Heard about it? Maybe.
But do you actually know what is it? Yes, it is a camp with challenges but any further information? No? Ok.
The challenge camp is a camp for the IYE students to spend a week with a person who has a disability. This year, we, the IYE’s, went to Long Bay to not only meet up with the other exchange students again but also to learn more about ourselves and others whose lives are different to ours.
On the 1st of May, we all arrived, said hello and after a brief introduction what these 5 days are about, we met our campers which are the people we have to look after. Every single one of the campers was different; one could not see, one could barely walk, one was insecure about everything he did, etc. The reason for this is so we (the IYE’s) can figure out the best way to look after them by ourselves instead of one person figuring it out and then telling the others what to do. Most of the campers were looked after by 2 IYE’s, in order to have each other in case there is a problem.
After we meet our campers, we went straight to our first activity: Race to base; using a GPS to find places to solve challenges which were diversified like taking a photo of helping someone, hiding somewhere, creating a specific figure, throwing 5 balls in a row in a basket, etc.
Afterwards, we had a guest speaker and then dinner which was followed by having some free time.
On the second day we went to the Marine centre to do 3 challenges: abseiling, building a raft and stack’m which is an activity where you have to stack boxes while climbing up. Every single one of the campers gave all 3 activities a go which was awesome and great fun. Afterwards, we had our first sign language lesson and a guest speaker.
On Wednesday, we were off to the Treeadventures. The challenge here was to support and comfort the campers enough so they would actually do it as most of them were afraid of heights. Again, all campers could do at least one track, even Jewel who spends most of the time in a wheelchair, was able to do the flying fox. After lunch we had another lesson of sign language and then we all started preparing our concert for the following night.
On Thursday, we started our day with drawing a picture. We were in small groups and every group got a picture to draw. At the end we combine these drawing to have one big one then. To make it all fit together, we needed to work with the other groups, deciding colours, what goes where, etc. We then had an amazing guest speaker called Lee Warn who inspired every single one of us with his story and how he never gave up. We then had some circability which was great fun as well. It was a good activity for our campers and ourselves. Afterwards, we had some time to do the final concert preparation because people were arriving at about 6:30/7pm to see the show where we had singers, dancers, plays, athletes, etc. All in all, it was great success and, more important, fun! We all were so proud of our campers for being brave enough to perform.
On Friday, unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to each other because it was the last day of the camp. We all took some group photos and got our certificates.
After all, we had an amazing week that made us appreciate our lives more. We learnt a lot about disabled people’s lives and ourselves. In spite of some difficulties and challenges, every single one of us loves this week and is grateful for being able to be part of such an amazing camp.