STudent Recreation Interstate Volunteer Exchange (STRIVE)

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What is STRIVE?

The STudent Recreation Interstate Volunteer Exchange (STRIVE) is an innovative opportunity for students and young people between the ages of 14 and 21 years to have a summer camp-style volunteering experience away from home, without the need and expense of traveling overseas. Volunteers will travel to Melbourne during the school holiday period to volunteer on mid-week camps, supporting children aged between 5 and 18 years and helping them get the most out of the camp experience.

During weekends and/or between camps, volunteers will be hosted by a selected family that is well-known to IOE, such as a staff, volunteer or client family, who matches the interests and personality of the volunteer – we want to make sure the fit is right so that you can have the best possible experience during your down time!


What is the cost?

Volunteers will be required to cover the cost of travel to and from Melbourne, travel insurance (essential) and spending money for weekend down-time. Interchange Outer East will cover transfers from Melbourne airport, host costs (accommodation, meal allowance, transport), camp costs (accommodation, activity costs, food, transport, etc.). The volunteer will be required to have their own spending money for any extra activities they wish to do on weekends and in their down-time.

How will you ensure the safety of the volunteer?

Host families will be previously well known to Interchange Outer East and will be required to undergo a national CrimCheck and a Working with Children Check. Hosts will undergo a selection process which will include a detailed application, interview and reference checks.  Interchange Outer East has a long history of recruiting and supporting youth volunteers from the age of 14 years. We adhere to the Child Safety Standards and have policies and procedures in place to protect the safety of all children and young people involved with the organisation. Volunteers and their families will be encouraged to meet with the host family over Skype prior to commencing the exchange. Volunteers will be able to contact their families at any time during the exchange. The only exception may be that if they are on a camp with no mobile phone coverage, but arrangements will always be made in an emergency.

Do I need to have experience working with people with disability?

No! After all, people with disability are no different to you or I. We all have the same fundamental needs, wants and rights. If you enjoy working with people, then working with someone with disability will be no different. Our volunteers are highly valued, well supported and all undergo an orientation process that assists them to fulfil their role. If there is something that you are unsure of, you will learn as you go and become more and more confident. Staff will always be close at hand to offer guidance and support.

What happens on a camp?

School holiday camps usually run for 3-5 days and are attended by 10-20 children with a disability between the ages of 5-18. Depending on participant numbers, there will be 3-4 recreation leaders (paid staff) running the camp and providing support to volunteers. Each child attending camp is matched with a volunteer, depending on their support needs and the experience level of the volunteer. We also try to match volunteers and children with similar interests and personalities to help everyone have as much fun as possible. Camps include a variety of planned activities, down-time and free play/activities.

The volunteer’s role is to engage with their match, have fun and help the children get the most out of the experience. In the evenings, after the children have gone to bed, volunteers will also have the opportunity to bond and socialise through volunteer games, team building and debriefing their days and planning for the following day. At the end of camp, after the children have been picked up, all volunteers and staff sit down together over some pizza to wind down together and talk about their experiences. Most of all, camps are fun, full of new experiences, challenging and a great way to make new friends.

What will an average week look like on the STRIVE program?

  • The volunteer and their family will be in regular contact with the IOE Volunteer Coordinators and their host family. They will go through an online orientation process where they will receive detailed information about their upcoming camps/day activities, what to expect on camp and what will be expected of them.
  • Host family will meet the volunteer at the airport or train station depending on travel arrangements that have been discussed prior. The volunteer will travel home with the host family and spend time with them until Monday morning.
  • The host family will assist the volunteer to prepare for camp, answer any questions and provide any other support that the volunteer may require.
  • On Monday morning (or the first morning of the first camp/activity), the host family will drop the volunteer at Interchange Outer East between 9am and 9.30am. They will introduce the volunteer to the Recreation Leaders (camp staff) and show them to the training room where they will meet the other volunteers on camp.
  • Recreation Leaders will give them a support information document which is all about the child they are matched with. The support information includes all the information required to help get to know the child and support them during camp. Recreation leaders will then introduce all the volunteers to each other and will discuss the plan for the day.
  • When the children arrive, their parent will sign them in and they will be introduced to the staff and their volunteer. The child and volunteer will have a chance to start to get to know each other before they head off on camp.
  • After camp (and pizza!), the host family will pick the volunteer up from Interchange Outer East at about 6pm. The volunteer will spend the weekend with the host family, having some free time exploring the area and having fun together.
  • The host family and Interchange Outer East staff will be available to provide support and/or debrief to the volunteer if required.

What will happen at the end of the exchange?

At the completion of the exchange, volunteers will be asked to complete a short evaluation of the program and their experience. They will be presented with a certificate – a great addition to their resume. We hope that volunteers will have such a positive experience that they will go back home and encourage their friends to be involved too!

Getting Involved

To find out more information about the STRIVE program, or to get involved, contact the Interchange Outer East volunteer coordinators on (03) 9758 5522 or email  To download the STrive information sheet click HERE


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