This program is partly wound down now as we take future directions - see news article November 2015.
In 2004 we started out running several week long holiday programs per year when there was nothing else in the community. By 2005 we were providing 8 weeks a year of volunteer holiday programs. However now there are other facilities and staff in the community so the physical need for activities is not so great but we still offer something quite different and we continue our strong relationship with the community through twice yearly programs where we try to do some really different things for the kids.
Since 2005 we have had the support of a small grant from DETA (formerly DEEWR) which funds transport and equipment and consumables whilst all the labour and staff are provided by volunteers allowing us to make a little go a long way.
We generally ran a program of activities including crafts, sports, singing and stories as well as education and health promotion. We also went beyond our funding requirements and some teams provided night time activities, concerts, community BBQ's, weekend sports, assist with community activities and participate in and assist with community church activities – for example a Carols & Corroborree by candlelight in December. We ran our programs from a community space and have become a very much accepted part of the community.
We also aimed to provide some nutrition for the kids in the program by providing a healthy breakfast and morning tea and often providing nutrition education and activities. At times, night time BBQ's and cooking activities were also offered. We also take kids into the Community Demonstration Garden we run and teach them about growing and healthy eating.
Whilst we have been running a vacation care program, our aims are much broader. We aim to share the love, hope and purpose we believe Jesus brings and to generously serve this community with our whole hearts as we believe God asks us to do. We also look for ways to build up the children, show them how special they are, teach them values and knowledge such as self-respect, respecting others, health and hygiene, relationships, family and community values and we also place an emphasis on the importance of education and school attendance for these children to be the future leaders of their community. In 2014 we had our first full time live in team leader who had started out as a young child in our programs and was now on team as a leader and a role model. We have lots of other young people drop by and help out who used to come when they are younger and hopefully there will be many more leaders to come.
We still do trips to Kowanyama but they are more focused on community work and mentoring. We do occasionally run holiday activities in collaboration with other providers but this is less of a focus of our charity now. (see News- November 2015)
If you were interested in volunteering on one of these trips – click ACT