Thirty-five children with special needs recently enjoyed a fun-filled holiday camp at St Joseph’s College.
Year 11 students from St Joseph’s were joined by students from Brigidine College, St Ives and Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich, to care for the children at the Marist-Sony Children’s Holiday Camp. The camp is an annual event that offers children with special needs the opportunity to have an activity-filled, free holiday. It also provides some much needed respite time for the childrens’ families and carers.
This year’s camp was a feast of fun and laughter, featuring a wide range of activities to ensure there was something for everyone to enjoy. Despite forecasts of gloomy weather sunshine prevailed, which gave the children and their student carers plenty of time to enjoy the large crocodile water slide in the pool – a favourite with children of all ages.
A highlight of the camp was a pirate picnic to Cockatoo Island, which saw the children sail the high seas of Sydney Harbour and hunt for treasure.
On site at the College numerous art and craft activities were on offer, as well as some very creative face painting. Paul’s Magic was a hit as were the Harley Davidson rides, the Misty Ridge Animal Farm and the visit from C Platoon from Gladesville Fire Brigade. Parent volunteer barbecues at lunchtime ensured everyone was re-energised to keep going through the afternoon.
Director of Mission at St Joseph’s College, Mrs Helen Smith, said the camp was organised by a dedicated committee of Joeys staff, parents and ex-students, who worked throughout the year to ensure its success. “Special thanks go to Sr Helen Peters for her direction of the nursing staff, Colleen Condon for her coordination of our wonderful parent volunteers, Di Stewart for facilitating student participation, Sharon Hookham for coordinating the activity team (comprising Karina Stambouliah, Anna Nasr, Margaret Borger and Annie Diallo), Fr Andrew Nee for providing pastoral support and Jackson Aldridge (09) for his direction of photography/filming. This year was also the first time staff from the partner schools, Brigidine College, St Ives and Marist Sisters, Woolwich, took part in the camp. Their presence provided wonderful assistance to their students and to our overall supervision of the camp.”
The camp concluded with a Christmas party where our special guests were joined by their families and of course with a visit from Santa Claus (who, beneath his beard and suit, looked and sounded remarkably like Brother Anthony Boyd!). Each guest at the camp received a gift provided by a Joeys family.
Mrs Smith said the camp would not be possible without the generous support of major sponsor, the Sony Foundation, and further donations made by the St Joseph’s College community. “Thanks and recognition must go to the Sony Foundation, the SJC Parents and Friends’ Association, the Gazal Family/Midford Shirts, the Simpson family, the Cohen family and Leichhardt Trophies. In addition, the contribution of Alliance Catering, Spotless Cleaning and the wonderful support and grounds staff of St Joseph’s cannot be underestimated.”
“The camp is vibrant witness to the family spirit that is the trademark of Joeys. This spirit was extended not only to our special guests but also to their families, many of whom receive no other respite throughout the year other than these four days.”
“To all who ensured the dream of camp 2010 became a reality – thank you. It was team-work at its best. It was Marist at its best. It was the message of Christmas alive in our midst,” said Smith.
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