Red Shield Kids Camp goes ‘local’ for the first time
Twenty-nine years ago, Amy attended the NSW Red Shield Kids Camp (RSKC) at the Collaroy Centre in Sydney. Last week, she sent her two young sons to a new ‘local’ version of the camp held in Wollongong.
Wollongong and Shire Salvos, in Sydney’s south, have both supported the state-wide RSKC for many years, but when they heard the camp wouldn’t be running this year, they both responded by creating something new – ‘RSKC Local’.
Wollongong Corps Officer Lieut-Colonel Lyn Edge said the 42 children who attended the four-day Wollongong camp from April 11-14 were from families assisted by the corps at Christmas or were referred by their local schools.
Shire Salvos ran their own residential camp at the Collaroy Centre, partnering with other corps in the Sydney area.
The Red Shield Appeal funded both programs that were open to families needing additional support during the school holidays.
“RSKC started nearly 50 years ago. In 2023, this fresh approach is creating local connections for mission and ministry in the Sutherland Shire and Illawarra regions,” Lyn said.
“There were many wonderful highlights at both the Shire camp and the Wollongong day program, but, in summary, kids were given a super fun-filled week, people to love and care for them, and they were given a chance to learn about why they are special, loved and how much God loves them.
“We even had a corps couple who acted as camp grandparents for the four days, providing care and concern for the children and the leaders.”
The Wollongong camp included games, a day at the water-themed Jamberoo Recreation Park, another day involving players and staff of the St George-Illawarra Dragons Rugby League Club and a variety of crafts.
Dragons staff came to the Wollongong Corps building to provide valuable life-skills advice to the children and then took them to WIN Stadium to watch the players train. The players mixed with the children, signed autographs, put them through football drills and gave them Dragons hats.
The week concluded with a Carnivale event, which included jumping castles, reptile shows, hair braiding, face painting, games and a sausage sizzle lunch. Carnivale was open to all families, community and corps members. Over 250 people joined the fun and made great connections with the corps.
Shire Salvos camp
The residential camp run by Shire Salvos also attracted more than 40 campers, who attended through local Sydney connections from the Sutherland Shire, Greater West, Inner West, Hornsby and Dee Why.
Shire Salvos Children and Families Coordinator Rebecca Cundasamy said her team kept the children busy all week. The campers were put into ‘tribes’ that were their ‘family’ for the week.
“With the local connection being a big focus of the camp, it was so wonderful to have leaders and kids hang out all week, and these connections will be followed up now we are all back home,” Bec said.
“It was a full-packed week, but one of the highlights was when we had a beautiful Chapel service together, and the kids were prayed over by their group leaders.”
Energetic activities during the week included the giant swing, rock climbing, laser tag and a slip-and-slide. There were also beach visits, where the children sawm, explored rock pools and enjoyed sand games. The evenings included an Olympic-themed night, a ‘Tribe Night’, a disco and a movie night.