HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU STARTED?
I don’t remember the age I was when I first started going to Breakaway Camps though I do remember life being very hard and not very enjoyable at the best of times. Living in a single parent home with five other brothers and sisters was not what I called enjoyable. Some days were great as having that many brothers and sisters there was never a dull moment though with very little money and friends not allowed to come around due to having too many kids in the house already, I didn’t get to see too many friends.
Life I’m sure could have been much worse that it was. I think the thing I struggled the most with was the fact my dad was so far away and being that by brothers and sisters had a different dad they didn’t understand this.
Breakaway Camps for me was an escape from all the worries I faced in every day to day life. This wasn’t the reason I joined Breakaway Camps though. My older brother had been going along on outings and camps for about a year and every time he came home I would wait for him outside hoping that one day I’d be able to go too. Well that one day came. When I was old enough to go Merv asked mum if it was okay and I never looked back. Breakaway Camps was a real eye opener for me. It is something I will never forget. Not only did I do things I would never had been able to do otherwise such as Abseiling, Canoeing, Camping and seeing snow. It built a person in me that would otherwise never have been found.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE?
You did things you wouldn’t have done else where.
You meet new people all the time.
It was kind of like a huge extended family where everyone was happy and enjoying themselves.
Every trip, whether it be a day trip or weekend/school holiday trip, was an adventure.
Friendships that were everlasting were made and life skills were learnt.
HOW WAS IT DIFFERENT?
Breakaway was different from other camps I’d been on. I’d been on school camps where you had to do everything the way the teachers said and sure, you weren’t at school, but it was no holiday either. Breakaway had no rules to speak. Surer there were things that needed doing such as dishes and cooking but you also had your freedom to be yourself to enjoy your surroundings and people were not judgmental. Everyone was there for a good time and to experience new and exciting things.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE ACTIVITY & LEADER? WHY?
Canoeing, well emptying the canoe of water which was what you spent most of your time doing if you were my canoe partner.
Um, I don’t think there was an activity on Breakaway I didn’t like doing. There was plenty of times I didn’t really feel like walking any further up some of those hills but I did it. Which is what has most likely made me the determined person I am today.
Favourite leader, where do I start? I think every leader of Breakaway does a fantastic job and deserves every bit of thanks and praise they get because without them some of us kids wouldn’t be the adults we are today. I couldn’t pick a favourite because I love them all.
HOW DID YOU GET ALONG WITH THE OTHER KIDS?
I believe I got on well with the other kids. There was no competition between kids about my clothes are better than yours etc. As everyone was there to enjoy themselves and be themselves. It wasn’t a competition like school camps which always boiled down to who had brought the best clothes and whose parents had the most money. Everyone had their own secrets and pasts that they shared if they wanted to. Not because other kids made them. It was a great big group of friends. Okay so like any kids, when you put them in a big group there’s bound to be disagreements, but most of them would be over silly things such as BOYS!!
HOW DID YOU GET ALONG WITH THE LEADERS?
I thought and still think all the leaders of Breakaway Camps are top people. There not there for the money and there not there to question you about your family life. They are there to listen and to be a friend. I found all the leaders easy to talk to and to joke around with. I even remember the biggest piece of slim being thrown at by a leader “PAUL” and many a time being thrown back of course.
If I didn’t live so far away now I would love to still be involved with Breakaway Camps. I believe that this program does a lot more to people’s lives that they think.
HOW WERE THE LEADERS DIFFERENT TO OTHER LEADERS?
I don’t think the leaders are all that different to other adults other than they take time to sit down and listen to you and are there to have fun and enjoy themselves.
WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE TODAY IF YOU HAD NEVER BEEN ON BREAKAWAY CAMPS?
I don’t think I would like to even think about it.
If it wasn’t for Breakaway Camps I believe I would be well off on the wrong side of the track. I was hanging out with older kids who were into drugs. I was sneaking out, I was doing things I look back at now and think why on earth did I do that.
I look at where I am in life today and can only say thank you. I believe through Breakaway Camps I built up the confidence to get myself out of the environment I was living in and put myself into a stable and happy home. I have since finished my SACE and I am now working for a Uniting Church program in South Australia.
I chose this career because of what I’d learnt and watched through Breakaway Camps. This is my way of giving back what I was lucky enough to receive.
I don’t think I’d every be able to thank the leaders, founders and other kids of Breakaway Camps enough for what I’ve been given.
I would recommend Breakaway to other kids as it’s an experience of a lifetime. It’s something that stays with you forever. The challenges and adventures you encounter are beyond explanation. It’s something if offered again I’d be there in a flash. So if offered this chance do what you believe is right in your heart, but believe me, you’ll be sorry if you say no.
Breakaway Camps has made an unbelievable change to my life. Before joining I was a kid who didn’t really have much to say or stand up for myself. I was always letting others push me around which resulted in a very low self esteem. Through the great times of Breakaway Camps I am now a 21 year old lady who is only bettering myself in everything I do.
I don’t mind if you use my name as I’m not ashamed of who I was and what I am now.
All the best and Love always,