The 2017 Australian Men’s Shed Association Conference

Mantra Hotel on View, Surfers Paradise
29 September – 1 October 2017

 

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Dianna Crebbin writes,

The Men’s Shed movement is an Australian initiative, with the primary objective to provide safe, friendly environments where men feel they belong and are able to work on meaningful projects in the company of other men –hence advancing the health and well-being of male members. There are now over 900 Men’s Sheds throughout Australian cities and country and the movement has spread to Ireland and Canada.

DC Conferences (DCC) has been involved in managing the biennial Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) Conference since the Association was formed in 2007 and it was a privilege to celebrate the AMSA ten-year anniversary at this Conference in the Gold Coast with the theme Onwards and Upwards – Share, Talk, Discover.

The conference kicked off with a beach breakfast at the Surf Club on a beautiful bright Gold Coast morning. After breakfast, our “Shedders” embarked on tours of neighbouring sheds and attractions such as the Gold Coast War Museum, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Riviera Marine luxury boat factory. That evening all our delegates came back together for a welcome BBQ dinner and launch of the industry exhibition.

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This years’ exhibition was quite diverse with displays by Cabots, (the major sponsor) and others such as Asbestos Australia, Chevington Tools, Department of Veterans Affairs, Continence Australia, Everest Risk Group, Mac-lace Leather, the Prostrate Cancer Foundation and R U OK?, to name just a few.

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The next two days over Saturday and Sunday, the Shedders met in plenary and break- out sessions of topics such as safety, governance, health and mindfulness and heard about some wonderful community endeavours such as BlazeAID, R U OK? and Orange Sky Laundry.

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These presentations aligned with the aims of ‘Men’s Shed Week, Doing Local Good’ (25th Sept – 1st Oct), to officially recognise the extraordinary work of Men’s Sheds and demonstrate the tangible contributions made by members to their communities whilst at the same time proposing other avenues of community involvement to explore.

Perhaps the highlight of the Conference was the dinner at the Australian Outback Spectacular with an impressive production of the Centenary of the ANZACS and the heroes of the legendary Australian Light Horse Infantry.

The conference can prove to be a challenge as registration fees must be kept to a minimum for the “Shedders”, yet the conference must be executed to a high standard and be financially self-supporting as far as possible. DCC has managed to achieve these goals by being very careful with choices which effect the budget, by extensive marketing to boost delegate numbers and by casting a wide net to maximise the sponsorship and exhibition income.

This years’ event was proclaimed by many as the best yet and delegates expressed their appreciation at having the opportunity to network and hear about the different and diverse experiences of Men’s Sheds throughout Australia and also Ireland.

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