Mittagundi Winter Camp: “I was feeling ready for a new challenge”

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Alana

    DCA Recreation was thrilled to take a group of six young deaf and hard of hearing people on an exciting adventure at Mittagundi Winter Camp where they challenged themselves in new ways.

    This seven day camp in July was the first partnership program for Mittagundi Outdoor Education Centre with Deaf Children Australia. The main purpose of Mittagundi is to provide programs for young people to explore Victoria’s high country and themselves.

    Our group blended in with other groups of young people who were all challenged to experience life without modern gadgets, makeup, or electricity. They contributed to daily life on the farm with tasks like chopping wood and gardening, and challenged themselves through new experiences. They hiked through the alpine landscape, skied the High Plains and camped in tents in the snow, using a hut for cooking, eating and chatting with new and old friends.

    On the journey home, the group shared their thoughts on the camp and what they had valued most:

    Sara: “Before camp, I was feeling ready for a new challenge. I was feeling nervous meeting new people. When we arrived, I felt confident mixing with other hearing people as well. After, I felt I had a lot of experience and responsibility. I learned how to respect people and what their interests are.”

    Jerome: “For the whole period, it was excellent, it was enjoyable, it was fun. At first, we were a bit unsure of people. After a few days, we get to know everyone, conversation starts flowing, you start chatting more. I also wasn’t used to that experience. I am pretty sure we will stay connected through email and Facebook… We travelled out, we worked on the farm, we stayed for two days in the tents in the snow. It was freezing! It was fun having snowball fights. You best come next year. It was fantastic!”

    Matthew: “Before camp, I envisaged the hearing people wouldn’t bother with learning Auslan but all of them learnt. I was in awe. All learning, wow! We got along well. And after the camp, our communication was great.”

    Sara: “I feel like they are all family after the camp. I really connected with them. The week went quick. It should have been a month, possibly a year.”

    Volunteer communication support worker Ramas then expressed how he felt about their ability to work together as a team and grow from the experience: “I want to say thank you for being involved as a group. From start to finish, we have seen a big change and we just want to say congratulations to all. You always helped your friends. If anything happened, if anyone was lost, you helped them through it. Now you are like young men and young women. You have changed. You have been very supportive of each other – and there are a lot of people who are very, very happy.

    “So you may think these are very small things but they will impact on your life going forward. We can see the impact that it’s had on you and the value of it. You never digressed from what you were there to do. You’re great. Thank you very much. I am very proud of you all.”

    View the fantastic video created by Ramas.

    We hope this will become an annual event so please contact us if you would like to be on the waiting list for 2017 by emailing dca.recreation@deafchildren.org.au.

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