We’re always excited when the school holidays arrive, as it means we can focus on working with our REEF and Mentors. We had two pick up locations for this camp, eight  Mentors from the Werribee area and three from the Geelong area. Being a smaller group this allowed us to really focus on the needs of the Mentors this camp.

To kick off our camp we put on our dancing shoes on and learnt how to break dance with the crew from L2R Dance, a not-for profit & registered Australian charity that connects with marginalised young people living in Melbourne's west using the universal language of dance and the global youth culture of hip hop. The session was organised by Norm Lewis, who with the Shine On Foundation, provides a vast amount of funding for the REEF and Mentor Programs. The Mentors had a blast and it was certainly an ice-breaker to warm the group up for the days ahead.

That afternoon the Mentors had a second guest visit from VicRoads. During this session they spent two-hours learning about road safety and the steps to get your drivers licence. It was a very informative and valuable session and the teens all managed to take something away from it.

That evening we took advantage of having a smaller group and went to the movies in Geelong to see the new Johnny English movie. There were many laughs and by the time we returned to Cottage, many weary eyes.

The next day we welcomed some more guest to the Cottage, the team from Read the Play. Read the Play is a youth mental health service and they talk about some confronting topics that youth may face throughout their life.

In the afternoon we had Benji from Outback Performing Arts visit to learn some circus tricks. He taught the group some difference skills with a few trust activities in the mix too. It was a great session and the group all found Benji to be hilarious.

Taking advantage of the small group again, we decided to try something new and headed out to North Geelong to take part in outdoor laser tag! The Mentors and camp leaders split into two teams and it was war. We played a series of different games, all making the most of the experience. 

The action packed week continued the next day with a day trip to Lorne. Along the way we stopped in Anglesea for morning tea and a quick stretch of the legs before continuing on to our destination. Arriving in Lorne, we enjoyed a walk along the beach and lunch along the foreshore before heading off to our main activity for the day – Live Wire, a high ropes circuit situated in the Otway Ranges. We spent two hours on the course and pushing ourselves and encouraging one another.

On the last day of camp we had one final surprise in store for the Mentors – a fully guided fishing charter upon the Gone Fishing boat in Queenscliff as organised by one of our amazing donors, Mal Campbell. We finished the charter with a great catch of fish and calamari that we  all enjoyed for lunch. Afterwards it was all hands on deck to clean the Cottage before it was time to head home after what was a truly action packed week!