Why April 2022 and not January?
Running the camp in April greatly increases our chances of being able to hold an affordable, face-to-face event that embraces the whole Turra community, avoiding cancellation due to COVID and fire risk. The later in the year we run our 2022 camp, the less likely it is that community members will experience the disappointment that comes with not being able to get tickets due to strict venue capacity limits, or last minute changes to lockdown restrictions. Importantly, fire risk in the Otways is increasing and the chance of cancellation in peak fire season (January-March) due to fire restrictions also increases each year.
Why move to the Rowsley Valley: Lady Northcote Recreation Camp?
This greatly increases our chances of being able to hold an affordable, face-to-face event that can embrace the whole Turra community. Lady Northcote is centrally located, with sufficient workshop space and amenity to accommodate COVID restrictions. It has excellent facilities for outdoor camping and comfortable indoor accommodation, along with good quality kitchens and ablution areas that are able to meet the needs of a normal sized Turra camp. The comfort, accessibility and variety of workshop spaces makes possible a more inclusive camp with something for all ages and levels of experience. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside including some excellent hiking nearby and is a hot-spot for land regeneration and nature projects including the impressive Grow West initiative.
Wildwood in the Pennyroyal Valley has been good to us for 38 years and it is with sadness that the Turramurra Committee has contemplated and discussed the options. As we move the Turramurra camp out of the peak fire season (Jan-Mar), we risked exposing participants to the uncomfortable cold, the accessibility issues, and safety hazards of Wildwood in the wet. Indeed the creek has flooded in April in recent years!
Even without the change of date, the facilities at Wildwood were struggling to cope with the numbers. Tickets regularly sold out within 2 days, with as many people missing out as attending. One option we discussed was to limit the camp to a sustainable number of people for the amenities (likely 60-80 in a post-COVID world), but this would preclude us from being able to pay our wonderful tutors an appropriate rate without a steep increase in ticket prices. With the likely impacts of COVID on family budgets, we felt it would be inappropriate to create an “exclusive” camp that was only available to a limited few who could afford it.