Scottish Disability Sport Junior Summer Camp
A story by Scottish Disability Sport
We provided a fully-supported, managed, all-inclusive residential multi-sports and activity camp for 35 youngsters at the newly refurbished accessible Inverclyde Centre in Largs.
The camp was four days long and provides a positive, inclusive and active environment for youngsters aged 10-18 with a physical or sensory impairment.
What Scottish Disability Sport Junior Summer Camp did
Scottish Disability Sport identified 28 volunteers who were interviewed and trained in preparation for the Summer Camp. Extensive pre-camp site visits were carried out by the Project Manager and an experienced expert in the field. The opportunity was promoted through our far-reaching national networks of disability specific organisations, local authorities, NHS and our member branches (85% coverage of Scotland) and our regional networks (100% coverage). In order to access those that would benefit this experience most applications are not taken on a ‘first come’ basis. A deadline is set with various options available to submit e.g. online, paper, telephone and a certain amount of financially supported places are available so no-one misses out for financial reasons.
The youngsters undertook 11 different activities in the fully inclusive surroundings of the new Inverclyde Training Centre in Largs, and we utilised the facilities on site as well as the Castle Semple Watersports site at Loch Winnoch. The participants were divided into three teams for all activities which included adapted cycling, orienteering, watersports, fitness challenges and a team quiz.
All activities were centred on building confidence, resilience and working collectively to a common goal in a safe and enjoyable environment. All meals were taken together as a wider group and the winning team were announced at a final prize-giving lunch before carers collected the youngsters and departed.
All feedback of participants and carers was unanimously positive about the camp, the venue and the activities they experienced. 77% of responders indicated it gave them more time to spend with siblings of participants, 77% it gave them more time with their partner, 62% accessed leisure opportunities during this time and 77% said it gave them more time for themselves.
Other outcomes cited multiple times by carers included the joy of seeing their participants make new friends (53%), build independence (31%), increased confidence (46%) as well as seeing their child be happy, which was a huge outcome for many as some of the children had recently experienced bullying and were low on confidence and mood.
Additional responsibilities were awarded to the individuals. Since the camp all three have gone on to achieve employment or roles of greater responsibility within a sport setting.
What Scottish Disability Sport has learnedThis fund has made an incredible difference to the lives of our carers and cared for youngsters as the feedback we have. Feedback from carers spoke of the relief and joy they experienced knowing their child was able to push their boundaries in a safe setting and the fact they have sustained friendships they made at the camp. We were told that the camp had a direct impact on improving children's confidence and trust in other children following spells of bullying.
Other carers stated the independence skills learned provides a basis for pursuing sport-specific activities and opportunities without fear of being away, whilst the joy of getting back together again afterwards was heightened due to the respite for both carer and youngster. New carers who did not previously have the access to this opportunity were able to apply for fully funded places in a confidential manner which ensured this was giving the youngster the tools and experiences they would not have otherwise gained.
Close working with local authorities social work and other professions ensured this was reaching the correct people. Different carers have seen various benefits: some were able to spend sustained quality time with siblings, partners and for themselves, others have decided to support the camp themselves and give themselves a positive experience they hadn't previously considered.