Camp Australia has been providing education, adventure, and after school activities to guide the growth of Aussie kids for over 30 years. Anthony Phillips is the heart, mind, and founder behind Camp Australia.
Now part of the fabric of Australian after-school activities, Camp Australia began its life as a project run by Anthony, his wife Liz, and his brother Andrew.
“We never planned this business that we started. It was a hobby; it was fun. We used to just love doing the activities—couldn’t believe we got paid to run around and play sport and get kids fit.”
It started as a passion project. But passion projects still go through hard times.
Anthony openly admits that there were times when he began to rethink whether he’d made the right decision or not. He concedes that during the middle of their business building, in his early thirties, he and his brother were working themselves to the bone. He experienced a series of health setbacks, too, including getting diagnosed with melanoma, and contracting viral meningitis.
This stress, and the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with the pursuit of success; the inevitable setbacks and subsequent learnings; it’s all seen as part and parcel of running your own business.
So it’s not to say that a passion-driven business doesn’t become a grind.
But Anthony’s big takeaway, both in business and in life, is about the ability to adapt. About rolling with the punches, and adapting our mindset to accommodate—and overcome—whatever life throws at us.
And the ability to adapt can’t be done without a strong set of core values. And for Anthony, his one anchor point, his true north, was giving. Giving himself, his abilities, and his time to those that needed it. This was the passion: teaching, giving, and using his skills (and a love of football and physical education) to teach confidence and adaptability to school kids of all ages.
This core belief, this guiding principle, was instilled in Anthony at a young age, by his late mother.
“She worked for charity, very quietly and humbly, behind the scenes, and she wouldn’t talk much about it,” he reminisces. “She just wanted to quietly go about it. She knew why she was doing it, and what it was doing. She didn’t need anyone else to know or recognize her [for it].”
There was no ego to it. There was simply pride in a job well done, and the love of helping others.
It was this giving, this focus on helping others just for the sake of it, that inspired Anthony to build his business the way he did. It was a passion project, designed to give back. And Anthony believes that through this, through this passion for giving, both he and his mother are able to leave a legacy.
Book – Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
Website – The Phillips Foundation (thephillipsfoundation.org.au)
Film – Minimalism Documentary – https://www.netflix.com/title/80114460