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Sony Foundation Holiday Camp

The Sony Foundation Holiday Camp (Sony Camp), took place at the St Peter’s College Boarding House during the first week of the Term 3 holidays. Run by St Peter’s College and Wilderness School, Sony Camp provides an opportunity for Year 11 students from both schools to collaborate and deliver high quality care for children across South Australia with special needs. One of the many goals of this camp was to provide a unique and memorable experience for these children, many of whom had been denied similar experiences beforehand due to the high level of care required for their health and wellbeing.

It was also extremely integral to the camp that the parents and guardians of the campers were assured that their children were being looked after with the utmost love and care. This ultimately allowed the parents to earn some well-deserved respite to catch up with their friends and family. In many cases, some parents had been tirelessly providing care for 24 hours a day and for seven days a week since their child was born. As such, this initiative was just as influential for the parents, as it was for the children.

With these specific goals in mind, the Sony Camp experience became significantly more rewarding for the year 11 companions, as there was a greater sense of purpose associated with our service. By placing ourselves in the shoes of the caregivers, we were able to develop a greater sense of understanding towards the special need’s community. Resultantly, as a group, this experience allowed us to develop a huge amount of respect for the caregivers and parents, who continually serve their loved ones through all the early mornings and all the late nights.

Across the duration of the camp, a wide range of activities were provided to expose the campers to experiences that are often difficult or unfeasible at home. Companions spent significant periods of time preparing communication strategies to support their campers through potentially overstimulating and uncomfortable situations. More specifically, many of the campers struggled to cope with sensory and social overstimulation from loud noises, lights, and unfamiliar people. Consequently, carers were often tasked with detecting non-verbal emotional cues that indicated the campers need to change activity or take a break. Some of the campers’ favourite activities included the South Australian Metro Fire Brigade, Swimming Activities, arts and craft, and the Sony Camp Blue and White. Special thanks to the 2022 School Captains, Chirath and Aidan, and the events team for what was the true highlight of the camp.

An event like this cannot take place without significant support from St Peters College and Wilderness School staff. On behalf of all companions and campers, we would like to recognise the sacrifices made by staff to provide a truly unforgettable experience. To the key operational leaders, Mr Angas, Mr Manifold, and Ms Smith, who oversaw and managed the entire event, and to the support staff, Ms Reid, Ms Firth, Ms O’Loughlin, Mr French, Mr Malkin, Mr Savage, and Mr Blackburn, who provided general assistance around the clock. Finally, we would like to thank Ms Mackay for all her outstanding work as the head of service learning, particularly in preparing and supporting the 2022 SONY Holiday camp. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours!

Thank you to Wilderness School for putting together a short video detailing some of the highlights of the camp. View 2022 Sony Camp video.

Aidan Eaton and Darren Nguyen
Year 11 students

Additional student reflection

What I enjoyed most about Sony Camp was seeing all the kids having so much fun and being able to engage in the many activities Saints put together. As a crew member, I learnt how much effort and commitment it takes from the staff to set these camps up. The experience has changed my way of thinking regarding how I sometimes used to take things for granted, things like running and speaking. I would recommend this experience to others because it changes your way of thinking and allows you to connect with individuals you would have never met.

Henry Colbourne
Year 11