Pictured: Volunteers Gabi, Carla, Ally and Nicole smiling and posing in YMCA shirts.
At the Y, we believe in the importance of creating opportunities for young people to build resilience and connect with one another and their communities.
Sadly, today one in eight young Australians report feeling lonely, more than any other age bracket. And with mental health struggles and suicide rates rising across the country, creating a sense of belonging in young people has never been more important.
YMCA Victoria’s Youth Services programs are designed to empower and support all young people regardless of race, gender or ability. These programs encourage young people to switch off the screens, disconnect from social media, and create meaningful relationships with each other and with themselves.
These programs are run and facilitated at one of our many campsites. The sites provide the perfect space for workshops, as well as room for endless indoor and outdoor activities. The most recent Youth Services programs, Camping Adventures and Connect Camp, were held at Camp Manyung and Lady Northcote.
Both programs run during the school holidays and are designed to support young people aged 8-16. Camping Adventures provides an active and fulfilling camp experience for young people of all abilities, while the main focus of Connect Camp is to provide holistic care to those who are considered vulnerable, disadvantaged or at risk, and are generally living in care or supported accommodation.
“Connect Camp is vital for the young people that attend. Most participants return to the program every school holiday season because for them Connect offers stability and is their home away from home,” said Jessie Gaunt, Program Coordinator.
“Each time I run the program I am blown away by how much each young person has grown and developed. Our volunteer leaders build a unique and dependable kind of trust with the participants, which allows them to step out of their comfort zone and express themselves in a safe environment.”
Camping Adventures and Connect Camp provided over 75 young people an opportunity to test their limits, broaden their skills and most of all, create meaningful relationships. By finding a sense of belonging and community at these programs, young people can combat the social isolation felt by so many in society today.