10 May 90 years of continuous improvement
One of the best parts of being involved in Queensland’s Outdoor Education industry is the regular feedback we receive about the product we provide, and the impact it has on people’s lives. Most guests arrive at our facilities with a sense of excited expectation but it still takes a dedicated and cohesive team to meet them.
Here’s a small example of some feedback from a Queensland School Camp. This school was onsite while Cyclone Debbie raged over the top of us.
Thank you for all that you did to facilitate another fabulous week for our College students. Your commitment to providing wonderful facilities, challenging activities and delicious food was once again, a major contributor to the growth experiences the students enjoyed.
This year, there were several highlights that I particularly want to highlight:
- Jonathan* is a highly nervous child who is highly autistic. He refused to participate in several activities, but with encouragement from your instructors, he locked his harness in to climb the ladder and on to the tree at the Flying Fox. He achieved beyond his expectations but also developed trust in the instructors and the equipment. The following day he abseiled the 6m wall. There is no way he would have done that without your staff’s encouragement the previous day.
- I have two students who are on restricted, gluten free diets. Your instructor took the time to develop a recipe that would allow those students to cook damper on the bush skills activity. When one of those students was told it was the instructor who had made this possible, he responded by giving him a hug. This boy struggles with self-esteem and fitting in. This was a highly significant moment in his camp.
- Your on-call staff person came up to Harrison Lodge at 7:30pm during the cyclone to check on the air conditioning and to see if it needed adjustment for the evening. Well after standard hours of duty!
- The provision of alternate activities for the groups unable to abseil or canoe on Thursday afternoon was extra mile, and greatly appreciated. The activities were so enjoyed by the students that those I spoke to did not feel ripped off at not having been able to complete the programmed activities.
- Real coffee-shop for teachers and parents on Friday morning after a long, windy night!
I have been bringing students to Mapleton for twelve years and it has become a significant component of our school program. In a very real sense, I feel that our year really kicks into gear after Mapleton as the depth of relationships built, the growth in maturity and the students’ willingness to take risks in learning developed at camp, provide a solid foundation for us to build on.
We pray God’s blessing on you all and look forward to another week of adventure next year!
During the course of the camp, as the Queensland Government shut schools throughout the State, we had to work with multiple school groups to decide what they would do. Authorities had not given thought that the advice to shut schools to keep students/parents off the roads during floods was oxymoronic to our situation.
Each of our major facilities doubles as a community evacuation shelter, prioritised by authorities and through the course of the event we had direct access to emergency management headquarters. At the end of it one of the parents commented they felt their child was safer with us than they might have been at home, and certainly had they tried to get home as the storm raged.
Another guest of ours, who frequents most of the State’s campsites during the year, separated the Queensland camping industry into three distinct categories:
- The bureaucratic types who don’t really care about your experience, as long as you keep the rules and make their lives as easy as possible;
- The profit-driven outfits who will work to give you a good time to ensure your repeat business; and
- The not-for-profit and Christian operators who have a completely different motivation, which is to see people be all they can be and cost doesn’t factor.
2017 is the 90th anniversary of the commencement of Baptist Camping in Queensland and over that period of time we’ve built a long and proud heritage of excellence. Today’s staff stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded us. One of the principles learned through the generations is the importance of small things and attention to detail. Every guest is a unique and precious creation, and going out of our way in the smallest way can make a huge difference in their experience and life journey.
Collectively our sites host more than 600 group events annually, the majority of these repeat and long-term partners. With so many long-term friends amongst our guest-list something we have to do to remain fresh and relevant is ensure we are committed to constant improvement. Site planning always includes discussion on projects, large and small, to ensure there’s something different for repeat guests year-to-year.
In the last year alone Tamborine has launched multiple new Outdoor Education activity options, Brookfield has revamped its dining room and introduced great coffee and Mapleton has new ensuited accommodation. Over the next year QCCC’s provision of services to the Commonwealth Games will see significant new services introduced to our sites in preparation. We might be turning ninety this year, but for QCCC it’s onward and upward with the same vigour and vitality as the tens of thousands of children we host each year.
*Names used in this article have been changed.