Summer family camp was a very successful week full of memories, friendships and games! There was no limit to the amount of fun the 6 families (and all the leaders) had on camp as we participated in the array of organised activities, such as archery, sports, swimming, bike riding, visiting Edendale farm or running through mazes. As well as the unorganised activities, where families got creative at the arts and crafts table, played air hockey or table tennis, challenged each other to a game of uno, read a book, played with cars and blocks or jumped on the bouncing castle. There was something to meet all abilities and desires, and no one was left out of the fun! For me personally, the best part of camp was watching the bonds form within and between families. I was fortunate enough to attend a parent's meeting, in which tears were brought to my eyes by the support these parents had given each other over the week (and were willing to continue giving). It was overwhelming to see the genuine love these carers had for their kids and the heartfelt gratitude they had for the leaders who showed interest in their families, liked them for who they are and showed them that there are people around them with whom they can trust. From a carer’s perspective, watching their child being included and having fun (despite their unique differences or challenges) was one of the best aspects of camp. To see what only a week of being in an inclusive and respectful environment can do to both an individual, and to a family, made me hopeful for what the future holds for these participants. I am grateful for Edmund Rice Camps for providing such a rewarding experience for these families. I am also grateful for all the volunteers involved, who continue to learn and grow as they give their absolute all to making camps the best they possibly can be. Prior to the camp, the 26 volunteers decided on the focuses of the camp which were: comfort, meeting diverse needs, creating memories, community and role modeling. It’s safe to say that this camp demonstrated those values perfectly.
- Emma Hants