Camp Volunteers making a difference to children and families
Lisa Scott began volunteering on Vinnies Kids Camps in 2010 and since then has had many opportunities to be involved in the planning and running of camps each year. “As a primary school teacher camp provides me with an opportunity to give back in a way that I can use my own personal strengths,” she said.
“Volunteering on each camp brings new experiences that stay with me. Often it is giving a child the opportunity to overcome a fear or having a child come up and say a heartfelt thank you and, ‘Camp is the best!’”, continues Lisa about her recent experience on the Broken Bay Central Council Kids Camp. She and Emma Thomas tell us why they are involved.
Kids Camps are 2-5 day residential programs for children aged 5-12 years to participate in a recreational and educational activities. Children from families experiencing hardship or disadvantage are invited. The Broken Bay Volunteer Team (pictured here) made this very special work of the Society possible in January 2017.
I have also been able to develop many close friendships through volunteering on camp and witnessed the growth that many leaders make as they face the challenges that camp come sometimes bring.
Lisa Scott, (left) Pictured here with fellow volunteer camp coordinator, Kate Farthing
Over the years I have been lucky enough to see a number of children grow and mature as they came back to each camp and gone onto train as volunteers themselves. – Lisa Scott
I initially signed up to give back to the community in a way that went beyond just fundraising or giving money to charity in a one-off manner, but rather something that went further and deeper: helping to promote social justice.
Through word of mouth, I had heard of positive experiences with Kids Camps and decided that it seemed like a perfect way to become involved, given I had previous experience working with kids, but only for a few hours at a time, so this seemed like a fitting challenge.
Being a leader at the Broken Bay Vinnies Kids camp and youth day, was a particularly eye opening experience – Emma Thomas
The training weekend was so thorough and really helped me prepare for what was to come, in terms of how to interact and engage the kids, prepare activities and all the formalities. I felt very well informed about the support networks available.
I must admit, I was a little bit nervous about the camp. I had managed to survive a Buddies Day but that was only a single day, not 5 days and 4 nights! The other leaders and coordinators were nothing short of amazing in showing me the ropes.
The most rewarding part of the camp was seeing the kids having an absolute blast! For some it was their first ever time away from home and watching their excitement beam and their confidence grow throughout the week was particularly refreshing. For other more seasoned campers, their enthusiasm and energy was unfaltering every day. To see everyone getting involved wholeheartedly with every activity, conquering their fears, taking up new challenges and trying new things, whilst being incredibly supportive of one another made the experience truly worthwhile. Similarly, seeing how myself and the other leaders were able to facilitate the kids enjoyment by coordinating fun activities, having time to listen and help each individual whilst acting as role models by displaying leadership qualities, was particularly rewarding.
The week went by too quickly and we were all exhausted, but I don’t think anyone really wanted to say goodbye. Camp had been a fantastic opportunity for all of us to challenge ourselves, whilst giving something very special to a very deserving group of kids.
I have already started promoting the experience to all my friends and encouraging them to sign up! Vinnies has been an incredible charity to work with, and I have felt very supported and accommodated for the whole way through my initial journey. I’m already looking forward to the next camp, buddies day and other exciting activities to come!
Read more about Kids Camps here https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/Get_Involved/Become_a_volunteer/NSW/Youth_programs/Kids_Camp/