Mittagundi connections still strong

An important part of Very Special Kids services is the sibling support program, connecting young people who have, or have had, a brother or sister with a life-threatening condition. The adolescent program offers an annual camp providing siblings an opportunity to create treasured memories and new friendships.

In August 2019, 16 siblings supported by Very Special Kids experienced the Mittagundi Winter Program. Almost a year on, a virtual reunion was held, giving attendees a chance to reflect on their unique experience.

The young people spoke of their shared connection having achieved something special as a group. They reflected on their favourite memories and skills gained during last year’s camp, and their unforgettable achievements. At a time when connection is more important than ever, the sense of community was heartening, almost as if a year hadn’t passed.

The annual adolescent camp gives siblings the opportunity to challenge themselves with other young people in similar circumstances. In addition to getting an authentic taste of farm life, snow camping and cross-country skiing, campers are also supported by Very Special Kids family support practitioners through rare opportunities to share their experience of having, or having had, a sick brother or sister. At the reunion, one camper reflected that they had “become a better listener”, demonstrating the unique peer to peer support and life skills discovered.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of Very Special Kids’ family programs have been unable to run, including the adolescent camp. Thankfully The Coca Cola Australia Foundation is dedicated to supporting our work, and has again selected Very Special Kids as one of its Employee Connected Grant Partners. CCAF has provided funding to run the camp in 2021, once restrictions allow. We are incredibly grateful to CCAF for their ongoing support in providing adolescent sibling this extraordinary opportunity.