Camp Yarramundi recently welcomed over 120 children and young people with neurodiverse conditions for The Sensory Gym’s® Camp Jabiru 2023, making it another successful week at the camp.
The camp offers a unique experience for children that combines typical camp activities with therapeutic intervention to promote individual and group success. With physical and social challenges, the rewards of a successful week at camp are plentiful, including increased self-confidence, better organisation, personal accountability, and social skills.
Parents of Camp Jabiru participants were delighted wit the impact this camp had on their kids. As it is such a special experience that supports and empowers neurodiverse children in many different ways, we thought we'd share some of the insightful feedback we recieved.
One parent wrote:
"As a parent, I cannot recommend this camp enough! Our son has been attending for six years now and it has had such a positive impact on him. He is such a happy boy, and the camp brings out the best in him - he is always trying new things with enthusiasm which is a positive change we have seen. We've noticed that his motor skills have improved after each camp, and even his speech has shown some development. We believe this is because of the supportive and communicative environment the camp provides.
Our son is more social at camp than in his day-to-day life, which has been wonderful to see. His favourite part of the camp is the zipwire and the end-of-day activities where he gets to be part of something. This has given him a sense of belonging, which is so important.
When he was younger, he had a lot of anxiety and fear around trying new things. Since coming here, that has improved slowly – he doesn’t have that same fear. The camp and the coordinators provide that support that helps the children to break through barriers and because of that, he is more willing to try new things.
We initially tried the camp on the recommendation of people from the sensory gym. Initially we sent him for just a day trip, and he has loved it ever since. Since then, we have recommended this camp to countless parents.
We live out in Port Macquarie, so we use it as a little vacation while he is at camp, we stay in the area together and explore. We are so grateful for the impact this camp has had on our son and our family."
While another parent stated:
"I cannot express enough how much my son has enjoyed attending the camp. The acceptance that he feels when he comes here is something that he loves and looks forward to every year. In the outside world, he has all these expectations to meet, but when he comes to camp, it’s a safe space where he can just be himself and enjoy all the activities that he misses out on in a normal environment. It's a place where he receives a lot of support, which is invaluable to us.
The guides of the OT’s occupational therapists and the instructors are exceptional in their role. They model how to support other kids, which is especially important for my son, who has ADHD. With his fast body and mind, the obstacles at camp require him to stop and think and do it with others, and the instructor’s model that behaviour. It has really benefited him over the years, and I cannot thank the camp staff enough for their dedication to making sure that every child feels supported and included.
As a parent, it's great knowing that your child is somewhere safe and enjoying themselves. It's also great for our family to step back and take a breath and know that he is safe. We can relax and enjoy some time with our other child who has additional needs. It’s a great break for us all. We were at a point where we really needed respite, and after talking to other parents and seeing so much positivity around the camp and the sensory gym, we decided to give it a try.
Since the first camp, we haven’t stopped. I hold my breath for a couple of months to see that he has gotten his spot, and I know how much he enjoys it because when we get home, he has a meltdown and wants to come back another year. For me, that means he had a great time.
One of the things that have benefited my son the most is the ability to be a positive leader and find the skills to self-regulate.
As he gets older, he doesn't really want to be guided by mum and dad, and he needs other mentors and leaders who have built safe connections with him, who value him as a person and can give him those ideas or show him. There's never been anything negative to say about the camp, not even about the food or instructors. The people who run the camp are incredibly dedicated to making sure that every child has a great experience. They create an environment where kids can feel accepted and supported, and where they can explore their interests and abilities.
Overall, I cannot recommend the camp enough. The experiences that my son has had have been invaluable, and I know that he looks forward to attending every year. I cannot thank the camp staff enough for their dedication and commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all children."
We at the Y love hearing these amazing stories from such an important program that helps support so many children and their families!
For more information about Sensory Gym, Camp Jabiru or other services supported by Camp Yarramundi get in touch with our amazing team.
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