RAW2ROAR Camp 2021
6-8th March @ YMCA Camp Anglesea


Did we meet, exceed or miss our targets for R2R?

Funding from GCC ensured that the teen campers accommodation and meals were financially covered during the camp.

Feedback from the R2R team, the teens, VicPol members who assisted, parents, guardians and survey results indicate that we not only met our objectives, we absolutely exceeded expectations.

Building on from our first R2R Camp in 2019 and team training sessions, we reviewed the 2019 evaluation and noted suggestions for improvements and/or additions to the program for future R2R camps.

R2R Camp 2021 suggestions and improvements implemented were:

  • The accommodation was improved as we need privacy for group activities. The improvement was an updated section of the camp venue called the ‘Surfsider’, which provided us with a large common room with kitchen. The cabins were an extension off the common room along a board walk. It was very intimate and comfortable which enhanced the experience. We were all together in the one space.
  • The creation of a ‘Staff Handbook’ which had relevant information for all Team Members to refer to. A copy was given to each Team Member. Policies were developed thanks to the sharing by ‘Canteen’.
  • Allocation of ‘positions of responsibility’ that all team members report to/go to if a situation arises that needs immediate attention or is beyond their experiences.
  • A qualified counsellor/psychosocial support worker deliver a trauma, grief and loss workshop.
  • Invite MCIU to attend and share their role within VicPol. Campers will experience the van and it’s set up which is used on site.
  • Invite Highway Patrol to share their role within VicPol. Campers will experience the patrol car and its technology.
  • Abide by the YMCA Camp Covid plan in addition to our own Covid plan. We are a ‘Child safe organisation’ with team members trained accordingly.
  • Involve our appointed ‘mentors’ as much as possible.
  • Create a timetable with opportunity for team members to have ‘time off’.
  • Career and pathways counsellor recruited as a team member.
  • Engage a ‘mindfulness’ practitioner.

Was the Rationale realised?

To support young people experiencing trauma, loss and grief in the aftermath of a road fatality/collision.

Often young people who have experienced personal loss due to road trauma, miss out on support to repair the damage caused which would help them get back on track and reach their full potential.

They feel isolated and alone.

Comments from the campers which reflect the Rationale.

  • It was a positive experience.
  • I loved the experience, people were kind, and supportive.
  • Activities were amazing and well organised All the activities and making new friends also hearing other people’s stories
  • Everything
  • Going out and being active
  • Snorkelling and the giant swing
  • Snorkelling was helpful for me as it took me out of my comfort zone
  • Going out and being active
  • Information about fatal roadside collisions as I didn’t know that much about it.
Releasing the water lanterns at dusk

Comments from the team members which reflect the Rationale.

  • Some teens were keen to return to the camp. Spoke with 2 teens and they found the camp to be very helpful with dealing with their grief. Felt that they were not alone and could reflect on their issue
  • Difficult to tell with all campers but the ones that I spoke with and supported with career guidance certainly had better tools and therefore self-confidence to make future choices.
  • The teens all seemed happy and confident at the end of the camp.
  • I did with some teens, not all however this is to be expected as I bonded, interacted more with some.
  • I definitely feel that most of them did.
  • Could see that friendships were being formed which was a positive outcome. Exchanged phone numbers to stay in contact with each other.
  • Friendships with others going through similar experiences helps them to feel they’re not the only ones. They can feel a connection without even having to speak about their circumstances or grief.
  • A few of the teens told me they had exchanged phone numbers with each other so they could keep in contact after the camp.
  • A glaring example was B…. connecting with the 2 girls.
  • It was great to see some of the bonds formed particularly amongst the younger campers.
  • A variety of people with different professions attended the camp. Covered all the needs and education on the camp. Well organised and topics/education were covered.
  • Marg did a great job organising everyone along with Lisa and others who worked in a support capacity.
  • Very well organised.
  • An incredible feat of organising and coordination. Every camp will offer insights for improvement.
  • I thought we did a great job with preparations this year.
  • Information was sent to the team on a regular basis with web meetings and an increase in email and phone contact.
    I witnessed one of the girls who arrived very shut down and no confidence over the weekend open up and join in all activities and became quite confident by the end of the camp.
    She left with a smile that was very rewarding to see.

Our incredible group of volunteers met together today to discuss final details of our upcoming Raw2Roar camp in March. What a delight it was to share our mutual passion, vision and enthusiasm to produce the best possible experience for our new group of campers. A truly incredible group of people, from all walks of life, who share the same vision, an abundance of creativity and an exemplary level of dedication in helping young people dealing with trauma. We truly couldn’t be more proud of the effort these amazing people have dedicated and continue to dedicate to making a real difference in our communities through their own grief and experiences. Thank you to Lara RSL for hosting us and thank you to each and every one of you for being your amazing selves! We couldn’t do this without you!!!!!!
Margaret and Lisa

Our training days were well organised and great fun. New volunteers welcomed as were our two mentors. The training was based on being a ‘child safe organisation’, camp expectations, team roles, ideas for group activities with opportunity to ask questions and explore ideas.

How social media was used during our R2R Camp recruitment period.

  • Social Media was the main advertising tool. It was an interesting outcome with the advertising flier being shared far and wide.
  • TAC put RTFV and R2R on their webpage.
  • Other avenues of promotion were through making personal contact with the Salvation Army, Anglicare, The Smith Family, Bethany, Geelong St. John of God Hospital and the Surfcoast Council, Golden Plains and Geelong Mayor and Councillors, Greater Geelong schools and the Gordon, Geelong to Ballarat community pages, Colac to Lorne community pages, Psychologists private practises, Counselling private practises.
  • Recruited the help of a journalist (pro-bono)which resulted in radio interviews, Herald Sun and Geelong Advertiser photos and articles.
HELPING ROAD TOLL’S FORGOTTEN TEENS They’ve lost brothers, siblings and parents to the road toll. Now a new initiative is helping the forgotten teens of road trauma. Wes Hosking reporter for Herald Sun Article was published in the Herald Sun and Geelong Advertiser 27/2/21
  • Members of Parliament assisted by putting the R2R information up on their webpages and twitter. Russell North, Steve McGhie and Ben Carroll extended amazing support.

The R2R Team

  • The R2R Team were all volunteers with a varied range of professions and expertise and personal experiences: i.e. Div2 Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Counsellor, Policeman, Careers Counsellor, Bus driver
  • VicPol members volunteered their time and expertise to support the teens and team.
  • Two mentors who were campers in the 2019 R2R Camp. They went through a training program in addition to the team training program. This approach, engaging camp participants to return as mentors will ensure the program is sustainable into the future. It is also important that the campers are empowered to continue to belong to the R2R camp family.

We created a flier which was posted on a variety of Social Media sites. It was bright in its presentation to catch the eye of prospective teen campers or friends and family members. The presentation and wording proved appropriate for the age cohort. The mention of a FREE Camp was the highlight of the flier. It was shared many times on social media creating a journey all of its own. Contact details were also clear and easily identified.

A camper application pack was created and sent out to those who enquired together with the R2R Camp Rationale. An option of returning the pack via email or post was offered. Reinforcement of the information being confidential was also delivered within the application pack. Parental/guardian signatures were required in addition to medical information which also required signatures.

A ‘code of conduct’ was also formulated and sent to applicants to sign together with their parent/guardian.

A volunteer application pack was also created and sent to the team members to be filled in, signed and returned.

A medical record was created to record the medication dispensed to the teens during camp. The record required two signatures.

In keeping with Covid 19 requirements, a list of all campers was always filled out when leaving the camp site and returning to the camp site. This was also implemented for team members who used their time off to leave the camp site.

A bus list was also important when on an activity away from the camp site.

Lessons Learned:

What might you do differently next time?
  • Identify the age of campers and if necessary, create two sub groups – a junior group 12-14 and a senior group 15-17. This will ensure age appropriate, tailored discussions/workshops are delivered.
  • Re-think using a long weekend. It was a great idea in relation to the volunteer team who are working during the week, not to rush on Friday afternoon to get to camp for the start of the program and be able to return Monday. The problem we encountered was the huge amount of traffic on the road Monday as holiday makers were returning home.
  • Review the dates for ‘open for expressions of interest and closing date.’ It was a difficult time to gauge and predict enrolment enquiries. i.e. applications were needed in line with a return to school, sporting commitments and Covid parameters.
What didn’t work as well as you had hoped?

The influence and effect of Covid created a challenge in relation to applications. With zones being implemented by the Victorian Government and the risk of instant ‘shut downs’ resulted in hesitation from families to commit to the camp. it was really tricky to bring metro and rural together in one ‘time zone’. An enormous amount of time and energy was spent on personal contact with applicants and their families to reassure them of the safety of their children. BUT – we made it!!!

Comments from Parents and guardians

Hi Margaret,
I just wanted to thank you for having T……… and also for organising the camp. I have not seen T…….. this happy for a long tome. I can’t remember when, actually. He has spoken very highly of everyone and I’m hoping it has given him some much needed peace.

Hello Margaret,
Feedback from A……. — to describe it in one word, was ‘excellent’. He has not been so happy and relaxed since his return. He stated that he loved every aspect of the camp and has asked to be informed of any future YMCA camps coming. A…….was very moved with the meditation, candles etc and he felt very enlightened.
Margaret thank you so much for organising and inviting our vulnerable traumatised young people to share and be part of this camp.

Teen campers filled out a pre and post survey

On arrival during the first night, ten campers filled in the K10 Stress, Depression, Anxiety Questionnaire which was to determine how much distress they had experienced in the past four weeks. The campers were made up of 3 males and 7 females, ages 12-17.
The K10 Distress test score range is 5 (no distress) to 50 (severe distress).
Campers score range was between 16 (somewhat distressed) to 38 (significantly distressed).
Overall, six campers reported feeling distressed some to almost all of the time, the other four campers reported mild to very little levels of distress. Predominantly 70% of the scores represented that the level of distress was present only a little of the time to some of the time.
The campers were given the option to request to speak to the camp counsellor, only one camper volunteered.
Given the circumstances of the campers, my recommendation would be to have a one-on-one chat with them and conduct the survey during that session. This would build confidence and trust, possibly leading to more accurate results. I suspect many did not want to report bad feelings in case that might prevent them from camp experiences.
Campers also filled out an end of camp evaluation, which was eleven questions regarding their experience while on camp.

70% of campers felt they were part of making decisions at the camp.
70% of campers felt comfortable talking about difficult things
90% of campers felt the organisers understood their situation
60% of campers felt the camp helped them learn new skills for the future
80% of campers felt the experience helped them understand their peers
60% of campers felt they know how to ask for help
60% of campers felt like they know where to go to ask for help
90% of campers would like to go on another camp like this
100% of campers felt they knew what the aim of the camp was about
50% of campers felt they were prepared and knew what they would be doing on the camp
100% of campers felt the camp staff were supportive.

The camp was very enjoyable for them and all wish to attend another.
All participants loved the lighting of candles and sending them down the river, and this was a very positive activity.
It was moving to see campers bond together.