In a major coup for the Sunshine Coast Hinterland a local Outdoor Education Centre has received the 2013 Queensland Outdoor Recreation Award for Excellence in Outdoor Instruction and Education. Queensland Conference and Camping Centres (QCCC) are this year’s recipients of the prestigious industry award recognising excellence in Outdoor Education programs.
QCCC’s largest Outdoor Education facility has been a vital part of the Mapleton community for more than thirty years. QCCC Mapleton is one of the busiest school camping venues in Queensland entertaining 30,000 guests annually. More than 20,000 of these are school students attending camps with more than 200 individual school groups. QCCC Mapleton is one of Mapleton’s largest employers with 50 staff and a significant attraction to the local area.
QCCC Director Andrew Grant believes a large part of QCCC’s success comes from locating its largest site in the natural beauty of the Blackall Range. “There’s no doubt we enjoy a natural advantage by bringing city kids into the mountains where they’re immersed in the stunning beauty of the Range. We must have one of the most stunning classrooms in Queensland”.
Throughout 2012 QCCC Mapleton created and built eight new activities specifically designed around the Australian Curriculum. This was a staff-driven effort with the initial “draft activities” significantly altered and enhanced through the participation of staff members primarily responsible for their delivery.
2011 is shaping up as an exciting one for Queensland Conference and Camping. The year is off to a flying start with record guest numbers through February. Some of the new initiatives we’ve been working on for several years are being launched and are quickly growing.
And we’ve started this year serving our new vision and mission statements.
As a ministry of Queensland Baptists, QCCC exists to create life-changing experiences through excellence in hospitality, service and teaching.
‘Fathering Adventures’, founded by Darren Lewis in July 2008, is an adventure-based initiative devoted to turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.
The Fathering Adventure Weekend is for boys aged between 7 and 13 years, and their Dad, or significant male other. The first South East Queensland Fathering Adventure event was fully booked, attended by twelve fathers and their sons drawn from the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Dalby and Sydney.
Throughout the weekend, Dads were given coaching on what it means to be an “intentional” Dad, finishing the weekend armed with a quiver of tools designed to ensure their son would know that he is a “beloved son”. Encouraged to “have fun” throughout the program, the adventure weekend was specifically geared around crating a memorable experience for fathers and sons, empowering them to spend time with each other, one on one, to put into practice the things being taught.
It’s been a huge year across QCCC. Mapleton alone has hosted nearly 300 different groups of guests through the course of the year. Brookfield has had its busiest year ever and Tamborine has also hosted hundreds of groups and played a part in some major events on Tamborine Mountain.
As the schools head into their Summer holidays the whole of QCCC gets just a few weeks of hiatus. Australia’s camping industry is the opposite to the American model, where the prime-time for their camping programs is over the northern hemisphere summer. In Australia the summer period leading into Christmas is the quietest time of year. On Boxing Day Mapleton kicks off its Summer Holiday Family Program and shortly after QCCC Tamborine’s accommodation gets used for the Tamborine Summer Convention. Brookfield has several church, youth group and craft camps in January.
Fathering Adventures have been succesfully conducting Father/Son weekends and expeditions for several years in North Queensland.
QCCC and Fathering Adventures share a similar heart to energise the father/son relationship and have been working together for several months to bring the succesful North Queensland Father/Son format closer to the large population base of Brisbane and surrounding Coasts.
We’re currently putting the finishing touches on the first South East Queensland Fathering Adventure, to be staged in 2011.
We hope to cater to ten father/son pairs at the modern QCCC accommodation on breathtaking Tamborine Mountain. The weekend will include a half-day Dolphin and Straddie sea-kayaking expedition to complement the usual well-balanced combination of group activities, and intentional one-on-one time to better explore relationships between father and son.
QCCC Mapleton is catering to an increasing number offsite expeditions. We offer customized trips involving hiking, canoeing down the beautiful Hinterland rivers, sea kayaking and we can throw in abseiling, rock climbing and raft building for good measure.
Taking groups into the breathtaking outdoors, often for days at a time, brings with it a great deal of responsibility. Safety is of the utmost importance in our expedition program, but when dealing with human nature and the elements there’s always the need to contingency plan against worst-case scenarios.
It’s contingency planning that saw several of the QCCC Mapleton staff complete a three day search and rescue course over the past few weeks. It allowed time for two hypothetical scenarios to allow theory and knowledge to be put into practice.