Every two days, a child is diagnosed with cancer in New Zealand. And charitable trust Camp Quality brings hope and happiness into the lives of children living with cancer. Operating nationwide, Camp Quality provides free camps for these youngsters, allowing them to have fun, make friends and enjoy being kids again.
Children living with cancer often miss out on school camps because they are too unwell or in hospital. Set up in 1985, Camp Quality fills the gap and offers five week-long summer camps, plus three shorter camps in the winter. Each year some 300 children living with cancer across the country enjoy the camp experience they otherwise wouldn't get the chance to.
Camp Quality’s general manager Dave Bellamy says camp combines fun and friendship with cool activities and achievable challenges. ‘It gives the children opportunities just to be kids,’ he advises. ‘Camp gives them a sense of normality and independence, builds resilience, and focuses on the positives,’ he adds.
Children on the camps are matched with a dedicated and specially trained volunteer companion. ‘Companions ensure the tamariki are safe, sorted, and smiling,’ explains Dave. Also on site is a team of specialist doctors and nurses to take care of the children’s medical needs.
The camps give parents and caregivers at home a much-needed break. And they can be confident that their child is safe and having a fabulous time.
Megan, the mum to one camper, sums up the value of Camp Quality when she says, ‘It’s so important because my daughter can just be like all the other kids and do all the fun stuff.’
And spending time with other children going through a similar experience is hugely important for the youngsters. Lennox, one recent camper, says, ‘Being around other kids who have got it and didn’t need to ask lots of questions was so cool.’
Best of all, these special children get to have a whole lot of carefree fun.
Keeping the camp spirit alive once the children return home is vital. And one way Camp Quality does this is through a quarterly newsletter. The organisation approached the Your West Support Fund for help with the newsletter’s production costs and received $2,280.
The fun newsletter includes stories and photos about the kids’ adventures at camp. ‘The children love to read the stories and look for photos of themselves and their friends,’ says Dave. And with around 8,000 on the database, the newsletter is a vital communication channel for parents, donors and supporters of Camp Quality.
Volunteering as a companion at Camp Quality is a hugely rewarding experience. You can learn new leadership and teamwork skills and have a massive impact on a young kid’s life. Check out Camp Quality’s website for more information on volunteering or other ways you can support this wonderful organisation.