Tye Recreation Fund: Sunshine College Deaf Camp

In 2016, DCA was pleased to support Sunshine College in funding part of their Deaf Facility Camp through the Tye Recreation Fund. The students spent four days in Gippsland, exploring their independence and their identities as young deaf and hard of hearing people.

The Tye Recreation Fund funds recreation and respite activities for young people who are deaf, blind, or deafblind. For more about the Tye Recreation Fund and how to apply, see our Grants and Scholarships page. The following report was submitted to us afterwards: 

Cuddling up to horses on the farm

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Tye Recreation Fund for supporting our Deaf Students and allowing all of them to participate in our end of year camp at Coonawarra Farm Resort in Gippsland. Our students thoroughly enjoyed it and are now looking forward to our next camp.

Sunshine College Deaf Cultural Experience

Our camp was designed for Deaf and Hearing Impaired students.  It was located in a rural setting at Coonawarra Farm Resort in East Gippsland.  This camp provided our Deaf students with opportunities to meet other Deaf role models as well as experiencing life on a farm run by a Deaf family at Busch Organics.

Project objectives

  • This Deaf cultural experience was designed for the students to express themselves in a Deaf environment away from home.
  • This camp gave students a sense of identity in the Deaf Community whilst experiencing life on a farm run by a Deaf family.
  • Our students developed a sense of group bonding and dynamic learning through conversational interaction with people who are native Auslan users.

Our students developed a sense of belonging within the Deaf Facility and Deaf Community.

  • Our students developed leadership skills and experience through unique activities such as farm visit, ropes course, flying fox, raft building, giant swing & canoeing with qualified instructors.
  • Our students met and interacted with other Deaf adults and young people who present as positive role models from the region. These role models were language models and gave students a sense of cultural inclusion which impacts on their sense of pride and identity.
  • Our students had new life experiences such as visiting 90 Mile Beach at Lakes Entrance, picking vegetables on a farm and living away from home. Many of our students had never had the opportunity to experience these activities in the past.
  • Our students developed and learned important independent life skills – mapping, shopping, cooking, cleaning, chores, self-care and foll owing schedules.


  • Our students developed self-confidence and a deeper sense of identity within the Deaf Community
  • Our students developed comradery with other Deaf students and staff
  • Our students developed a sense of Deaf pride
  • Our students developed leadership and independence .

Geographical scope and timelines

­The camp was a four day camp December 12th – 15th, 2016 located in East Gippsland.  We stayed at Coonawarra Farm Resort in Glenaladale and made day trips to Busch Organics vegetable farm in Lindenow, and to 90 Mile Beach at Lakes Entrance.

Coonawarra is a fully functioning farm

Who and how many people benefitted from this project

  • Sunshine is a low socio economic area & our students require extra financial assistance to access camps and other extra curricula activities.
  • This was our second Deaf Facility Camp and it was a great success. This camp was extended from 3 to 4 days which meant an extra night’s accommodation cost.
  • At Coonawarra Farm Resort they offer outdoor activities which required their specially trained staff to attend. Their staff enjoyed interacting with our Deaf students and were able to adjust their communication to suit their needs.
  • We were a self-catering group which meant that we provided meals for our students. They had an opportunity to apply their cooking and food preparation skills.
  • Due to our larger ratio of students to staff, it was convenient to have the funding to cover the cost extra staff.
  • We had 10 students from year 7-12 who attended our Deaf Facility Camp last year.
  • We had 3 interpreters and 3 Teachers of the Deaf who work full time and part time who attended this camp.
  • While at camp, we visited a farm, Busch Organics which is run by a Deaf family. Our interpreter Damien Busch is the son of this Deaf family. Most of the workers on this farm are able to communicate using Auslan. Our students were able to see that Deafness is not a barrier in being successful.
  • Due to our low number of students, it is often difficult to run fundraising activities which will produce a significant amount of money to cover costs of a camp. It was greatly appreciated to have the funding from The Tye Recreational Fund to assist us.

Thank you again for your support, without it our students’ experiences of their world would be limited.

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