Stuff you might be wondering about…
Q: Where is Kids Kamp?
A: Kids Kamp is at Quorrobolong in NSW. That’s kind of near Cessnock, in the Hunter Valley. All the Heal for Life NSW centres are on that property, but spaced out, so you won’t be near the other centres on the property. The property is 160 hectares, peaceful, quite remote and away from any other houses.
Q: How much does it cost to come to Kids Kamp?
A: There are different payment options that are designed to suit whatever your (or your family’s) financial circumstances are. But at the end of the day, no one will ever get turned away just because they can’t afford to come to Kids Kamp.
Q: Can I bring a camera?
A: No sadly because of confidentiality we cannot allow you to take any photos.
Q: Am I allowed to use my mobile phone?
A: No, if you have one, we will ask you to hand in your mobile when you arrive. We will store it in a locked cupboard and keep it safe for you. Keep in mind that there isn’t really much mobile coverage at Kids Kamp, anyway!
Q: Can I bring my pet?
A: No, unfortunately you cannot bring any of your pets. Heal For Life is a wildlife sanctuary.
Q: What if I don’t fit in?
A: Almost every single person who comes to Kids Kamp, or one of our other Heal For Life programs, worries about this. You’re definitely not alone in worrying you won’t fit in, or that people won’t like you. But what usually happens, is that kids (and adults, at our other programs) find out pretty quickly that they have stuff in common, or will laugh at the same joke, or will maybe even have some of the same dreams and goals. You’d be surprised – by the end of the week, everyone is usually pretty good friends!
Q: I’m scared of coming. Is this normal?
A: Totally!! Kids Kamp is a new experience, it will be different to anything you’ve done before, and it’s also a huge, brave step that you’re taking. And again – almost every single kid will be scared, just like you are. Our volunteers and facilitators are all trained and able to help you through these scary feelings when you first arrive, too.
Q: What do I bring?
A: Toiletries, Towel, sheets, doona cover, pillow case and anything you need to feel comfortable (for example, your own pillow; journal; teddy bear; photos)
Q: Is it group therapy?
A: No, we actually ask you not to share the details of your abuse/trauma with other guests; the carers are here to listen to that sort of stuff when and if you want to talk about it.
Q: Can my family/friends contact me while I’m on the program?
A: If there’s an emergency, your contact person will be able to ring our office and a message will get to you as soon as possible.
Q: Do I have to share a bedroom?
A: Yes to start with anyway. Usually we have two to a room. This can be a great help. Sometimes people want to swop and that’s fine too. We will make sure you are safe and happy wherever you are sleeping. Bathrooms are completely private of course, and there are plenty of wide, open spaces for you to “get some space” if you need it. Boys and girls will not share rooms.
Q: What happens if I take medication?
A: Your parent/carer needs to pack your medication, with clear instructions about when and how you need to take it. All medication then needs to be given directly to the First Aid officer of Kids Kamp, who will administer it as needed throughout the week. This includes asthma medication and epi-pens.
Q: Can I do my laundry while I’m there?
A: No. Please bring enough clothes for the week, and remember that it can get quite cold at night.
Q: Will I need to cook my own food?
A: There will be a roster-type system, where kids will team up with volunteers to help get meals ready. If you have a meal that you are great at cooking, bring the recipe and any special things you need for it so that you can share it with us!
Q: But I hate cooking.
A: No worries. You can be on the clean-up roster instead of the cooking roster – everything ends up being pretty fair in the end.
Q: Do we get to leave the property during Kids Kamp?
A: No. But there is so much to do that you won’t mind!
Q: I’ve been in psychiatric hospitals and other places in the past and they always control everything I own and do. Is Kids Kamp going to be like this?
A: No way! You can probably see that the rules we have, are there for good reasons. For example, the reason we ask for you to give us your medications is because it’s easy to forget stuff like that at Kids Kamp when you’re participating in activities, and facilitators need to be aware of who is on what medication because you’re under 18. If there is ever a time when you feel like you’re being bossed around or controlled, please come and tell us so that we can work it out.
Q: Will my bags be checked on arrival?
A: No, but If during the program we suspect that a guest has brought something with them that is against the entry agreements or has been suspected of stealing we do reserve the right to search belongings.
Q: I have never/don’t want to, tell my story of abuse. Will I have to?
A: No. you will never have to do anything you don’t want to. It has been proven that it is not so much the telling of your story that heals; it is the releasing of feelings around the trauma. You will never be made to say anything you don’t want to say. If you do need to tell your story though, a volunteer will listen, and has been trained in how to offer support for you.
Q: My abuse wasn’t that bad. Do I still deserve to come?
A: All types of abuse, no matter to what extent or often it happened, IS ABUSE! Abuse effects people in different ways and to different extents. If it is having an effect on your life, then you deserve to give yourself the chance to heal and have the life you deserve to have.
Q: What If people find out I’m there / have been there?
A: We are very strict with confidentiality. While on the program, the office will never reveal that you are here unless it is your chosen contact person. This confidentiality continues to exist after the program. It is your choice if and who you tell that you’ve been here.
Q: Why do you think you will be able to help me when no one else has been able to?
A: Everyone who works here is a survivor of child abuse/ trauma. We have all been through Heal For Life’s programs. The program has been designed specifically for the needs of anyone who has suffered from trauma or abuse. We believe that you have control of your own healing. We can’t promise to “fix” you. Your healing is in your own hands, we are here to listen, support and guide you in the right direction.
A: Please don’t bring any of these things with you. The reason is that they can be a distraction and we’ve found that people use them to “shut themselves off” from other people. That’s not what Kids Kamp is about. We know that you’ll need fun time, and “down” time – and we have board games, cards, an awesome dam to swim in, heaps of bushland… you won’t be bored for long!
Q: Food- what if I’m a vegetarian or gluten intolerant or I just really HATE BROCCOLI?
A: We quite often have people on the program with specific dietary choices / requirements and we make a list on the fridge so whoever is rostered on can prepare lunch and / or dinner to suit everyone. If you still have any concerns please speak to the facilitator after registering for a program.
Q: What about mandatory reporting?
We have staff at Kids Kamp, and Heal For Life, who are mandatory reporters. That means that we follow the Laws that say that we have to report current child abuse.