Right across Australia, the Sony Foundation’s Children’s Holiday Camps bring together children with disabilities and carers from mainstream high schools.  

Story Kirsty McKenzie

Townsville Grammar School year 12 student Pip Dowling describes being a Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camp student carer as the toughest, but most rewarding, 3 days of her young life. Last September, Pip was one of 80 students in her year who volunteered to spend the first 3 days of the school holidays to help with the annual camp, which invites about 36 children with disabilities to spend 3 days and 2 nights at the school. 

For many of the campers, it’s their first time away from home, so it’s a huge leap of faith for them and their parents to trust the school’s staff and students to provide the necessary high level of care. For the student carers, it’s usually their first taste of caring for someone who is totally dependent on others for everything from eating and toileting to dressing and entertainment. It’s a chance to observe up close a very tough life, not to mention cope with the sleep deprivation that goes with any school camp multiplied by the level of 24/7 care that comes with caring for children with disability. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #149

Outback Magazine: June/July 2023