Monday 30 July 2012

Conference Registrations coming in fast

Just when you think you are on top of everything, a deluge of conference applications comes in! Hopefully if you have registered this week (we received over 30 registrations) you have now received your confirmation.
Tom, our Office Manager, and I were lucky enough to attend the Associations Forum National Conference in Brisbane last week, where we gathered with 400 other Association Professionals to look at better ways of doing our job. You always know when you come away from a conference with heaps of good ideas which you can action immdiately that you spent your money well, and our 'whiteboard brainstorm' filled the whole board with things were are already putting into action. One specific area we are working hard to expand is our social media offerings, and our Twitter account is already getting more of a workout, and these feed straight to our facebook page as well. We need our members to become more active - tweeting and commenting on facebook - so why not put your mind to it today! We have also created an organisation page on LinkedIn, so if you use this social media source I encourage you to connect with us. More on this in the next edition of Lights Out.
Whilst talking about Lights Out I am keen for more members to highlight their excellent work - so if you have some ideas we would love you to put pen to paper (or finger to the keyboard is probably more accurate) and send something in - closing date for the Term 3 Edition is August 15.
If you are planning to come along to the National Conference but have not yet registered please don't miss the Early Bird Registration date of 15 August - registrations are available on-line at
Until next week - enjoy being tired and staying up late watching the Olympics - I am!

Saturday 21 July 2012

Duty of Care workshops in Sydney

The week started earlier than normal - 5am Sunday on the way to the airport as we headed to Sydney. St Vincent's College hosted our Duty of Care Advanced workshop with 18 more staff completing Book Two of the Certificate Course - special thanks to ABSA treasurer and Head of Boarding at St Vincent's, Madonna Hennessy, for hosting the day and providing such a lovely lunch. It was great for our Office Manager, Tom Dunsmore, to travel to Sydney to meet the ABSA executive as well, and he and I shared a wonderful dinner with Madonna on Sunday.
Monday morning Tom and I headed off for a series of meetings - firstly with new Association sponsors A.H. Beard, manufacturers of King Koil mattresses, then to PLC for Tom to meet Vice Chairman and Head of Boarding, Pauline Turner. From there we headed out to The King's School to have lunch and meet with the ABSA Chairman, Tim Hawkes - a three hour meeting discussing all the work of the Association. Our last meeting of the day was with Glenn Russell of MattressKleen who is looking to support our work in the near future, although we also caught up with Pauline and her two new GAP students during the evening.
We headed back to Brisbane on Tuesday, and had a busy day in the office on Wednesday trying to catch up with so much outstanding work!
Thursday was another early morning as we headed down to Sydney again, leaving home at 4.30am, to run a GAP Duty of Care workshop for the new LetzLive GAP students. It was a wonderful chance to help these young people settle in and connect them with Tom.
Friday was another busy day in the office which ended too quickly - thus me writing this on Saturday afternoon!
Some exciting things are on the horizon for ABSA - the possibility of running Boarding School Expos to help our schools to advertise their  schools, the Boarding Standards, the upcoming National Conference, workshops on Social Media around the country and the new School Search section of the website are all pending . . .watch this space.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Preparing for Boarders to Return

This week was another busy one, with Thursday and Friday out of the office conducting a Beginners and an Advanced Duty of Care Workshop at Clayfield College in Brisbane. It was great to welcome along staff from Clayfield College, St Margaret's Anglican Girls School, The Scots PGC College, Marist College Ashgrove and even one who travelled from The Scots School in Albury.
The start of the week in the office saw our trainee Tom working hard on a presentation for the second unit in the Certificate III in Business Course he is doing, and on Wednesday he presented this to both his trainer and me. We were very impressed, not only with the presentation and powerpoint, but also with the huge effort he put in to 'be the best he could be'. Tom has now completed two unit at an outstanding level, in the ten weeks since he started working for us. Thursday and Friday he joined me at Clayfield College, not to undertake the Duty of Care workshops (he has already completed Book 1) but to work on his next units, competing two more and getting half way through a third. He also videoed more staff answering the questions he posed, and will shortly edit these and post them to our YouTube Channel to add to the three he has already done.
We have commissioned an IT firm to re-write our Association Database, meaning much easier access to our data and the ability to get information out to members more quickly. We have received almost all of the update forms from schools now (still 20 to come!) which means we are now able to develop better communication lines with our members.
We have some exciting news regarding partnerships and sponsorships with other businesses to announce shortly - watch carefully as not only will you save yourself a good deal of money, but you will also help to support the work ABSA is doing.
For those of you in New South Wales and Queensland who have enjoyed three week break - I trust the coming term is a good one. Our conference takes place in the next break - we look forward to seeing many of you there.

Saturday 7 July 2012

Web Site Improvements were the order of the day

Another busy week based in the office as we worked to update everything on our website, as well as investigate new possibilities we can offer. We hope everyone checks the website often as our plans include information on our National Standards Project as well as new links on the homepage to our sister organisations around the world amongst the myriad of changes we are making.
I took part in a webinar on producing webinars - sounds a bit funny I guess, but the possibilities this opens for our organisation to offer training across the country over the internet is an exciting option for our future. We have also spent time investigating the accreditation of the Duty of Care Certificate Course - more information will be forthcoming on this in weeks to come.
Work continues on the National Conference in September/October, and those who offered to present concurrent sessions will be contacted this week - thanks to all of our members who have offered to give up their time to present. Unfortunately we are running our of some options in our accommodation offerings - I encourage all of you who are planning to come to register soon.
The week ahead sees a return to presenting Duty of Care workshops, in Brisbane on Thursday and Friday and in Sydney on Sunday - hopefully I will catch up with some of you on those days.