- 22 camps held across Australia annually
- 45 high schools and one university funded annually
- Over 850 students act as companions each year
- Over 550 children with special needs attend the camps annually
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Since 1999, The Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camp Program has given Year 11 and 12 students the opportunity to care for a child with special needs over a four-day period in what is a unique and life-changing experience for all involved. Each camp is provided free of charge for the participants and the majority of the camps run in the September and December school holidays.
The students, supported by a team of dedicated teaching and medical staff, are responsible for the care of the children for 24 hours a day over the course of the camp. They quickly learn about the challenges and demands involved in caring for a child with special needs. Not only do the students have an enriching experience, but the children are treated to a weekend full of activities and interactions they would not normally have the opportunity to experience. The camps also provide much needed respite for parents, siblings and primary carers in what may be their only break of the year.
The Sony Foundation is committed to expanding the camps further to enable more young people to participate in this life-changing program and hosts a number of fundraising events throughout the year to allow this to occur.
Medical facilities of the highest standard are available at each camp with registered nurses on duty each shift and doctors on call 24 hours a day.
The students who volunteer their time to participate in the camp are aged 16 to 18 and are chosen from the host school as well as neighbouring schools. Many students apply for the position of personal companions and are asked to submit a formal application in order to attend the camp. Students are then interviewed and selected with great care by a panel of staff involved with the camp to assess their suitability. Each companion is a compassionate, dedicated and hard working young adult who considers the experience a privilege and opportunity to learn so much about children with disabilities and themselves.
HOW TO APPLY TO HOST A CAMP
Schools/institutions are required to apply for funding from Sony Foundation for their camp. An application will need to be submitted, detailing the schools who will be involved in their camp, the number of children they intend to involve, timing of the camp etc.
The application will then be reviewed by the relevant people within Sony Foundation. Funding granted is dependent on the number of children attending the camp.
Following approval of the application, the school will be sent a copy of Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camp Manual. The camp team at your school may also meet with Sony Foundation representatives to advise you in the early stages of the planning process.
Click here for an application form for 2012
FOR PARENTS & CAMPERS
1. Suggested items to bring to the camp
Sponge bag/plastic bag marked with name
Swimming costume/towel/sun block
Floats/arm bands etc.
Nappies if necessary for day / night
Underwear x 6 (or as necessary)
T-shirts x 4
Shorts/trousers x 2
Pyjamas x 2
Shoes/trainers/Socks if necessary
Medication labelled with name and dosage
Any special food requirements
Wheelchairs or walking aids
2. Parent Checklist
- Please phone the registrars at the camp to confirm your intention to take up the offer of a place at the camp for your child
- Is the menu suitable for your child? Please indicate when calling if your child has special dietary requirements.
- Have you filled out all the consent forms?
- Has your child’s doctor completed the medication chart?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is there a cost involved with the Camps?
No, Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camps are entirely free, funded by Sony Foundation.
If my child has attended a camp in previous years are they allowed to come again?
This varies from camp to camp but the majority of the camps only allow children to attend their camp once to enable many children to attend over the years. Your child may attend another of Sony Foundation's camps across your state.
Who is responsible for my child while at the camp?
The camp is staffed by registered nurses and senior students from the host school and neighbouring schools. Staff from all schools are involved in running the camp.
Does my child have their own room?
This varies from camp to camp, but your child’s camp can arrange a share room with your child’s carer if preferred.
Do I need to bring special dietary requirements for my child?
Camps can accommodate most dietary requirements but you are welcome to provide these supplies to ensure your child continues with what they are accustomed to. Please make sure you let the camp know of your child’s dietary requirements.
Can I visit my child while they are at camp?
The camp is designed to offer respite to families and independence to children so we do not encourage visitors.
Can I make contact with staff and carers while my child is at camp?
Yes, you can call the Chief of Camp to see how your child is enjoying the camp. You will receive a card with relevant phone numbers to contact the camp at any time. Of course, we would contact you immediately should the need arise.
“Providing care for a child whose wellbeing is dependent upon others is a wonderful experience that can be as life changing for the carer as it is for the recipient of the care” – Margaret Biggs, TIGS Camp Manager
“This was the first time our son had ever stayed away from us. We had accommodation around the corner so we were handy if needed, but we weren’t. We were reduced to tears at the farewell party on the last day. We were so overcome by everybody’s generosity and how happy our child was.” -Parent of a camper
“This is the first time in 13 years of my son’s life that I, as a single mum, have had more than one day’s break and to know that he was having so much fun while I had three day’s rest, is just incredible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” – Parent of a camper
“Exhausting but so rewarding!” – A Year 12 Companion
“Coming into the camp with no previous experience and doing what we did has changed my life dramatically. It’s given me more of an appreciation of how hard it can be for people with a disability and what a fantastic role the parents and carers play.” – 17 year old Camp Companion
“The Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camps turn our boys into men” – St Lawrence College teacher
“The depth of experience and sense of empowerment gained by all involved in the camp program never ceases to amaze me.” – Nicholas Tait, Kormilda College
“Yesterday all I saw was the disability. Now all I see is the person.” – Camp Companion