Being a regular attendee of family camps now, I can readily see and appreciate all the little things that go into making family camp what it is. This was the first time I had been to Licola Wilderness Camp and it certainly did what it said on the tin – a ‘wilderness camp’ for sure. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect location to get away from it all. The surrounding mountains and classic Australian high country vista plus a meandering river through the heart of the camp, made this an amazing location. Perfect for the extreme activities that were about to happen over the weekend. No one can hear you scream in the high country when riding the mighty giant swing!

All the classics were there … flying fox, giant swing, canoeing, archery and much, much more . Fully accessible with a wide range of ‘stuff to do’ this made this place very attractive, whichever way you look at it.

At Licola I was drawn to the new families who had not previously been on a camp. Looking a little unsure from the onset about ‘what do you do?’ and ‘how will it go?’ they were soon in the midst of it all ; scurrying from one activity to the next and joining in with the ridiculous nature of what is known as IOE Family Camp. How they interact can certainly be attributed to how people are made to feel whilst on camp. Families embrace each other open heartedly … we are all on an equal playing field. We are all there to point each other in the right direction, to lend a helping hand or to give some support when needed.

I tip my hat to the ‘vollies’ who show so much love, expertise and nurturing in what they do; we certainly couldn’t do it without them. They take so much in their stride. I can’t help think that these early shared experiences unquestionably add to the character development of these young people. Experiencing these life teachings early on sets them up with skills and characteristics which are beneficial for all of us in life.

This year I was looking forward to Fred’s night walk, as you can never even guess where the night will take you. We enjoyed a beautiful walk up onto a ridge overlooking the town and camp. It was great to see so many families enjoying each other’s company and wanting to do a walk on a beautiful evening. A perfect end to a perfect day with a reasonably starry night. Fred, yet again, is the fabric of family camp and his energy is conveyed and transferred from one person to another.

You realise you have been captured and have experienced the true nature of family camp when you are running, jumping, rolling about on the floor like a fool … all around you can see the smiles on faces. No one can escape how infectious this is.

We all create our own path on family camp and each of us has our own individual experiences shared and articulated later in the day when we sit and reminisce on what the day has brought. When you hear the stories from camp you can’t help but be optimistic about it … it’s about family, community and support.

Well done do the family camp team for a great 2017 camp at Licola, you did a great job. Extra special thanks to the Lions Clubs of Park Orchards, Forest Hill, Vermont South, Vermont and Box Hill for their support which made this amazing camp possible.


Another successful Mums weekend! It was back to Alzburg Resort in Mansfield which is really the perfect venue for our group. Comfortable and well appointed rooms, fabulous facilities, great communal areas and friendly accommodating (and tolerant!) staff.

The weekend started with dinner at the pub on Friday night followed by an impressive fireworks display (part of the High Country Festival which runs annually over the Melbourne Cup weekend). Saturday most ladies strolled into town for a coffee and op shop browse or to the huge festival weekend bush market. A few brave souls took a quick dip in the pool while others preferred the warm bubbles of the indoor spa. Our dinner and games night was, as usual, chaotic and had Melbourne Cup as its theme – the hats were impressive, especially Nat’s gutter guard and chopstick concoction! – dinner was followed by a disco until midnight. It was great to see the ladies getting right into the dancing with some not leaving the floor for the entire 3 hours.

Sunday drew a few back into town – the opportunity to shop without children was too good to ignore – while others relaxed around the pool, taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Then, after our traditional gourmet BBQ lunch, it was reluctantly time to head home.

Special thanks must go to our amazing therapy team who have been joining us at Alzburg for a number of years now. Working flat out all weekend they managed to fit in 57 sessions of massages and pedicures, greatly adding to the ladies general relaxation. Niki, Jayne and Tanya thank you, thank you and thank you again.

Welcome also to the ‘new faces’ who joined us for the first time. We certainly hope to see you all again on more Mums group activities.

Old friendships were renewed, new ones made and lots of fun was had over the weekend, highlighting the true value and importance of IOE’s Family Support programs.


The support will keep coming! That was the message from Freemasons members when they visited on Thursday 19 October to present IOE with yet another cheque in support of the Sibling program. This takes their total financial contribution for the Sibling Program over the past eight years to an incredible $200,000.00.  As the program receives no other funding, it has only been through these ongoing generous donations that the IOE Sibs Program has been able to continue operating.

Miles King, the Grand Director of Ceremonies from the Freemasons Foundation, joined Lionel May, District Coordinator, Freemasons Victoria Monash Gully District and other members to present the cheque.

Prior to the presentation, sibling Kaeli Farrelly told the gathering of how much the Sibs Program has meant to her. How it gave her a break from her sibling with a disability and other family members, of how good it was to be with others who understood her situation, of the friends, including her ‘bestie’, she had made and the self-esteem she had gained through being a part of the program. Kaeli’s mother, Carla told the all too familiar story of how parents’ attention is, of necessity, focused on the child with the disability, so siblings often come in second best. She said she had seen the difference the program had made for her daughter’s confidence and to her overall quality of life.

Miles King spoke of the value of members being able to see such positive results from their fundraising efforts. He thanked the members present for their hard work and commended them on their dedication to raising funds enabling the support of such a valuable program as the IOE Sibs Program. Freemasons’ continued support of Sibs for the coming year was then re-affirmed.

Member Keith Thornton has been an integral part of building such a strong support relationship with IOE Sibs and Freemasons. At the gathering it was IOE’s turn to reciprocate with the unveiling of The Keith Thornton Room (formerly IOE training/meeting room) in appreciation of the difference that Keith has made and the way he has paved the way for this partnership that has enriched the lives of so many siblings and families.

Thank you to Freemasons Foundation Victoria and Freemasons Monash Gully for sharing our vision and value for the Sibs program. We are incredibly grateful for your support!

Unveiling ‘The Keith Thornton Room”



IOE’s REACTIONS group has been giving young people interested in singing, dancing and performance, an opportunity to share their passion and have fun.

The group meets weekly for an hour on a Wednesday at 6.30pm during school terms and has just changed venue to Knox Central Primary School in Darwin Road, Boronia.

REACTIONS is a community group which is truly inclusive – everyone is welcome. The only criteria is a love of the ‘performance’ scene and a desire to have fun! Cost is minimal at $8 a session and the first session is free.

Exciting News! A new group – REACTIONS JUNIOR – has just begun for children aged 5 – 12. It runs along the same lines as REACTIONS but is tailored for a younger age group. REACTIONS JUNIOR also meets each Wednesday at Knox Central Primary from 5.30pm until 6.15pm, just prior to the older group.

So if you love performance, dance, singing, acting, want to have fun and build self-confidence give Karina a call on 9758 5522 or email Become a REACTIONary!

Download the flyer. Print and stick  on your message board to remind you.



Once again Interchange Outer East has good reason to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Freemasonry.

A recent fundraising night where patrons were treated to a performance of ‘The Housekeeper’ at Clayton’s Encore Theatre, raised $4000 towards Freemasons pledged financial support to IOE’s Sibling Program for the coming year. The evening’s $3000 takings were supplemented by a further $1000 from auction items sold post event.

The evening was organised by Freemason’s Canterbury Lodge, with considerable contribution by their ‘daughter’ lodge SEAVIC, which also contributed hundreds of dollars for raffle and silent auction items which added considerably to the funds raised on the night.

SEAVIC also donated 20 tickets for the show to be used by IOE members. This offer was gratefully accepted and much appreciated by those who attended the performance. So, not only were funds raised for IOE, but some family members had a rare chance to go to the theatre. As one parent reported “With a disadvantaged child we are rarely invited out, or able to go out, so to be invited, and have such a special night was a great experience.” Nice feedback indeed which reinforced to Freemasons the validity of their ongoing support.

Freemasons also enjoyed the opportunity to meet more IOE colleagues and carers and were delighted that people enjoyed the show and contributed, both financially and by their presence, to the success of the night.
On behalf of all the families of IOE, thank-you Freemasons and thank-you to all who worked so hard to organise the event, donated goods or services or helped out on the night.

As Freemason Ross K said “The spirit of Freemasonry is alive and well at Canterbury. Well done!”