My son Dylan, a 1:1 support worker and myself (husband was unable to make it) arrived at CYC Cowes on Friday evening ready to take part in our first IOE Family Camp.

On arrival we were greeted with a warm welcome and shown our accommodation. Our cabin was so much better than I expected, with one double bed and a few sets of bunks. It even had its own ensuite with separate shower and toilet.

In the morning all the families arrived for breakfast, which had been set up in the rec hall. After breakfast we were given an itinerary for the weekend ahead which was full of different activities to choose from.

My son chose to participate in crate climbing, for which he had to wear a safety harness. All the kids had so much fun! This was followed by a lot of smaller activities. My son particularly loved the massive swing that looked out over the ocean. In the afternoon there was archery and a family game of soccer.

There were a lot of activities happening during the day, some that my son didn’t participate in, but that was okay and we never felt pressured into doing something we didn’t want to do.

That evening we had tea and all special diets were catered for, so there was something for everyone.
Later that night Fred took us all on a beach tour in the dark (Fred’s night adventures are apparently legendary and an IOE tradition). My son especially loved that.

When the kids were all settled for the night I got to meet and have a talk with Fred (CEO) and Belinda, who is the IOE General Manager. They were both lovely down to earth people who made me feel very welcome.

The next morning after breakfast Fred had arranged a huge Easter egg hunt for the kids. They all LOVED it … more so the chocolate!

After that families started to pack up and leave at their own pace. We left at around 11am.

My overall thoughts and experiences of the weekend were really positive. It was so nice to be around other families who face our daily battles. We never once felt out of place or that we were being a nuisance or bothering anyone. It was a very comfortable atmosphere and we would definitely love to go on another IOE Family Camp.

Rebecca Halls – parent