At the YMCA, we believe that everyone deserves to be healthier and happier. That is why our campsites are dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged young people the get opportunities to go on camp, get active and get outdoors.
Dandenong North Primary School students attend “Day Adventures” at YMCA Mt Evelyn Recreation Camp. Year 6 students get the opportunity to be active, get outdoors and discover what’s possible at school camp.
Dandenong North Primary School has one of the highest levels of socio-economic disadvantage in the state of Victoria, with more than 90% of students coming from families that have an English as an additional language.
Culturally and linguistically diverse communities are underrepresented in physical activity programs and initiatives. This typically leads to worse overall health outcomes. This is why YMCA Camps are committed to supporting diverse schools to attend camp.
Newly arrived communities often don’t feel as connected to their community. Many of the young people have parents who are dealing with high levels of trauma, life in a new country, challenges navigating life without English as a first language, and with little money and large families.
“Families find it difficult to fund excursions, as monetary priority is given to the basic necessities of the whole family,” said Catherine Hilton, teacher at Dandenong North Primary School.
Recreational activities can be key to creating a sense of belonging and providing an opportunity to connect with others. “Day Adventures” were developed as a strategy to foster stronger connections between students at Dandenong North Primary School through challenging, team-building activities in the outdoors. The staff team at Dandenong North Primary School considers attending YMCA camps a high priority. They hope that in the future that there is the possibility of an overnight stay.
Since 2010, New Balance has supported YMCA Open Doors participants through the provision of shoes and apparel.
At YMCA Camp Manyung, New Balance provided and individually fitted a new pair of running shoes to 82 campers from a disadvantaged school. A huge suprise to the campers, the donation encouraged students to continue to be active when returning home and back to school.
Students who attended "Day Adventures" at YMCA Mt Evelyn Recreation Camp were also generously given a new pair of runners.
“The children were ecstatic because for some of them this may be their first new pair of shoes ever,” said Catherine.
“We very much appreciate the support of YMCA Mt Evelyn Recreation Camp and New Balance for their support of our school and our children, providing them with an opportunity and an experience that they would not otherwise have access to,” she said.
YMCA Victoria operates seven outdoor recreation facilities. The organization is a leader in empowering young people and has extensive experience in working with newly arrived communities. To find out more about our camps, visit our website.