#ECOOcamp Owen Sound

OK, so it wasn’t a Chamber of Commerce day Saturday in Owen Sound.  Actually, it really wasn’t anywhere in Southern Ontario.

I had created a document for my welcoming remarks on behalf of the ECOO Board of Directors and shared it with a couple of others.  The opening line was –

Why Owen Sound?  – Why not Owen Sound?

One of my collaborators had suggested that I not include that.  I was a little surprised because not only did I want to include it, but it was going to be my first remark.  So, I left it in.

Part of the discussion that Peter McAsh and I had as we were considering running for the board was to try to move ECOO events beyond the once a year conference.  The concept of an #ECOOcamp was born.

So, why Owen Sound?

Over the years, I’ve had many experiences with educators from Bruce-Grey Catholic and Bluewater District School Boards.  I’ve never been let down and so when the topic of location was discussed with Peter, he was all-in.  He grew up in the beautiful town.

And it was scheduled for mid-April.  What could go wrong?

Putting this together was easy.  When Peter and I ran the idea by Leslie Boerkamp, she didn’t hesitate.  “I’m in and want to go first”.  And then, “I know a guy”.  That guy turned out to be her counterpart Ian Whitton.  Between the two of them, they handled all the local details and it would be pretty difficult to come up with any suggestions for improvement.

Except for the weather.

Which really didn’t turn out to be an issue.  To the best of my knowledge, we had two presenters and one participant who couldn’t attend for weather reasons.  Other than that, the cafeteria at St. Mary’s High School was full when we got started.  The principal and vice-principal had bent over backwards to make sure that the place was at its best.

There were so many people there from around the province that I got a chance to reconnect with. There were so many sessions to attend and learn something new. It was great to see that green screen still inspires, a terrific collection of primary coding ideas, including the importance of unplugged, and that GIS can be used to do so many things.

Except change the weather.

A special recognition has to go to Sue Kwiecien who agreed to change the time of her presentation about Cube for Teachers so that we could move up quitting time.

What would a professional learning event be like without inspirational keynote speaker messages? Emily Fitzpatrick and Derek Tangredi had us laughing and crying with their messages.  Plus, they just didn’t speak and run.  They were there until the very end pitching in and helping to clean things up.

Thanks, EdTechTeam and Fair Chance Learning for making them available to us.

And, believe it or not, this small group of professionals was trending with messages and pictures of their learning!

We were trending behind the weather and #ONStorm though.

Of course, there were door prizes.

It was a terrific day.  But, to top things off and to answer “Why Owen Sound?”, as I left the building I stopped in my tracks to see how much snow and ice had accumulated on my car since I had arrived at 7am.  It’s humbling when a keynote speaker and one of the ladies who had attended the day got out of their car to help me scrape my windows!

Oooh, that weather.

My thanks and admiration to all who came out for the day, braved the roads from London, Toronto, Fergus or wherever else to get to Owen Sound for the day.  Going home, I didn’t hit any road where I could do the speed limit until past London.  It was a long 6.5 hour trip but so worth it.

If you want to catch up on the events, follow the hashtag #ECOOcamp or head over to the ECOO website to this page.


Presenters have been asked to share any resources at the TeachOntario page.



  1. Oh Doug! You have me laughing!

    You can’t say this is the first time that Keynoters have helped you clean snow off of your car after an educational event! (readers: search “RCAC Symposium David Pogue” for a photo.)

    I was monitoring #ECOOcamp for most of the day, and it was great to see all of the pictures and tweets about the learning which took place, and none were complaining about the weather!

    KUDOs to Leslie and Ian and the staff at St. Mary’s, Bruce Grey CDSB, and Bluewater for hosting the inaugural #ECOOcamp event! The smiles In the pictures say everything!

    I would suggest that any day that educators get together to learn (whether it is a weekday, or a weekend day) makes for a “Chamber of Commerce Day” — wherever it may be.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for remember the Pogue incident, Andy. I saw this as a bit difference. David needed me to drive him to the airport and so was a captive shoveller. Derek and the lady who helped out could have just hopped into their vehicles, said “See ya, sucker” and floored it!

    As I was writing this post, I did think of that and the many Western RCAC events threatened by snow on the first Thursday in December in London. Maybe I should stick to summer events!

    All in all, it was a pretty amazing day. Wish you could have joined us.


  3. Thanks so much for the post, Doug. I had a kind of fun conversation with my spouse on Saturday. We had had to cancel a planned grown-up getaway weekend in Niagara, due to the weather, and he was kind of down about it. It didn’t help his mood that I was having a great time following along with #ECOOCamp. Once I explained that I really was quite happy to be taking part remotely, and was hugely enjoying the freedom that comes with an unexpectedly unscheduled weekend, it was all good.
    And why Owen Sound? Because when it’s not storming, it’s awesome….and my mom lives there!


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