Youth Grants: VCD Magnetic Island Camp

Each year, DCA awards Youth Grants to deaf and hard of hearing young people aiming to pursue a goal or achievement for themselves or for the community. The senior students from Victorian College for the Deaf headed up North to Magnetic Island, off the coast of Townsville, to test their independence and learn new skills. We look forward to bringing you more Youth Grant stories soon.

Victorian College for the Deaf – Senior Years Camp 2016: Magnetic Island

On Sunday 6th November a group of 21 staff and students from the Victorian College for the Deaf departed for their Senior Years camp to Magnetic Island. The students said before the camp, “It will give us the opportunity to experience a once in a life time camp where we can begin to grow and develop as young Deaf people away from our families and learn resilience and independence.

We have chosen this project as it takes us out of our comfort zones. Many of the students have not travelled outside of Victoria, let alone on an aircraft and or ferry. It places us students in a situation that is unlike any other where we are responsible for the impact on society and the environment as well as having to stand up and begin to do for ourselves. Many of us are used to having Mum and Dad help us, communicate for us or fix our mistakes. This is an opportunity, with the help of our teachers, where we can learn to do for ourselves and achieve success.”

Setting off

We met at the airport; for some it was their first adventure on a plane, and departed on a Jetstar flight bound for Townsville. Our journey continued as we transferred to a ferry for the night crossing to Magnetic Island. After a short bus ride, we arrived at our ‘home’ for the next 5 days. We left a cold, wet and windy Melbourne and even though it was night, we arrived on Magnetic Island being welcomed by the warmth of an island hide-away.

Our goals for the camp were to become more independent young people. We lived in cabins and shared space and looked out for each other. We participated in a variety of activities such as swimming in Horseshoe Bay, hiking around the southern coastline, relaxing in the pool, taking a guided snorkelling tour in Geoffrey Bay, experimenting with our snorkelling gear in Alma Bay, attending the Remembrance Service in Arcadia and attending the cane toad races in Arcadia Village.

Over the course of the week we faced and overcame many challenges, worked as a team, organised and catered for the group meals, managed our finances, became more independent and grew into confident young adults. So as Friday came around we reluctantly packed our bags, had a final dip in the pool and boarded the bus and started out long journey back home to Melbourne. For many of the students this was their final step in completing their schooling at VCD. The students grew, took on responsibilities, challenged and supported each other.

Below are a few comments made by individual students on their experience at Magnetic Island.

“What I loved about camp was spending time with my classmates one last time and it was an unforgettable experience. The camp wouldn’t have happened without DCA’s donation to us so thank you.”Kim Saed, Year 12 VCD School Captain 2016.

“Magnetic Island is really beautiful, I had so much fun there and learned new skills as snorkelling. We all teamwork, helped each other and everything went well.” – Brielle Franze Year 12

“Magnetic Island camp was really great. I learned lots of new things.” – Peter Wilms Year 10

I really enjoyed the camp, it was so much fun a great time to catch up with school since been working around the clock at work. The best part in Magnetic Island was snorkelling, I disliked the snorkelling mask so I bought myself goggles to go in the water better. The thing I hated was leaving Magnetic Island. Everything was fun. I would recommend others to go to this camp as well.” -Matthew Surtees Year 12 VCD School Captain 2016

“I went to Magnetic Island Queensland. It was AMAZING!!! We went on the Jetstar aeroplane. I liked swimming at the pool and at the beach. It was fun to swim with Jack. I went swimming with Angela and I saw a fish. Lisa and Angela were teaching me how to swim – I went under the water and I snorkelled too. I went out for dinner at a restaurant and I went on a ferry, it was good. The camp was awesome!! We had loads of fun.” – Justine Boughdady Year 11

See a collage put together by the VCD students of their trip below!

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