25 Years of Family Camp

March 24, 2016

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This year Interchange Outer East is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Family Camp.

The annual March Family Camp, which is held over the long weekend, once again highlighted the reason why IOE is passionate about securing the future for this important and much loved event.

Coonawarra Resort in Glenaladale, near Bairnsdale, has been the venue for the majority of the March Family Camps since the start of the program. Two separate accommodation areas, plus some separate activities, give families sufficient room for any individual needs to be accommodated. A combined dining, recreation area and range of shared onsite activities give plenty of opportunity for making or renewing friendships and the camaraderie and support for which Family Camp is renowned.

This year 42 families (over 200 people in all), relaxed, socialised, chatted, looked out for each other and generally made the most of all the amazing activities available. The dare devils, flew across the lake on the flying fox, swung skyward on the giant swing or took to the high ropes course. Those wanting more gentle pursuits, took aim on the archery field, floated in the pool, paddled the canoes or trotted on the ponies. Plus so much more!

Family Camp has a number of traditions – CEO Fred’s infamous night walk (no-one got lost!); the footy and basketball games which, as usual, brought out the competitive nature of everyone – men, women and children; the obligatory lake mud fight – which Fred insists he did not instigate-with everyone mudded and weeded from head to toe. This year there was even an ambush to involve those unsuspecting and unwilling souls.

A highlight of this year’s camp was the night concert at which Fred spoke about the 25 years of Family Camp, accompanied by a power point and slide show of photos from the camps over the past decades. The emphasis of the fundraising and awareness campaign which is part of the 25 year celebrations, is on the word Family – not only the family in Family Camp but more the family that is the IOE community. To emphasise this, a rendition of ‘We Are Family’ was attempted with limited success due to most Australians not being part of a singing culture and Fred’s attempts to introduce rounds and parts into the singing! Everyone’s heart was there nevertheless.

As IOE’s intake process is progressing more new families are using services, so it was great to see five new families welcomed into the Family Camp tradition. From their’ nothing but positive’ feedback they will certainly be back next year.

Volunteers play a huge role in Family Camp. Not only do they help with running activities but, by looking after the children for a few hours at a time, they give parents precious respite and a chance to relax, socialise and have fun themselves. This volunteer effort is much appreciated and is a major factor in making Family Camp as successful and valued as it is.

Click the link to find out more about the 25th Anniversary Campaign – 100 donors in 100 days , raising awarenesss of, and funds for, this integral part of IOE’s valued Family Support programs.

by Sandra Leehy

more photos coming soon.

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