographic displacement. How can I pitch to you, my friends and family, to throw $20 each at a Kenyan youth poverty alleviation organization that I know little about but that my bike ride organizers have decided is the place our funds will go? Nah. I’m into local community building. I can speak passionately and act fervently for my immediate community and country, but not so easily for another. I will contribute to the global citizenship in other ways.)

Plus, there’s this guy in my life who I’ve known since birth and although we have a pretty good relationship, I’d like to know him more. And cycling is kind of his thing.

You see, my dad has already cycled across this vast country — solo. He’s done ‘credit card’ tours with his buddies where all they pack is their plastic monies, some snacks and water, and take off from from their families to the Rockies for a couple days. He’s completed an Ironman. He’s run The Death Race across three mountain summits. He broke his foot recently taking on a new sport, Cyclo-cross. He taught my sisters and I how to cross-country ski. He helped my ex-boyfriend try adapted skiing, no questions asked. He’s won multiple races, all various versions of 24-hours of adrenaline, mountain biking, intense nonsense. My dad loves to be outside, being active, and eating.

Sound familiar?

A couple years ago I logged away the dream of doing a bike trip with my pa. In that time he’s supplied me with two bicycles and been quick to help answer any of my maintenance questions or curiosities. I started commuting by bike to work last summer and have always enjoyed going home to visit my parents for a bike ride and some communal cooking.

This year, with time allowance for enjoying life, I asked my dad if he’d do a trip with me this spring or summer. His reaction was so positive, he’s already drafted some routes around BC for us!

So that’s me, relatively, to date. How about you? Did you make resolutions or decisions intentionally or just by chance this new years? How is your January starting off? I hope you’re keeping life interesting too. And I hope you’re ridding yourself of stress. That stuff’s no fun.