As the sun was fading over the Narrabeen Lake, some 40 children and their families arrived at Narrabeen Sport and Rec Camp Site for our Resilience Camp. The camp program was designed to support children to develop the building blocks for resilience, and space for parents to share their stories and their hopes for their parenting and their children. Many parents saw their children try new things, make new friends, and they themselves made new connections.
For many, it was also an opportunity to feel a sense of belonging and solidarity, to be authentic and be able to share some of the challenges of parenting, our fears and our hopes for our families. And to be with community.
It was nice to spend time together as a family, and it was nice to also spend time together with our community. - Parent feedback
Children and Parent Resilience Workshops
This year our wonderful CoChair Vanessa Gonzalez ran resilience workshops for parents and children. In small groups parents were able to share their challenges, and secrets to success, as well as their feelings about coming to camp. In the kids workshops, the group worked together to identify resilience skills, and tools to implement to be able to bounce back.
Those that attended have reported that it felt safe, supportive and a much-needed event.
We don’t live in the Inner West, it can feel isolating where we are as not a huge active Rainbow community here. As a parent, it was also nice to just have time to talk to other parents without the pressures of rushing around/school/work/ etc etc we could take time to get to know one another. - Parent feedback
Many parents spoke about sometimes feeling invisible as rainbow parents, or judged, alone, or about the weight of upholding a reputation as a perfect parent in the face of some discrimination. Many spoke about feeling they could be themselves at camp.
Best part was as we were leaving camp and my son telling me how families come in all sorts of ways, 2 mums, 2 dads, 2 mums and 2 dads, 1 mum, 1 dad; however, they are all families! - Parent feedback
There were 24 family groups which reflected our vibrantly diverse community including one trans and gender diverse-parented family, many single-parented families, 1 co-parented family, a nice mix of lesbian mums, gay dads and bi+ parents. Families travelled from various locations including from Inner West, Eastern Suburbs and outer Sydney as well as regional NSW. There was also a wide age range of children which ranged from 4 month to 12 years old
The kids really loved it all, this was their first rainbow Families experience as we are from the country, and a newly rainbow family. The camp brought up list of questions from the kids and we had the time and space to answer them. Our family was normalized in a way we just can't do in our country community. - Parent feedback
Children had the opportunity to participate in a packed program.
The camp was a technology free space, and during the small times of free time there were spontaneous games of soccer, Uno, colouring-in, making friendship bracelets, and tip in the dark.
My daughter loved all of the outdoor activities - canoeing, archery, swimming, cricket, scooting. My daughter enjoyed making new friends with the other kids at the camp. It was great to see her with new kids connecting, and having fun.
My children loved meeting lots of different kids from different families. Loved all the sports activities and freedom to be able to run around independently. – Parent feedback
Contribution from Lush
Lush made a generous contribution towards the camp. This year we used this money to pay for a number of families that would not otherwise have had the opportunity to go to camp. We also offered discount places to families on low incomes. Around half of the attendees were at camp because of the contribution from Lush. These families were extremely grateful for the opportunity to come to camp.
We received free tickets and this helped us a lot. We wouldn't have been able to come along otherwise. My kids and I attended last year's camp and I really wanted my partner to come this time as she feels very disconnected from the Rainbow community. So having the opportunity for us to attend for her benefit was absolutely amazing. She walked away meeting new friends and making new connections and thoroughly enjoyed her time.
Our places were fully funded. Without this we couldn't have gone to camp.
Camp 2021 -
We are already planning next year's camp and hope to see you there.