At the start of September holidays, we were lucky enough to attend the 2020 Sony Camp with ten other amazing Year 11 Glennie girls. Accompanied by dedicated Glennie staff, Mrs Waters and Mrs Sullivan, as well as staff and students from Fairholme College and Toowoomba Grammar School. Sony camp is a weekend aimed at providing an enjoyable experience for children with a disability. Students are paired together to care for a child for three days. The three days were filled with constant laughter and fun while participating in a range of different activities from swimming to painting.
Tuesday before camp was cause for much excitement as we, the companions, finally were able to meet our guest. In previous years this would consist of visiting their school but sadly due to COVID-19, this had to take place over a Zoom call. After talking to our guest and their teachers, it was obvious we couldn’t wait for the weekend.
Friday night before Sony Camp, the Year 12s who had previously attended the camp, organised a BBQ and activities to provide a necessary ice breaker with our fellow companions. This was successful in making sure everyone felt comfortable to reach out for help, ensuring a fun and safe weekend for the kids.
We arrived bright and early for the kicking off of the camp, buzzing with excitement. Once briefed, we all headed down to the car park to eagerly await the arrival of our guest. The morning consisted of free time in the junior school, which for some people meant non-stop running. This was followed by a range of activities in the afternoon, including the much-anticipated swimming, arts and crafts in the pavilion, buggy rides and kicking the ball around. A favourite of most the kids was a special helicopter visit at the end of the day. The next day was filled with similar activities. However, we spent most of the time jumping between our guest’s favourite activities, including painting, occasionally on the canvas but mostly on us, dancing, cheering and showing off her bold character by confidently talking and singing on the microphone. One of our fondest memories, although tiring at times, was sitting in the stationary buggie and continually pretending to be run over by our guest’s crazy ‘driving’.
The last day, show day was filled with endless smiles and much excitement surrounding the new activities, including travelling on the train, spinning in the teacups and riding the ponies. As the camp came to an end, although we were overcome with sadness to part with our new friends, we were reassured by their obvious happiness throughout the weekend.
Overall, when pushing through the patches of exhaustion during certain activities, it gave us full appreciation for not only a good night’s sleep, as the camp was not overnight due to COVID-19, but to the parents who are dedicated to the constant care of their children. The three days of the camp, although not without its challenges, were filled with lots of laughter, fun and the building of rewarding friendships. The weekend provided an opportunity for the parents of the children to have a rare and sought after break. Sony Camp is definitely a worthwhile experience, as you not only learn skills applicable to all areas of life but provide a chance for the children to just have a good time. Ultimately, our experience at Sony Camp really highlighted the importance of appreciation, understanding, acceptance and respect of difference in our community.
Nell Hanly and Gracie O’Shea
On behalf of: Sandra Miller, Holly Willmington, Apoorva Abeysundera, Olivia Taylor, Kari Donaldson, Abbey Holley, Lily Rowe, Lucy Nicholls, Shakita Foster and Josephine Crothers
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