Scottish Disability Sport Junior Summer Camp
A story by Scottish Disability Sport
To support the continuation of a fully managed, all-inclusive annual multi-sport, pan-disability residential sports camp held at Badaguish Activity Centre. The camps are three days long, very positive and intensive for participants and a great chance for carer respite sustained through increased activity.
Demand for the camps is growing and we cannot expand places or provide additional equipment.
What Scottish Disability Sport Junior Summer Camp did
21 Volunteers were identified, interviewed and trained in preparation for the camp. We advertised the opportunity through all our thirteen member branches network (which covers 85% of Scotland) as well as through our Regional Networks (100% coverage of Scotland) which in turn filters through Education, Care Centres, Sports Development, Playschemes, NHS and other relevant networks.
The youngsters undertook 11 sessions in total in the beautiful surroundings of the Cairngorm National Park, and we utilised Badaguish Outdoor Centre and the Loch Insh Watersports Centre for our activities. All sessions were led by qualified coaches currently involved in the Scottish Disability Sport programme and supported by SDS staff and a raft of skilled volunteers along with specialist instructor's depending on the activity.
The young people were divided into three teams for all activities which included adapted cycling, archery, water sports in the beautiful surroundings of Loch Insh and a magnificent expedition around the shores of the atmospheric Loch an Eilean. The youngsters also had opportunities to complete significant tasks working collaboratively to achieve a successful outcome in various team building activities. At the end of the camp the participants enjoyed a final lunch with the new friends they had made over the duration of the camp and the winning team was announced.
The feedback from participants and carers has been universally positive and the participants gained so much from the venue and the activities on offer. The participants who use wheelchairs saw their chair skills greatly improve and many of the participants stated they know what is now possible and that through the camp they achieved beyond what they originally thought they were capable of prior to the attending.
Some carers had expressed an interest in volunteering at the camp this year as they wanted to support the project as their child had got so much out of the experience and this provided them with an even greater insight into what the camp entails. The feedback from carers about the impact on themselves and the wider family has been hugely positive.
The following is the feedback we received from his parent:
“Everyone has been very friendly, encouraging and so supportive and this has really encouraged my son to try to achieve as much as possible despite his newly acquired disability.” It was a fantastic opportunity for my son. He was slightly anxious, arriving with no knowledge of what he could do and what others could do, however the very friendly staff supported him and allowed him to flourish. He came back more self-confident and justifiably proud of his achievements which sound amazing! You are clearly a great team! He had such a wonderful time, it encouraged his independence, stretched him, and showed him how much he can actually do again! He would be very keen to come back again if that possible.
It was a super spectrum of activities for them, I know that he felt challenged, but also was really proud of what he had achieved, both physically and in communication, and including looking after himself too! He enjoyed the sports, and achieving the full hike too. Amazing!
“Thank you all very much - to SDS and the funders that allow this to happen.”
"This is a fantastic event for all children involved. It not only offers my child a great opportunity to try new sports and push their limits, it also offers respite with the knowledge my child is having a fantastic time. The camp allows my child to build relationships with a wide range of people and boost his confidence. I really cannot praise the camp enough, thank you everyone for organising and volunteering, you do a fantastic job"
What Scottish Disability Sport has learnedThe fund has benefited the carers and cared-for-participants massively through the following areas. The young people have gained confidence and competence across a number of areas which will benefit them hugely in pursuing sport and physical activity at a recreation, development or performance level.
They’ve also had to learn to work collectively to achieve a common goal. The element of competition between the three teams ensures that each individual works to their maximum potential. Every individual has learned a new skill or had a new positive experience. The challenge is still to access those individuals who would benefit most from this opportunity and we offer fully funded places which we pursue through local networks asking for referrals of those it would benefit the most. This ensures no-one misses out for financial reasons.
We use long-term carers that have been involved in our project as key ambassadors for the project to help reassure potential new carers involved in the project from a position of strength.