What the Adolescent Program did for me

Recently Very Special Kids hosted a special weekend and took an incredible bunch of bereaved and non-bereaved siblings away on their annual Adolescent Weekend to Philip Island Adventure Resort.

The staff involved explain that they are always humbled and enriched by the wisdom and insight shared across the weekend and that this year proved no exception, with everyone contributing something magical in their own way.

This makes it all the more difficult when young people move on from the program for various reasons.

Liz Zanoni has been a valued and integral part of the sibling program for many years now, so as Liz’s family prepare to close with us, we asked Liz to reflect on what this experience has meant to her…

My family has been supported by Very Special Kids for 10 years and throughout this time I have attended both Sibling Days and Adolescent Camps and in 2017 had the privilege of attending the Mittagundi Snow Camp.

 The Adolescent Program which I have been involved with for 5 years now has given me so many memories and has taught me so many things. The Adolescent Weekends were always the first things to be written in the calendar and I’d count-down to them enthusiastically.

 Camp provided a much needed weekend away from all the busyness of my teenage life as well as my role of caring for my sibling. The thing I value most about the Adolescent Weekends and Very Special Kids in general is the unconditional sense of family and support.

The people you meet during the Adolescent Program are the nicest, most understanding and supportive people you will ever meet. I feel that by attending camp, I have grown so much. I used to be shy and keep to myself but over time I have become more outgoing and confident.

 My favourite memory is most definitely from the Mittagundi Snow Camp. Everyone that attended would agree, it was amazing how close we grew in such a short period of time. I’ll never forget when we’d been hiking for hours, looking for snow and we finally found a little patch. It was too small to ski on (which was our original plan) but enough to have snow fights and build snowmen, so we did that. While everyone was playing in the snow, snow fighting and such, I decided to make a big snowman. I ended up making a pretty good snow man that we named Mr. Smitta which I think everyone loved.

 The thing I’ve taken away from of the Adolescent Program is that it’s okay to just be yourself alongside the value of being kind to one another and to yourself.