“I like meeting deaf people who are similar to me”
DCA just hosted a family camp in Gippsland. There were loads of fun activities, creating opportunities for the children to make new friends, and for the whole family to take some time out. The kids loved the adrenaline activities like the climbing wall, giant swing and flying fox across the lake – and there were lots of squeals of excitement as they flew through the sky. Eight year old Amaya had been practising flying in the lead up to the camp and was actually flapping her arms on the giant swing!
For parents / caregivers, the camp was a great way to connect with other families and share experiences. They had a chance to discuss early intervention services, schools and other supports – and everyone said they were coming away with new perspectives and important new connections. What makes the camps really special is the supportive environment created by everyone involved – the children, the parents, and the dedicated volunteers and staff.
Ruth came to camp with her husband Rhys and children Christian (5), Gracie (3) and Emily-Rose (8 months). As she watched Christian confidently take on the climbing wall, Ruth told us, “We feel very blessed to participate in such amazing camp. It’s a tribute to DCA. I feel like the way deaf children can connect with other deaf children – and parents can connect with other parents – gives us insider knowledge. We have been able to learn from the experiences of all the children who are older than Christian.”
Micky and Warren said, “Camp is so much fun for the kids and this was our second DCA camp so the kids were so excited about coming, and we were too. James told us he wanted to make more friends on camp. We appreciate how important it is for our son James (6 years) to meet with other kids who have a hearing loss and it’s been great meeting with other parents. Mia (5 years) is having so much fun with all the kids too. We have reconnected with a family from kinder and got to know a family from James’ school. We will cherish these memories forever.”
Russell explained, “It’s important that parents try to maintain the connections we’ve formed on camp because other parents are a great source of knowledge. If we work together, we have strength in numbers. For our son Ewan (8 years), it’s always a good experience meeting other deaf kids, learning more Auslan and being part of Deaf culture.” Ewan added, “I’ve been making new friends on camp. Thanks to DCA for running the fun camps and having super cool activities – I can’t wait for another one.”
Eleven year old Harley explained how he felt before camp, “I was very excited that a couple of my friends from school were coming and I was looking forward to the giant swing, and the flying fox going out over the lake. I have enjoyed exploring around the camp because I will be coming back for Grade 6 camp. I like meeting deaf people who are similar to me and it makes me feel great making fun new friends.”
Thanks to everyone who posted lovely comments on Facebook too:
Steph: “Thank you DCA for organising such an amazing weekend away. The activities and information sessions were fantastic!” Lawrence: “Thank you DCA, it was a great weekend and we met so many wonderful people.”
Micky: “Thank you DCA, you organised a fantastic camp. What a great organisation!!”
Jess: “Thank you for the opportunity to come along. We had a fantastic time.”
The Family Camp was available to Victorian families at no cost through the generous support of the Department of Education and Training Victoria.