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HeartKids

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teen Camp 2021

In December 2021, 15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teens from around the country gathered on Gubbi Gubbi Country (Queensland's Sunshine Coast) for a weekend of fun, adventure and friendship.

This camp was designed to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teens with heart conditions an opportunity to connect with other young people with similar conditions. Campers and volunteers travelled from all over Australia to the Sunshine Coast, including from very remote communities.

Camp activities provided an opportunity for them to explore culture and identity, whilst building confidence, independence and knowledge surrounding their physical and mental health.

What happened at camp?

Campers participated in a range of physical, cultural and health-related activities. The activities provided opportunities for campers to gain confidence and independence, and feel connected to others and their culture. 

Activities included ochre painting, surfing, standup paddleboarding, a high ropes course, a music night, and more.

Check out some of the action in the wrap-up video!

What were the highlights?

Highlights from camp include:

  • Campers participating in vital health education, e.g. learning how to check and control their INR using a Coagucheck, with one camper taking one home as this was something she did not have access to
  • Half the campers seeing the ocean for the first time, and all trying (and succeeding at!) surfing and paddle boarding
  • The friendships established between the campers, formed through supporting each other in the physical activities, sharing their individual heart health journeys and as a product of the laughs and joy of being on camp
  • The life skills and confidence gained by campers, especially those travelling from remote communities, including navigating airports and flights, catching Ubers, meeting new people from varying backgrounds, being away from family and friends and the independence that this brings.

What did attendees say about camp?

Campers

  • ‘All heart kids should go to camp because it’s deadly!’
  • ‘Go on camp because it’s really good and you will make friends.’
  • ‘Come on camp and meet with kids with heart conditions, make new friends, listen to others tell their story.’
  • ‘It was great. Make the camp longer!’
  • ‘It was the best thing I’ve done in my life.’

Volunteers

  • ‘It was a fantastic experience; I would love to volunteer again.’
  • ‘My favourite part of camp was seeing the kids encouraging each other and laughing and smiling and trying new things.’
  • ‘So many laughs and I have never seen them smile so much. I am so proud of them all.’

Parents

  • ‘Everyone in community was very excited for my child, she would like to attend again! Meeting other young people and making new friends was the best part.’
  • ‘It was a fantastic experience for my child because they had the chance to try things they have never tried before. Also, the ability to do these things around people who were aware of their condition. My child felt safe. They had an amazing time.’

100% of campers indicated that they would like to attend another HeartKids camp in the future.

Thank you to our volunteers

The success of the camp can be attributed to the voluntary support we received from nine individuals with experience in nursing, cardiac care, Indigenous health and youth work. Overwhelmingly, all volunteers felt the camp was a wonderful experience. 

HeartKids is incredibly grateful for their time, compassion and leadership.

Are there more teen activities coming up?

We are planning lots more events for teens in 2022. Check out our Teen Camp and Events page for the latest updates!

31 March 2022
Category: News
Tags: aboriginal and torres strait islander, teen camp, teens,
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