Girls retreats

From one of our leaders:

Going on retreat with Make a Difference young people is always a pleasure and an honour. 

Even though the weather was a little damp our get together in May was great fun.  We were able to light up the log fire and snuggle down in front of it for some chats.  Linda and Loretta learnt how to play backgammon while the others got very involved in Monopoly which ended up running over two days.  The grand winner at the end was Mandy who had amassed a strong portfolio of property with houses and hotels galore! 

 The girls hit Nowra

The girls hit Nowra

On Saturday night we took off to Nowra in strong winds, to see  a very funny movie called 'Another Woman'.  The cinema reverberated with laughter.  We all enjoyed if very much and after climbing back up the branch strewn road to Kangaroo Valley, the warm and inviting fire and hot drinks was very much welcomed before bed.

But I must say the star of the weekend goes to Jesse, Mandy's puppy.  After some trepidation on Jesse's part, she became everyone's friend.  She is so adorable and cute!   Iphone cameras were working overtime.  

 The star of the show

The star of the show

Everyone is very much looking forward to the next retreat now.  Who knows what adventures await us!

Why retreats? 

At the core of what we do is to fund and run retreats and other programs that provide opportunity for children and young people living with significant disadvantage. 

These programmes and retreats offer participants:

  • some fun times, and the leisure experiences enjoyed by other children
  • time out from depressing, frightening or distressing home environments
  • the opportunity 'to be a kid' and have a break from the heavy burden of caring for a mentally ill parent, or of helping to run a household
  • the opportunity to mix with other children with a similar experience so they do not feel alone
  • recognition of their efforts, and their own greatness
  • the chance to learn new coping skills, and resolve their experiences of conflict or trauma
  • help to overcome the problem behaviours that sometimes result from troubled family situations
  • an opportunity to cope at school and succeed educationally
  • equal access to a promising future

Want to get involved?

We're always looking for volunteers to get involved as adult leaders on our retreats. 

You don't need any special skills - just a good heart and some commitment.  

If you'd like to get involved, contact us and we'll send you an information pack explaining what's involved. 

Boys retreats

A few words from one of the leaders, Kevin:

"I'm a bit of a veteran of the camps these days, and so it was quickly apparent to me that this was the most homely of them all. The first boys' camp to take place on our own property, it was a weekend full of anti-bored board games, warm fires, domestic cooking, 20/20 cricket at our very own KVCG (the driveway), horse and go-kart riding and driving. For the boys, I'm confident the weekend will have been a fiery clawback of some of the important aspects of being an adolescent that they may not otherwise have had.

For me, happy an ambitious fielding attempt probably has not left me infertile, I look forward to our next opportunity to come together to grow our closeness and to spend more time together as a pack of young - and not as young - men."

What kids say about retreats 

Coming to these camps is awesome because its such a good atmosphere and love everywhere!

Q. What was the worst thing about the retreat?
A: NOTHING! Except I didn't get to swim.

And from one of our camp leaders:

I was suprised at the depth of the talk. I didn't expect such a flow of emotions from myself, or from others.

"It was terrific to be part of something great for kids who have so little, yet are so full of life." 


What happens at the Retreats?

At the heart of what we do is run retreats for young people facing disadvantage.  

So what actually happens on these retreats?

Our retreats are held at our 175 acre rainforest property in Kangaroo Valley, 2 hours from Sydney.  We are developing this pristine wilderness into an environmentally friendly permanent campsite.

 We call him Campfire Kevin 

We call him Campfire Kevin 

Our retreats are held at our 175 acre rainforest property in Kangaroo Valley, 2 hours from Sydney.  We are developing this pristine wilderness into an environmentally friendly permanent campsite.

Our Founder and Clinical Director has designed an innovative program for working with ‘high needs’ young people that empowers them, helps them to see their own greatness, and provides them with plenty of adult attention.

Importantly, accountability for one’s own actions is also fundamental to the model, and the young people form a ‘jury of peers’ to respond to problems that arise.

Being valued and treated with respect inspires even hard-to-reach young people to want to be part of the program, and the connections they form with each other, and with our outstanding leader group, lead them to develop aspirations for themselves that they may otherwise have had no idea of.

The kids form a bond with an adult, and benefit from seeing a group of happy, balanced adults relating well to each other, and to them – something many of the children have not experienced before. They see a quality of life and relationship they may not have been able to imagine, and it inspires them to develop exciting goals and ideals for themselves.

Each young person attends two weekend retreats at the Kangaroo Valley property a year, with a reunion day in-between.  We also maintain contact with children between retreats to assist with challenges they face daily.  This might include financial, emotional or mentoring support, and brief family counseling where required.