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.