All those who attended the 2012 ABSA National Conference would surely agree that we excelled this time - excellent speakers, great social events and wonderful practitioners discussing their successes!
Our time at Surfers Paradise was full and varied, and included a wonderful Opening Keynote from Judith Slocombe, CEO of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation talking on the safety of children and the need to develop esmart schools. This was followed by our first round of concurrent sessions - some very capable presenters - and the night ended with an evening in the clouds, a cocktail party on the top of Q1, the tallest building on the Gold Coast.
Monday was our fullest day, and included keynotes from Andrew Knott on legal issues and John Hendry and Charlie Scudamore from Geelong Grammar talking on Positive Psychology in Action, as well as a presentation on our Research Project by Brad Papworth and a number of sessions looking at the Draft of our National Boarding Standards. Delegates also enjoyed some more fantastic Concurrent Sessions. Most of us we happy to have a free night to wander, whilst the Principals and Heads had a chance to dine together at our first Head's dinner.
Tuesday morning saw a fascinating presentation from Pete Upham, Executive Director of TABS USA, and Hilary Moriarty, National Director of BSA, UK, and our last offering of Concurrent Sessions, followed by a free afternoon where many went shopping and others enjoyed a relaxation massage. Everyone donned their finest to head to the secret Conference Dinner location, Seaworld, where we had the Dolphin Show all to ourselves and a fabulous seafood buffet followed with a great DJ allowing people to dance the night away.
Wednesday was filled with presentations on Leadership by Darryl Cross and Relationships by Nick Hawkes, and attendees drifted off after lunch to hit the beach or head home.
My thanks to everyone involved - our Board Members for the fabulous support and help throughout, our Office Manager Thomas Dunsmore for being there every minute of the day to help the delegates (and teach them to tweet!), and to the delegates for so actively taking part in this wonderful event - your feedback has been fantastic and your personal notes and email to both Tom and me have been very flattering.
Thanks also to our wonderful sponsors:
Scholarest/LAPG for the coffee machine and fruit and your presence at everything, Coca-Cola Amatil for the drinks and great display, A H Beard and Interior Fitouts for the great bedroom display, LetzLive our long term supporters finding GAP student placements, ANZ Bank, Tightfit/Edart, Scuta, A Clear Direction and Harrison James - watch this space as these fantastic companies continue to support our work and offer members even more benefits.
And so we start to plan next year's offerings - a Heads of Boarding two day Symposium in Perth in August, a conference for people new to boarding at the end of Term One in Sydney and State Division conferences across the country.