26 teens ventured to The Summit Campsite for a weekend of conquering fears, pushing comfort zones and having fun at the Very Special Kids Adolescent Siblings Weekend.
Over two nights and two days the group showed incredible courage as they tackled a full adventure program including a giant swing, high wires and the Snowy River Challenge.
Saturday evening saw face paints and glow sticks donned for the Monster Course championship, with the side showing the best team-work taking the win. The night closed with a powerful candlelight reflection meeting, tapping into the amazing strength and resilience of the teenagers in attendance.
On Sunday the camp drew to a close but not before the group cut loose and let their creative expression flow in a workshop run by hip-hop artists Rex and Gabz from the community group Massive Family.
From 27 February to the 1 March, five beautiful girls came together for the first ever all female Mates Weekend at Very Special Kids Hospice.
Activities included cafe outings, manicure sessions, card games and a fabulous rendition of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’ with the hospice Music Therapist, Amy.
The highlight of the weekend was Saturday evening when professional hair and makeup artists visited the hospice and prepared the girls for a catwalk and fashion shoot.
Mates Weekend coordinator Marci Katz said the girls enjoyed the pampering.
“Everyone looked incredibly glamorous, even Taylor Swift herself would have been impressed!” she said.
Mates Weekends are designed to bring together children who have high cognitive ability and are facing similar physical challenges. The next weekend will be for boys, from 8 to the 10 May.
Very Special Kids Hospice also runs Mates on the Move Weekends for children that are very mobile and have developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Families were treated to a weekend of Caribbean-themed fun at the twice-yearly Lord Somers Camp in Somers Victoria, including pirate activities and latin dancing classes.
It was a chance for 18 families, 38 adults and 50 kids, to get away from everyday challenges and enjoy themselves. Children were minded by a group of 100 volunteers as they participated in crafts, games, paddle board lessons and catamaran boat rides, while parents were able to relax in a dedicated retreat with osteopathy, massages and beautician services, or enjoy cheese and wine tasting.
Highlights of the weekend include a visit from the fire brigade who let their water hoses loose on the volunteers, and motorbike rides for everyone from the Dandenong Harley Owners Group.
Generous donations to Very Special Kids were given by the Dandenong Harley Owners Group and BOUNCE Essendon Fields. The Bay Quilters also donated hand-made quilts to every family.
The weekend was made possible by Lord Somers Camp and enables families cared for by Very Special Kids to have a weekend away, and make connections with other families in a similar situation.