The ICPA Sports Camp committee converged in Clermont in August to await the arrival of the 134 children aged from Year 4 through to Year 7 participating in this year’s five day camp.
Despite the overnight temperature giving the children a frosty welcome there was little that could dispel the genuine enthusiasm and excitement from the children, carers and sporting coaches.
While Sport might be the main attraction on the agenda the committee also ensure they provides lots of opportunities for the children to socialise with children outside of their school/area and ensure they are well entertained with a disco and movie night throughout the week.
Camp Coordinater Graham Garside has turned over many calendar years since his own children were amongst the crowd of students participating however, alongside his wife Kerry he continues to turn up year after year as Camp Coordinator and Carer respectively.
Both are humble about their contributions but it’s clear by the respect and admiration shown to them both by the other volunteers and more importantly from the children that their experience and wealth of knowledge about all things Sports Camp is invaluable.
Living and working on the land while raising three children Graham and Kerry know first hand the enjoyment and benefit bush kids gain from the week away and believe the camp provides the children with important life lessons that enable their transition to boarding school situations easier on the whole family.
This year the committee recognized the hardships experienced by the Clarke Creek students who were affected by Cyclone Debbie and were able to offer the students a subsidy to ensure their attendance.
“We all take our hats off to those people … I think it is just a fantastic opportunity for these kids and the parents to book out for a while and start thinking of other things,” Mr Garside said/
This year saw a record number of student attendances with nominations peaking at 136 children.
Like Graham and Kerry, Fred and Julie Kleier have been involved with the camp committee for many years and ironically they too have stuck around to continue to help long after their own children have headed off to secondary education putting their names to the kitchen coordinators for the week – a hefty task given there are so many mouths to feed.
The couple alongside a band of up to 12 volunteers map out and carefully schedule the meals for the entire week to ensure that every meal runs smoothly.
“We have to consider food allergies and intolerances as well as just time management and making sure we are always one step ahead,” Mrs Kleier said.
The shopping list for the week includes over 1000 eggs, 40 kilos of sausages, chicken and steak, 60 litres of ice cream, and 200 bottles of milk, with pasta and self saucing pudding rating highly as the children’s favourite meals.
And once the final lunch is devoured, 136 swags are rolled and the children are packed up and sent home the committee take the time to lament on the achievement of the year and look to begin planning the next.
“Everyone just loves it you know. The carers love it. The committee love it. The coaches definitely love it. And most importantly the kids – they just get so much from it. They go home just so enriched from the experience”, Mr Garside said.