July 08, 2019
Published on Tuesday 4 September, 2018
ABOVE: Camp To Belong volunteers pose for a quick photo before the children arrive at camp.
Children and young people who have been separated through the Out Of Home Care process were recently reunited with their siblings at Camp To Belong. The Camp took place in July at Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreational Centre on the Central Coast of New South Wales, facilitated by Lifestyle Solutions.
There were 31 campers who attended the Camp from a wide range of Out Of Home Care providers across New South Wales. A number of volunteers travelled interstate to staff the camp and we were really pleased that Emily, who had attended Camp To Belong as a child, now joined as a positive mentor for campers. Camp To Belong is an international organisation that has been running camps for 25 years. Lifestyle Solutions has been implementing the Camp To Belong program in Australia since 2012.
Campers spent a full week making up for lost time, taking part in a range of outdoor adventures, craft sessions and social activities.
“The Camp To Belong program is designed to help children strengthen their sibling relationships and pack fond memories into the signature Camp activities they share,” said Camp To Belong Australia Director, Heather Hutchison.
Signature Camp activities include the Sibling Pillow activity where each child creates a personalised pillow for their sibling with messages of love and support. The Birthday Party gives siblings the opportunity to thoughtfully choose a gift for their brother or sister and share a huge birthday party to celebrate the birthdays they have missed together. The Memory Book activity allows the children to scrapbook their photos from Camp and have a keepsake of their time spent together.
“Campers challenged themselves with high adrenaline activities such as high ropes, the giant swing and rock climbing as well as fishing and archery. The evenings were filled with camp fires, board games, dancing and dress-ups.”
“There was lots of laughter, tears and fond memories made. The campers had an amazing time, with several of them asking if the next camp could be two weeks instead of one,” said Heather.
Camp To Belong receives no government funding. Each camp is supported entirely by the generosity of donors. There are over 40,000 children and young people in Out Of Home Care in Australia. These children are placed in foster care, residential care, kinship and emergency care, often for the full duration of their childhood. According to the CREATE Foundation, 71% of children are separated from their siblings with limited or zero contact with family members.
If you’re interested in making a donation toward a future camp (financial or goods), referring a sibling group to attend, or becoming a valued volunteer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.