Camp quality is committed to bringing hope and happiness to every child living with cancer, their families and communities, through ongoing quality recreational and educational programs. Michelle Fittler discusses the benefits of being a Camp Quality volunteer.
What is Camp Quality?
Camp Quality is a non-profit organisation that was established in Sydney in 1983. We are a national charity with offices throughout Australia.
We passionately believe in the power of fun to help children and their families overcome the challenges that cancer brings.
That’s why you’ll find that fun flows through absolutely everything we do, from our programs to our entire philosophy.
Our families each year are supported by Camp Quality through our year round recreational educational and financial support programs. These provide fun therapy to children living with cancer (and their families), so they can put their illness aside and just be a child again.
We create a positive environment that quite often gives them that little spark and the courage to continue on through treatment. These programs provide enjoyment, a variety of activities and above all, are about fun.
They are also an opportunity for a much needed break for families and help them function normally again, by bringing back the fun times they had before a child’s illness.
In addition to the camps, over 250,000 children receive the Camp Quality experience through the McDonald’s Camp Quality puppets. It is an educational program using life size puppets to deliver a fun and positive message about supporting children living with cancer.
Amongst all of the treatment available to children living with cancer today, we believe that fun is one of the most important … because as we like to say at Camp Quality, LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE.
When and why did you become involved?
I became involved in Camp Quality in 2005. I tried to be a volunteer back in 1997 after I had finished at Tocal Agriculture College, as I always saw the photo of the camps that were held at the college. My application was sent to the Sydney region. As Camp Quality tries to put you with a child in your area, the Sydney area didn’t have any children on their books in my area.
So it wasn’t until early 2005, when Andrew Curry was already a volunteer and asked me if I would join camp, that I tried again – and this time I got in.
I joined Camp Quality, as I have a love for kids and I wanted to meet new people and do something for my community.
What are the benefits of becoming a Camp Quality volunteer?
I believe that the benefits of becoming a Camp Quality volunteer is that you get to meet, and to be involved with some amazing kids and their families. And you never have to grow up when you volunteer for camp, as the bigger the kid you are, the better it is for everyone.
Tell us about the Giggle Ball?
This is the second year that we are having a ball for Camp Quality in Armidale. Last year it was called the Bling and Boardies Ball. This year we have gone with the Giggle Ball, in the true spirit of Camp Quality, as it’s full of giggles. It is being held on September 18, at the Armidale Bowling Club. Cost is $65 a head.
When and where is your next camp?
The next camp is from September 26 to October 1 at Tweed Heads. Every year we have a theme; this year the theme is ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. So I’m sure there will be a lot of monkeys, tigers, and even Tarzan and Jane will be at camp.
Memorable moments …
I have a lot of memorable moments, but the one that stands out the most is when I got on the bus to go to Lennox Head for a week long camp, back in 2006. A young boy that I had never seen before started tickling me as I walked on to the bus. From that moment we became friends, and the volunteers soon worked out that wherever I was, he would be. I became very close to this young boy.
He had a brain tumor and was very sick – not that I knew that when camp started. Over the next nine months I would visit every weekend to see my little mate. The time that I spent with him in his home and in hospital was priceless. When he was well enough we got him a bike ride, as he loved bikes. Unfortunately, we lost our little mate in June 2007. It’s the look in the eyes of these kids, when they get to do something they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to do, that makes it all worthwhile.
How does one become a volunteer?
Anyone that wants to join Camp Quality can visit www.campquality.org.au or call me on 0408 025 127 for more information about any Camp Quality related matters.
Thank you Michelle.