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Journeys : April May 2009
News briefs I joined Camp Quality in 2006, after seeing a TV advertisement asking for volunteers. Although I’d heard of Camp Quality I wasn’t exactly sure what was involved. After chatting with the guys at the local office and understanding how they help and support children and their families, I realised that doing something as simple as just becoming friends could impact a young person’s life so positively. So, why wouldn’t you want to get involved? After going through the application and interview process, I was accepted as a volunteer, then attended a training camp before being matched with Kayla in 2006, when she was 13 years old. Being a companion to a Camp Quality camper is great fun – I feel very lucky to have met Kayla, who was diagnosed with cancer as a five-year-old. She has been through remission and is now clear, although she still has regular checks. Volunteers have to keep in contact with their campers every couple of months, whether that’s a phone call, visit or outing. I class Kayla as one of my good friends, so keeping in touch is easy! Each January, campers and their companions from all around Tasmania join up for the annual Camp Quality get- together. The Tackers, who are aged up to In camp with the Tackers and Teens Chantelle Harris, an administrative assistant in RACT’s Hobart office, explains why she loves her work as a Camp Quality volunteer. 12, have a three-day camp, while the Teens stay a week. This year we trialled a new camp site at Camp Banksia, Port Sorell. It was a non- stop, fun-filled week, with a variety of things to do and see. We were treated to the Hollybank Treetops Adventure, a thrilling, beautiful and exciting experience for campers and companions alike. Led by guides and strapped into safety harnesses, we glided along cables as long as 371 metres through the treetops above Pipers River. Back at Port Sorell, we enjoyed hip-hop dancers, archery and rides in the local police boat. We tried Laser Skirmish on an amazing new inflatable battlefield and had professional hair and makeup artists to help us get ready for our disco night. This year’s Camp Quality had everything from a massage therapist to helicopter rides – as well as a huge variety of art, craft, sport and beach activities to keep us busy. The week at camp absolutely flies by and each time it gets harder to come home – who wouldn’t want to spend five days hanging out with super-cool kids and sharing awesome activities that we’d probably never experience otherwise? That’s why I love Camp Quality! ‘Her beauty and her terror’ A tragic and humbling summer in the face of natural disaster has reminded us of lessons about our country that our forebears knew well. In her poem ‘My Country’, Dorothea Mackellar wrote of a land of ‘beauty and terror’; a continent of ‘droughts and flooding rains’. Yet still she loved ‘the wide brown land’ ... her ‘sunburnt country’. Now modern Australians have re-learnt this lesson with February’s floods in Queensland and Victoria’s bushfires – the worst natural disaster to befall our nation. The RACT, RACT Insurance, and staff, shared the nation’s profound sense of loss as the full extent of the bushfire devastation unfolded. Long after the last TV crews have packed up and left the firegrounds, the tragedy will live on in personal grief and the struggle of thousands of people who have become refugees in their own country. Yet we have been inspired by the extraordinary courage of those directly affected, and the outpouring of goodwill from other Australians. Events like these define nations, and Australians responded magnificently. For Tasmanians, the loss of over 200 people in the bushfires was particularly poignant, coming as they did 42 years to the day after Tasmania’s own searing 1967 bushfires. At RACT and at RACT Insurance, staff have developed their own programs to raise donations, with both organisations pledging to match the amounts raised by staff, as well as making corporate donations. Dorothea Mackellar knew Australia in all its terrors and tragedies, and she loved it still. The response of Australians to this disaster does great honour to our country and its collective spirit, and the poet’s words inspire us to love this country in all its moods. Yet while the nation moves on, many thousands will struggle to recover. Please remember them, and remain generous in any efforts you can make to assist them in the months and even years ahead. April / May 09 5 The RACT’s Chantelle Harris with her Camp Quality friend Kayla Holmes Camp Quality is a non-profit organisation that is committed to bringing hope and happiness to every child living with cancer, their families and communities through ongoing quality recreational, educational, hospital and financial support programs. If you’re over 20, energetic, fun-loving and would like to do something fantastic for someone special, please consider becoming a Camp Quality Companion. For more information, contact Camp Quality on 6231 5445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
June July 2009
June July 2008