It was the best day of my life!
Date: 27 September 2022
Petting zoos, swimming, slides and discos were on the agenda as four Sony Camps were held across Queensland during the recent September school holidays. The camps provide a holiday of a lifetime for children with disability, and much needed free respite for their families.
Sony Camper with disability, Nouri Al Qaso who attended Sony Camp in Toowoomba exclaimed, “this is the best day of my life!” – a sentiment shared by many.
(Click below to watch Seven News Toowoomba story)
Fellow campers Emily, aged 10 and Charlotte, aged 9, are sisters both diagnosed with Down Syndrome non-disjunction 21, resulting in intellectual impairment, hearing impairment, visual impairment and other complex needs. Based in regional Queensland, they were excited to be offered a place on Sony Camp.
Their mother Toni explained, “In Chinchilla, there are very limited opportunities for respite, with many events and programs held in Brisbane, which is too far to travel and becomes expensive when accessing.”
Toni says everyone sells services, but often the social and emotional elements are forgotten and not considered “when you see the social circle expand to include Emily and Charlotte, that is the biggest reward” and programs like Sony Camp provide “an incredible experience, an opportunity to feel loved and included, and a chance to experience enjoyment. Sony Camp is an amazing concept, one thing that people overlook when they give is time, yet it is the most precious as they can never give it back.”
Sony Camp Townsville Grammar celebrated their fifth anniversary this year. Remarkably, for 10 of the children with disability that attended, it was their first time ever to spend a night away from home.
Griffin Robertson, aged 13 with Cerebral Palsy was one of the campers who attended Sony Camp for the first time and said, “Sony Camp is amazing!”
His parents enjoyed the opportunity to have a holiday and attend a family wedding. But returning back to Sony Camp to witness Griffin in his element was the real reward, “Seeing Griff out having fun with kids his own age is the best.”
Meanwhile single mother Renee praised Sony Foundation’s Holiday camp in Mackay saying it offers children like hers with a disability “the experience of a lifetime.”
“The standard of care is five-star and the experience the children get is five-star,” she said.
“So as parents taking that opportunity, there is no guilt factor because they are not simply being looked after for a weekend, they are being given the experience of a lifetime and there is no money that can pay for that.”
Renee’s two children attended Mackay Sony Camp - Tyler, 13, who has autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome and an intellectual disability, and Cody, 10, who has autism spectrum disorder and speech delay.
Four Sony Camps took place in Queensland in September, providing a special holiday to over 125 children with disability, and a life-changing experience to more than 260 high-school students who learned to care for the children as their companion carers. Many of the students volunteered their time out of their first week of school holidays to take part.
Sony Foundation provides funding for Sony Camps to operate nationally with over 50 high schools and universities. Sony Camps will take place in NSW, VIC, SA, WA and TAS during November and December.
To find out more about Sony Camps, including how to apply to attend CLICK HERE
To make a donation to Sony Camps, please CLICK HERE