Celebrating OCA’s 90th Anniversary

We are thrilled to be gathering in-person for our annual conference for the first time since 2020 – and just in time to celebrate OCA’s 90 Years of Strength and Resilience! 

Join us at the HUB – Where Community Engagement Meets OCA History! 

OCA [Re]Connects 2023 Community and Archives Hub is an open resource available to all delegates during and between the regular program sessions of the conference. The Hub is a place to engage with your OCA community while exploring, sharing and connecting with OCA’s rich history and wealth of camp leadership experience. The Hub includes a showcase of OCA Archives, interactive opportunities through stories or informative chats with some of OCA’s Honorary Life Members.  Hosted and staffed by members of the Archives and the Community Engagement Committees of the OCA, The Hub’s focus this year is OCA’s 90 years of Strength and Resilience. Visit the Hub any time to learn more about how OCA’s past and present can inform your camp’s future.

OCA’s 90 Years of Strength and Resilience

The turbulent years of the 2020s have presented some extraordinary challenges to society in general and to the camping industry in particular. The challenges of the COVID pandemic seem unprecedented but together, OCA and the camping community have demonstrated once more the strength and resilience of people raised through the camp experience. As OCA [Re]Connects in our 90th year of the Association, it seems appropriate to reflect on the continued and continuing resolve of OCA leaders to meet the challenges of the day. Archival displays and donated presentations in The Hub reconnect and remind us of the challenges to and the achievements of the OCA through the 1930’s, 40’s right to the present day.

OCA Archives

The OCA Archives are housed at the Bata Library of Trent University in Peterborough. Beginning with an early vision, endowment, and donations by Dr. Mary Northway (OCA HLM) and the family of Dr. Taylor Statten (OCA HLM), the collection has grown to become Trent University’s largest accession beyond the university itself. Students, researchers, authors and camp leaders can, and do make use of this material to advance the camp story. Meet Karen Suurtaam, Trent’s Archivist and Head of Special Collections. View themed displays drawn from the Archives and member donations. Discuss preserving and advancing your own camp’s story – be it through record-keeping, reunions, storage, or storytelling.

COVID Corner

There is never a right time to catch COVID, but it is the right time capture the camping COVID story. The pandemic’s impact on the camping community has been profound and long-lasting. During OCA [Re]Connects, come to the COVID Corner located in The Hub and share some of your own experiences, reflections, and your takeaways from these past few years. You can respond in an interview, on a written survey or with a video record. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

OCA Minutes

Building upon the theme of OCA’s 90 Years of Strength and Resilience, OCA  has assembled a collection of short videos that identify the various societal challenges and issues of the day over the nine decades of OCA history. Amidst recollections of these challenges, OCA leaders of the day stepped up to prepare and present a response to serve the camps and more importantly the staff and children of the camps in Ontario. In the Hub, you’ll be able to take a minute to watch a Minute (or nine) of OCA history.

HLMs – Honorary Life Members

Throughout OCA’s nine decades, visionary founders and Honorary Life Members have blazed trails and built bridges so that today we can better serve the young people in our care. Most HLMs have met and mastered many of the challenges that we face today. Each HLM story is a full camping volume in itself. You can connect, reconnect, and consult with OCA’s Honorary Life Members in The Hub at any time during the Conference. Ask a question or hear a story.


The OCA 90 Committee consists of Diane Blair (Archives), John Jorgenson, Jane McCutcheon, Catherine Ross, and Patti Thom (Community Engagement). All five committee members are Honorary Life Members of the OCA.