BruceGreySimcoe 2017 Regional UnConference

Thank you for joining us on Tuesday November 14, 2017 at the third annual BruceGreySimcoe Regional UnConference. 

This year, we got to meet the future of the tourism industry!  Grade 11 and 12 students from across the region joined operators for an amazing day full of challenges and exploration.  The presentation of the Annual Charlie Kelly Award was also part of the day's agenda.
The goal of this year's UnConference was to lay the groundwork for a new relationship between students and tourism operators. On the most basic level, operators need students and students need operators. It was time to make those connections. The day showcased the exciting career opportunities available in the tourism industry in BruceGreySimcoe while establishing an understanding that the region’s vibrant community of students is one of our most valuable resources. We learned that together we can strengthen our growing industry to benefit both students and operators. 
Jeff MacInnis was our host this year at Blue Mountain Resort.

Thanks to all the students, operators and industry speakers and panelists who made our first UnConference such a huge success. Here's a round up of some of the key information that was shared that day and a look back in photos and video.

Read the RTO7 Connection Blog from the day here.

A few words from Rob Hunter of Higher Me

“It was wonderful to meet all of you at the UnConference!  I’m hopeful you picked up some great tips and tricks on recruitment.  If there’s anything we can do at HigherMe to help you leverage technology to find great people, we’d love to hear from you!  We’ve got a special FREE 60-day trial for all attendees of the UnConference.  You can learn a bit more about our services by checking out the attached PDF, or by reaching out to me directly at

View the rest of Rob Hunter's presentation right here.

Thanks to Lindsay Byers for leading the Career Panel with the students. 

You can review Lindsay's presentation from the May CAFCE conference for more insight on how to support students in co-op placements. 

Here's a quick look at the top findings from both the operator and student brainstorming sessions.

Operator Brainstorm Top 3 ideas

  1. Encourage skill development through mentorship and departmental cross training – provide opportunities for advancement
  2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Listen to ideas, allow for input, acknowledge positive contributions, be clear on expectations, connect regularly
  3. Work life balance – provide flexibility, make it a fun environment, reward excellent work

Student Win Wall top 3 ideas

  1. Opportunity to develop a career/advancement – Skills training, continued education, job shadowing, internships/co-ops, networking, help with post-secondary school (financially)
  2. Work life balance – flexibility, fun environment, reward (perks from the job), time off
  3. Living wages – benefits and a fair wage, transportation

And take a look at a short slideshow from the day on Instagram below


Media Release

View the October 23, 2017 Media Release by clicking here.

Suzanne Burtenshaw wins the 2017 Charlie Kelly Award

Suzanne Burtenshaw of the Coldwater Steampunk Festival is the winner of this year’s Charlie Kelly Award, presented by Ross Kentner of Bayshore Broadcasting, at the BruceGreySimcoe Regional Tourism UnConference at Blue Mountain Resort on November 14th.

Burtenshaw is a dedicated volunteer with the Coldwater Steampunk Festival. The festival brings thousands of attendees to the village of Coldwater to celebrate the steampunk era. Visitors often come in elaborate costumes and this themed event had record attendance this year, bringing visitors from as far as the United States, packing local accommodations and making a great economic contribution to the region.
Having moved to Coldwater in 2009, Burtenshaw saw the potential for the festival and the community and has worked to grow the volunteer base as well as the town’s participation in the event. She works year-round to plan the festival and knows that it’s a great way to introduce visitors to the area’s other attractions. Burtenshaw and her partner also host an Antique Car meet every Thursday from May until September, further increasing traffic to downtown Coldwater.
Described as an idea person with boundless energy, Burtenshaw’s vision has contributed to the success of the Coldwater Steampunk Festival and has helped bring a new vibrancy to the village of Coldwater.

What is the Charlie Kelly Award?

This award honours the memory of Charlie Kelly, an Owen Sound alderman who championed the idea of winter tourism for Owen Sound.   The award embodies the spirit of Charlie Kelly and looks to recognize the person who has helped to significantly grow the tourism industry within the Region over the last year through initiative, innovation or by acting as a role model.
A panel of judges comprised of staff from Bruce, Grey and Simcoe Counties, RTO7, Bayshore Broadcasting and former Charlie Kelly award winners determine each year’s recipient.
This award is sponsored by Bayshore Broadcasting and governed by RTO7, the City of Owen Sound, Bruce, Grey and Simcoe Counties.