Over the school holidays we had the opportunity to join three young carers as they travelled out to Lake Burrendong for this year’s Young Carer Camp.
Charlie, Bailey, and Chris met at last year’s camp and judging by the laughter emanating from the back of the car, they were pretty excited to meet up again. The three have stayed in contact since the last camp, and were looking forward to a few days break, hanging out with their mates, riding mountain bikes, swimming and kayaking.
In all, nineteen young carers were attending the camp, an even split of boys and girls, their ages ranging from ten to sixteen. Some had attended last year, and some were new to Carer Camps, but all were looking forward to three days of fun outdoor activities and more importantly, the opportunity to meet or re connect with other young people who are also carers. Young people they don’t need to explain their situation to because they just get it.
Organised by our specialist Young Carer Support Planner Stacey Henley, the camps offer young carers the chance to have a break from their day-to-day responsibilities. Stacey, who was thrilled to be welcoming the young carers as they arrived at Lake Burrendong explained:
“Young carer camps are about friendship, connecting with other kids who understand the caring role, having a break and having fun! “
“It’s lovely to see the kids who attended last year reunited, and to see the friendship they have formed since meeting at our first young carer camp.”
During lunch we caught up with a group of young carers who had just arrived, and whether they were first timers or old hands, the vote seemed unanimous – young carer camps really are great fun!
In the words of camp newcomer, Jessie:
“It’s fun, I’ve made some new friends (already)…I’m just really glad to be here!”
As lunches were finished, and plates packed away, there was a definite buzz in the air. Word went around that the first activity of the afternoon was going to be kayaking, and we watched on as the slow trickle of young people heading down to the cabins to get ready swiftly grew into a stampede.
Young Carer Camp 2022 had begun.
If you’re one of Australia’s 2.7 million unpaid carers, you can access practical advice and support by contacting Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.